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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mary's story/testimony

That be me!!
This is a little bit of my Story!!

The beginning of my ‘life’ is probably a little hard to imagine for a ‘westerner!’.. The reason being that  I was born to a peasant family in a Greek island village, myself and my two other sisters!
So for those who don’t know what life for a ‘peasant’ girl is,  I will explain...

We had no running water... our water came from a well that my dad built... we had no Electricity... so that means no refrigerator/television etc... No toys..! Not one toy in my possession!! Yes  indeed, we had no movies! And in case you are wondering, yep, we had no ‘toilet’ :-P

 My cousins would come in summer from Athens and they would wash us!! Haha! Not such a fond memory!! And mum used to soap us down in the ocean in summer!!! :-P

 We ate mainly what my parents grew on the property.. Corn, green vegies, etc.. We had eggs and each Sunday, for some reason we had chicken!! About twice a year, a local would ‘kill’ a cow or a ‘goat’ and we would be given a portion..

(that's my sis.. two peas in a pod!!)

and still are!!! so close!!

Most of my fondest memories were with my middle older sister.. (For some reason I don’t remember playing with my oldest  sister! )  My middle sister and I  were always close.. I always cherished  her friendship.. My parents were always working.. I don’t remember doing anything with them.. If anything, I just remember learning by instinct to keep out of their way.... Unfortunately I  never felt loved or wanted..

My sister and I  would play with apples, dirt and  stones.. I remember always picking asparagus, raspberries and olives from our few olive trees and running away from snakes!!
When I was 5 my parents took me to school.. (Although starting age was 6) .. The school was a 30 minute walk, there was about 15 students from grades one to grade six!!

I remember a lot of stuff in that school.. I remember being so badly teased because I was so young.. And I remember a near death experience from them ganging up on me and tickling me to the point where I could hardly breathe.. Hence the saying ‘tickle me to death’.. I relate to it!!
(He always had my back :-D)

(On a more serious note, I did endure a couple of life threatening situations..! When I was 10 and on a school outing, I slipped and fell down a waterfall.. I should have  come up with at least  a few broken bones but survived unharmed...Abuse of drugs when I was a teenager.. and the scariest of all a  crazed ex-police officer held a gun to my head but didn’t shoot, yet he shot everyone else on his yes, I know WHO has the real power to take my life.. :-D)

The other thing I remember is when I was 6 and officially in grade 1, the teacher was teaching the older kids history.. One particular day he was teaching them about Australia..  I don’t know what it was,  but I remember looking up from my desk and staring at the map of Australia.. Then, on the way home I started running joyfully and screaming out to anyone passing by, “I’m going to Australia.. I’m going to Australia”.. I really don’t remember anyone’s reaction, but I can imagine them smiling at the silly peasant girl!!
(I would go alone to church)

(that's my real dress!)

My grandma went to  church every Sunday.. And I remember she did every fast possible..  So I became curious about her “doings”..I started going to church.  My parents were not interested so I often went on my own.. I was just curious and I enjoyed putting on a really nice dress . I had only two or three dresses :-/

When I was eight years old, I came home from school to find that my dad had got passports and we were going to Australia!! Wow! I remember that country!!
The next year was a real ‘blur’... the things I remember  most were a vivid dream I had, a pair of trousers (my first ones!) and getting lost in a big ship!!..
Now I will share the dream.. It was simple, but left such an impression on me that I haven’t forgotten it and I never will..

I had learned a little bit about God and His Son in school and of course when I went to the church there was some preaching.. As religious and dead as it was (from lacking the presence of the Holy Spirit) I was still able to hear some of the gospel.. So I kind of knew who Jesus was.. I knew He was holy.. I thought His Father was very angry with me and had this sense that I would never measure up to this God they talked about.. But Jesus, I had a tiny glimpse of hope that maybe.. if I  was good enough.. just maybe He will feel sorry for me... that’s all I knew as a 6 year old!
(I had a dream Yeshua came to me!)

