Day 23 – Madeline McDonald: Personal Testimony
My name is Maddie McDonald, and I was born and raised in Denver, North Carolina. I was so blessed to be raised in a Christian home. My parents brought me to pretty much every meeting at our church—every Sunday, Bible studies on Wednesdays, VBS in the summer, etc. I took it for granted most of the time, but hearing the Gospel message several times a week is truly a privilege and a blessing.
As a child, I didn’t really think about eternity and the fact that my sins were taking me to Hell. During church meetings, I would count down the minutes on the clock until I could run around with my friends, or I’d think about the food I was going to have afterward. As I grew a little older, the main thing that stood out to me was the Rapture—and it terrified me. I would lie awake at night, worried that I had been left behind; I even slept on my parents’ floor many (and I mean many) nights just so I could hear them breathing. I let a few more years go by, not really giving too much thought to the reality of eternity.
On August 5, 2009, I made a false profession. My dad had come home from work to read over verses and explain salvation to me. I claimed that I was saved, and I had too much pride to admit that I still couldn’t grasp the concept of salvation. I knew that Jesus had died for sin, but it just wasn’t personal to me at that time. I knew I wasn’t actually saved but I was too proud to tell anybody that I was still lost and in need of a Savior. As the years went by, my false profession seemed to haunt me more and more. It seemed like I couldn’t go a day without the guilt and fear eating at me.
A year before I got saved, in July, one of the girls I knew from a local high school passed away from cancer. The fact that life can end so quickly was a reality check for me. I had thought of death as something far away in the future, but it scared me to think it could happen at any time. I knew I wasn’t ready to die, but I still didn’t get saved that summer. A whole year passed; I even sat through a series of meetings with my Uncle David about the events in Revelation, but I still wasn’t saved.
In early summer of 2015, I got in a car accident near my neighborhood. It wasn’t serious, but it put the thought in my head: What would’ve happened if it had been serious? A month went by and I was still pretty shaken up about the whole ordeal.
On Sunday, August 16, 2015, Katie Petterson, my younger cousin, invited me to stay at her house. That night, I lay in her bed thinking about the Rapture and worrying that I was going to turn over and she would be gone, because I knew Katie was a born-again Christian. The next morning, I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Katie was gone. I called out her name and she didn’t answer. It turns out that she was just upstairs, but I was still really bothered by it.
Later, as I was at home getting ready, all of a sudden I couldn’t bear to hear that inner voice telling me I wasn’t saved. I went to the side of my bed, got on my knees, and cried out to God, saying, “I can’t do this alone, God. I’m a sinner and there’s nothing I can do.” That was the most terrifying moment—admitting I was truly helpless and on my way to Hell. As I was sitting there, the lyrics to the song Three Crosses Standing Side by Side came to my mind, and most importantly, the words “the middle [cross] for mine.” In that moment my eyes were opened to all that Christ did for me. I didn’t have to go to Hell because on the cross He paid the price that my sins required. I called out to the Lord and thanked Him for dying on that cross for me and for forgiving me. I don’t have to fear eternity anymore, because my faith is in the King of kings and Lord of lords.
August 17, 2015, is truly a day I will remember forever. Having the burden of your sins removed is by far the greatest gift you could ever receive.