Testimony of the Week: Christy Nishinaga

November 22, 2016

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Christy has been at GOC since her sophomore year of college, and currently serves on staff with her husband, Kevin. She works in human resources, and enjoys food adventures, board games, and Jane Austen movie marathons.

By God’s grace, I grew up in a strong Christian family, and thanks to the faithful teaching of my parents, pastors, and Sunday school teachers, I have known the Gospel message for as long as I can remember. I knew I was a sinner, unable to save myself and in need of God’s forgiveness, which was offered to me as a free gift through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, while I believed this intellectually, and wanted to be saved, I had a hard time understanding what “saving faith” meant. I was a model church kid, but my good behavior was mostly external, done out of pride and the fear of man.

I’m not sure exactly when God saved me, but when I was in junior high, I distinctly recall an “aha!” moment, where I clearly understood that being a Christian meant more than just trusting Jesus to save me from hell, and that it meant submitting my whole life to Him as my Lord. For the first time, I realized that my life was not my own to live as I pleased, but that it belonged to Christ. The Bible says that “[Christ] died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:15). Looking back, I can see how much God changed my heart around that time, as I started to genuinely love reading the Bible and praying, and desiring to know and please God.

However, dying to self and living for Christ is a daily struggle and a lifelong process. I am so quick to become prideful and self-reliant, rather than fully dependent on Christ and His Word. I like to think and plan ahead, and am happiest when things go according to (my) plan. Yet through high school, college, and into working life, God has shown me over and over again that I am not in control, and that the greatest joy comes from surrendering my plan to Him, and watching His plan unfold in my life. As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” From trials at school or work, to big life issues like choosing a college and career, and wondering if “Mr. Right” was ever going to come along, I slowly learned to rest in God’s sovereignty, and to repent of my frustration and anxiety when things didn’t happen the way I imagined they would. Instead, I had to trust that God’s sovereign plan and timing was not just “good,” but the “best,” even when I didn’t understand it. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Looking back, I can see how God used those trials and circumstances to sanctify and bless me far more abundantly than I could have ever asked, and that His way was indeed the best way. How foolish and sinful I was to doubt His wisdom and goodness!

I still have a long way to go in learning to die to myself and trust in the sovereignty of God. Whenever I face new trials in life, I usually still struggle to joyfully submit to God’s plan, although I know in my head that His way will be the best. When things aren’t going the way I expected, reflecting on God’s faithfulness in the past reminds me of the necessity of walking by faith and clinging to His promises in my present circumstances. One of my favorite passages is Lamentations 3:21-23: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

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