(thats us on the ship!)

But in the dream.. Jesus came to visit me in my room.. I remember the room got filled with ‘gold’ colour (Gold remains my favourite colour until this day!).. and He didn’t come alone! He had some friends/apostles with Him.. He was saying something to me(the words of which I have long forgotten) but I had a sense that it was because of Him that I was going to Australia.. I still can’t explain it any better!!

The culture shock in Australia left me some deep emotional scars.. I was as lonely as can be. I was so teased at school because I looked different and I couldn’t speak English.. I was very confused and very sad.. In a sense I lost connection with my parents even more so..(They became busy with work 24/7) and my sisters were in High School whilst I was still in a primary school .. I had no one to talk to about it.. I buried my grief and learned to wear a mask very quickly.. I longed for company, I longed to belong.. I longed all day long!!

We are about the only Greek family I know in Australia that didn’t  have a single relative!!
I remember vividly from a young age until I was 13 I would kneel by my bed and pray to the God I thought was up there.. I would thank Him that He was keeping us all well.. I would name every family member to Him for His protection, but I wouldn’t dare bother Him with my needs.... I stopped this around 13..

The next 3 years were very dark for me.... I left home when I turned 13..Returned a year later..
As I was growing up by the age of 16 I had found comfort in all the ‘wrong’ things! The friends I had were also ‘lost’ and sad like me.. They were not a good influence! I got involved in lying, smoking drugs, wagging school.. In fact by year 8 I was hardly at school.. 

(the story of my teenage years really needs a few pages to be told.. so I might write about this another time.. but basically, in the natural,  I should of been dead!)

One good thing about this turmoil was that my parents realised I had ‘issues’ so to ‘save’ me, my mum took me back to Greece! 

It was good in a sense.. I enjoyed reconnecting with all my cousins at first..But by then  I had a taste for rebellion.. I continued making wrong choices.. Sadly  I noticed after a few weeks in Greece, I wasn’t embraced by anyone because to them  I was a ‘kseni’.. A foreigner..
I felt like I was in ‘nowhere’ land... (I know  that so many people have hard lives.. I understand that some people get robbed from having parents, or health and many get violated or other horrible things happen to them.. I do understand we each have a cross to carry in this life and it’s quite rare for someone to get only rainbows as a child growing up.. so yes, others had it worst than me, but my heart at this point was so consumed with grief and longing that it was unbearable to continue the way I was..)

'I started searching..'

When I returned to Australia,  something had changed.. I realised I had a deep yearning inside me.. I changed from being very ‘shallow’ to being a deep thinker and very passionate about finding the ‘truth’.. I became  very serious about this  quest..  I knew there was a God.. I didn’t know where He was or how to find Him.. So I thought, I will start ‘looking’.. A new addiction had emerged!! I will never forget the first time I made this decision.. I was in a park which was opposite a ‘Greek’ church.. I was talking to someone very weird that I had met who claimed to be ‘John the Baptist’.. ;-) I remember he said to me that a space ship was above this park but I couldn’t see it.. I was fascinated at his imagination.. Remember, I grew up without toys, television, magazines.. My imagination was pretty innocent!!  So I was fascinated.. I wondered if this was all true..I really did.. So when he left I looked over at the church across the road and I went in.. It was during the day and nobody was around.. There was a big icon of “Jesus” and I remember just sitting down and staring at this picture and talking to it..  This is what I said..”If you are real, can you cause this picture to move” so I  waited..”Please move because I am going on a quest to find the truth and if you are not real then I have to move on”.. So I waited..And there was no ‘movement’!!

So the next decade consisted of anything and everything I could get my head, and my hands on..
Here’s a quick list..Yoga - read all the books, practised the art, went to India..studied their religion.. Martial Arts, Kung fu.. it was a spiritual one  as I was aiming to  ‘attain enlightenment’.. worked hard training 6 days a week and fasting retreats.. had a go at studying Chinese medicine and practiced for a while in alternative medicine...
(My bus pass to Eilat!)

