My Testimony

Alice Claire Mansfield (1996)

Lord, it has been many years now since I gave myself and my life to you as a sacrifical offering. I do not remember now exactly when it was, only that I was almost 35 years old and my life was so rich and sweet that my cup was overflowing, my joy was so full that my heart could scarcely contain it all. And so I prayed, "Take, Lord, receive...all that I am and have...use it in whatever way you see fit as a sacrifice of love and praise to the honor of your glory."

You heard me, Lord -- just as you always hear me -- and you took me at my word. Within weeks I began to suffer the chronic pain and chronic fatigue that have been my daily lot for over 12 years now. How I railed against this drastic change in my life! I had forgotten my offering, my joy, my desire to be all yours and to do only and always your adorable will.

Oh, I did not take it well at first, not for a long time. I was young -- it would have been different if I were older, I told myself -- and I had so many things I wanted to do with my life. Unremitting pain and fatigue were not part of my plan. I had my own agenda, but you had yours, and once I opened the door of my heart, you came right in and took over.

Gradually I began to understand that my life would never again be the same and that I could choose -- I could remain miserable forever or I could surrender myself to your will for me and therein find true peace and lasting joy. Only your love and your grace, O gracious and loving Lord, made it possible for me to choose rightly and wisely.

And now, oh Lord, my God and my all? Now I treasure my pain and fatigue as the pearl of great price. They have stripped and purified me -- and they still do, every day and every night, without ceasing. I know better now the utter depths of my inner poverty and my absolute need for you, my total dependence upon you for everything. And this is all your gift to me. It is your way of letting me share in some small way in your own suffering for the salvation of the world. You have taught me the precious value of redemptive suffering, and I am most blessed.

Oh my God, I am so humbly grateful. I offered myself and my life to you in a grandiose fling of passion -- and you have given me so much more in return. You have blessed me more than a hundredfold by sending me this little cross of pain and fatigue. Help me to embrace and kiss it always with gratitude and joy, for it is the cross you have chosen for me and thus it is far superior to any cross I might have chosen for myself. Yes, Lord, it is all your gift and your grace, "love following upon love" (Jn. 1, 16). O Lord, truly I am not worthy....

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