Ashley Talley
I can’t think of a better time to write down my testimony than looking out at pure white snow falling. All week I have thought of how thankful I am that God washes our crimson sins white as snow. (Psalms 51:7, Isaiah 1:18)

I was 8 years old when the Holy Spirit began working on me during church on a December morning. By Wednesday night, while eating at my grandparents, I couldn’t stand another minute. I prayed that God would keep my Dad and I safe as we drove to Bro. Rex’s house. I knew if I died on the way I was headed for hell.

When Mrs. Wilma opened the door, she said, “Oh! The Lord sure is working on this one” and hugged me tight. Bro. Rex and I visited but I knew what I needed to do. I don’t remember the exact prayer I said but I knew and know these things:
I am a sinner.  Jesus took my place to reconcile my sins.  I want to live for Him and with Him forever.

I told God those things and asked him to save me. I vividly remember walking down their sidewalk to leave and feeling as if I was floating. The burden lifted was that heavy, even for an 8 year old. Jesus dying to reconcile the sins of the world, that is heavy.

A couple of years ago, I got a tatoo of an olive branch as a memorial and reminder of what God has done in my life. (Sorry if you don’t approve of tattoos but stay with me) I got it after a time of pressing. Olives are pressed to extract quality and purity. The olive branch represents peace, reconciliation, and its roots are strong. Times of pressing draw me closer to Him, remind me He is in control, strengthen my roots, and restore my right relationship with Him. The pressing times God allowed me to go through prepared me for today. Today, I’m thankful he exposed my weaknesses and provided me loving peace the world cannot give. He works all things for the good. (Romans 8:28)

My burden today is different than that of the 8 year old me.
I am burdened for those who do not know the peace of salvation.
I am burdened to raise and nurture Dixon and Denton like olive plants around our table. (Psalm 128:1-4)
I am also homesick for heaven. (Something I never quite grasped until more recently.) During quarantine, missing corporate church made worship all the more precious to me. I now look forward more than ever to that day of final restoration, eternal rest, and joy in perfectly worshiping Christ.

This is my testimony thus far. It isn’t complete and won’t be until I reach heaven. For now, I just try to keep my scattered mind centered on Truth. And when I do, he provides me with peace for today- peace of God.