(Double rainbow in Eilat when I was there! It actually rained for a week!! IN THE DESERT!! )

I went hard into the New Age.. For a while I truly believed that I was not from this world.. I had embraced a form of reality that was so foreign and complex.  I think back on it today and I can only shake my head !!!!
There’s more.. much more.. there was studying the ‘Koran’ and looking carefully at every religion under the sun... Part of my journey included going to Israel and staying there for a year and half..oh how I loved Israel!!  I continued to travel and study.. I even lived in the desert for a while!!

Years passed and I became very knowledgeable.. let me rephrase.. I had filled my mind and soul with  garbage!!!  I had by now become very popular among my peeps as ‘having the latest enlightened thought’ and move etc... I had a reputation to uphold as peeps would come to find answers.... (by the way, upholding a reputation is just exhausting!!!)
(I would cry out to God.. :`-(......)

BUT inside, in my heart somewhere, there was a big, empty hole.. a loneliness and a hunger that ‘felt’ unrepairable and instead of this head knowledge/soul feeding making it better, it grew worst!!!  I remember crying out to ‘God’, whoever He was, to ‘please hear me’, to ‘please help me’.. I would cry out to Him quite often..

In the meantime I continued doing ‘courses’ learning the latest ‘art’ whether it was New Age, ancient or something completely random!!
I was a little bit too ‘full on’ to keep a steady relationship, so I was pretty much a loner!

Anyway.. when I was at the ‘peak’ of my search/emptiness/deception..I became pregnant!
Wow what a surprise! I remember for the first 2 months I was ‘out’ of it!  All I could do was watch ‘Back to the Future’ and the only food I could handle was spinach, carrot and oranges!!
A decision was made to go to Greece and visit my parents who had moved back there several years before.. My son to be, Dimitri’s dad, came with me.. It was difficult as we were not ‘together’ any more.. Oh so complicated life was!!

I was three months pregnant when we arrived.. After much persuasion from my parents I decided to stay and give birth to my son in Greece.. In the meantime, I never missed the chance to ‘preach’ my new age stuff to anyone around..
When Dimitri was born, my sister came from Australia to support me.. It was the loveliest thing anyone has ever done for me!! It’s true what they say that ‘time’ is the most precious thing you can give to someone!!

She was there for two weeks.. Right in the middle I gave birth!! Perfect!!

A week after she returned to Australia I received a letter from her.. It read something like this.. “Dear sister,  we have been deceived.. “ (I am afraid I had a fair bit to do with taking her down a few wrong paths and visa versa!) She went on to write, “I found out the truth.. Jesus is the Way.. I have given my life to Him.. you can stop looking..”  What? Stop looking? That was a ‘new’ concept to me!!

(A dark cloud coming toward me terrified me!!)

 "No man knows the brightness of the gospel 'till he understands the blackness of those clouds which surround the Law of Lord." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Well that was interesting timing.. I will tell you why..  That summer in Corfu was the hottest summer they had in 100 years.. During the day we survived by sitting  under the huge fig tree for shade and at night we kept all doors and windows wide open.. It was horrible!! So when my Dimmy was 20 or so days old, the day before the letter from my sister, I was in bed with him, looking out at the sky through the open doors.. and suddenly my ears popped (my ear drums actually burst) following a really loud and piercing noise.. I thought I was losing it!! And then fear gripped me.. I saw this thick, dark cloud in the distance coming towards me.. I can’t explain it any better than this.. It felt like it was coming to ‘get’  consume me somehow..I felt sick with fear for me and my son.. so I desperately cried out to God.. The only thing I could remember after 10 years of junk was this simple prayer.. but I cried it out from deep within my being... “Our Father in heaven.. please forgive me and I forgive others.. deliver me from evil..”  I just kept saying what I could remember from the Lord’s prayer.. (I used to read the bible a bit as well as the other 200 books I had!)..  Just as suddenly as the darkness had come upon me it quickly and suddenly subsided..

Today, I believe in my heart that at the very  moment that I  cried out to God for mercy,  He heard me, and saved my soul.. There was nobody around, there was no altar call, no sinners prayer.. there was just a simple, heartfelt cry to Him..I was never the same person after that heartfelt prayer.



So it was, the next morning after this bizarre experience I read my sisters letter.. It grabbed my attention immediately..I ran to get the bible I had with my other books, and I just happened to open it up in the gospel of John where I noticed the following verse.. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” . Wow I thought to myself.  Instantly I knew it to be true.. All doubts vanished and an overwhelming sense of joy and relief filled my soul as the ultimate reality dawned on me - I had finally found the truth, or more accurately the Truth had found me.  I fell to my knees in gratitude and worship.. I prayed a prayer that my sister had sent with her letter.. I asked the Lord to forgive me and to take over my life and I said I was sorry for all these years of being deceived and deceiving others.  I also thanked Him for sending Jesus to die on a cross for my sins so that I could be set free.

The first thing I did after that was to run to my niece (who I had been teaching new age eastern philosophies) and I proclaimed to her ‘I have been deceived!  Everything i have been teaching you is a lie.  Jesus is the Truth’..

I didn’t ‘feel’ any different to the day before.. but I do remember this.. I took all my statues, books, photos, black belts, certificates etc associated with the new age and I threw them out.. No one told me to.. It was just spontaneous! I just KNEW all this stuff that I had practised and studied was a lie and I didn’t want to be deceived any longer..

I began reading a book my sister sent me with the letter and the prayer!!! It was a book about the present darkness and it had some of King David’s prayers in it..I was so impressed how King David could talk to God so openly and freely!  It gave me courage to be real with God and King David quickly became one of my favourite heroes from the Bible!!  I often would ask God, why did you leave me for so long in deception?.. I still don’t fully understand why but at least now I can fully appreciate the wonder of knowing and experiencing Truth!
Looking back, I can see that God’s had to get me away from all my ‘followers’ in Australia and take me to a remote little place where I was born, to be ‘born’ again!

I began to devour the Bible and couldn’t wait to go back to Australia and go to ‘church’.  I didn’t really know what that meant or looked like except that my sister said it was really good!

Dimitri was 6 months when I got the "ok" ;-) from my parents to travel back to Australia!!  I went to church of course with my sister.. It was very different from the ‘Greek orthodox’ one I can tell  you!! Clapping hands and singing songs!! Oh wow! Anyway, I wanted to be baptised straight away.. but I couldn’t L I had to do a course.. (I still don’t get that!) My love for the Lord grew and I knew I had a burning desire to tell everyone about Him..

A few years later ‘church’ became a bit of a challenge for me! The  happy clappy feelings had left.. and the more I read and understood the Bible and saw the contrast with what was actually being taught and practised by those around me, I became a bit disillusioned and grieved by the lack of holiness and Fear of God and lack of room given for God’s Spirit to move.. It was a very difficult time because on the one hand, I knew in my spirit that things were not as they should be, and on the other hand I knew that I was a part of the problem -as I struggled with pride and being judgmental.

Psalm 139 is a treasure in my heart!!

Just to go back a bit.. The Lord had a lot of work to do with and in me!!  I have to acknowledge that a lot of healing took place in my life whilst participating in the couple of churches I attended so I am very grateful for that.. I will share one amazing healing.  I was never able to shake off the ‘feeling’ (or for me it was more like a‘trauma’) of rejection..  It ruled me somehow!!  I went to have some Holy Spirit prayer and ministry when Dimitri was around 4 years old.. These gorgeous older woman were so tuned in with the Holy Spirit’s guidance.. Anyway, the Lord healed me and delivered me from the fear of rejection.  And surprisingly enough, it went as far back as my mother’s womb..  Unfortunately, my mum didn’t want me, so she tried on several occasions to abort me.. using herbs and even punching her stomach and jumping up and down!!!.. To cut the long story short, the Doctor ended up lying to her, saying that she wasn’t pregnant anymore until it was too late for an abortion!! So Jesus really wanted me here!! Woop! 

I remember during this time of healing and processing it all, I had a revelation that God was with me from the moment I was conceived.. Indeed Psalm 139 is my favourite passage of scripture..” For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb” It felt like it was written just for me!!   To complete the healing, God gave me a picture of Jesus being close to me and waiting with arms open wide to welcome me when I was delivered and I heard Him say “ you are here on this earth for Me”.. I have called you by name”..This vision changed everything! 

I think that’s about the time that I ‘felt’ the hole and emptiness in my heart being filled with the reality of the Love of God in my life.. It’s an awesome privilege being accepted by God, not just Jesus but also the Father and Holy Spirit.
Anyway, we continued to ‘go’ to church.. As much as I loved and served the people there, I somehow started to backslide.. but no one knew!! It felt people were only looking to see what I was ‘doing’.. not at my relationship with God.. I was involved in so many church programs!! Music team, Community Groups! Deaconing! And whatever else now I can’t remember!!!  But Arggggg!!  I was losing my passion to know God more!! I just felt drained and lukewarm!

"Took a step of faith!"

Then a friend of ours wanted to pioneer a church in our local town.. We sensed God calling us to support him! It was a huge change going from a few hundred denominational church down to 2 or 3 families or so independent church..I started to renew my relationship with God.. I became very passionate about His Word.. I joined an on-line bible Institute and dived right in.   Verse by Verse.. I just delighted to explore.. meditate.. wait.. and constantly look to find the almighty Author..I am still going through the bible verse by verse, book by book..and loving it.  According to my husband, he has never see anyone grow so much spiritually as I have since studying the bible seriously. (my husband added this line – seriously)

Anyway,  one year later I had another dream.. The Lord spoke to me in this dream and asked me to start ‘meeting ’ at home.. He said in the dream not to invite anyone..He would send the people He wanted... After a few months of continuing to attend Sunday church, this vision I had was just burning me up inside.. I had to do it.. I felt compelled to obey..


The Lord had impressed a day in my heart to do this.. So I am not sure how it happened but this one night, me and my hubby and my best friend were sitting there.. I shared the dream and said to them “I think God really wants to do this now..” We prayed, we just knew it was for real and had visions of Jesus holding a lantern and saying to us.. ‘Follow Me’..
Oh wow! I realised I hadn’t been following Him totally!! I had been caught up in a system of Churchianity and had been neglecting the simple privilege of a moment by moment Spirit led life!! 

John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

So we met, just the 3 of us, week after week.. We felt so close to the Lord.. the scripture of where ‘two or three are gathered in My Name” became alive!!! His presence was healing us and renewing our mind.. We knew we needed to allow Him to wash away our religious mindsets.. our ‘churchy’ ways.. and find the WAY to Him again.. Jesus was our teacher, we were His disciples..
Our commitment became to follow Him.. In His dust, step by step..
What an adventure it has been!! The Way the Lord had brought different people together!! It’s just so awesome to be part of what He is doing!!

And to this day.. We meet in homes..I can honestly say we have not invited anyone  to come to ‘our’ home church..because it is not ours but the Lord’s.  And the Lord Himself has drawn everyone that we are doing life with right now! He is able to do that!

We love our brothers and sisters in the more traditional church structures and acknowledge that God is powerfully at work in many of them.  We are learning that unless the Holy Spirit is leading our meetings it is all in vain!!  We realise that it’s not even about the ‘meeting’ but about every moment yielding our lives to a Holy God..  And that is the bottom line – whether God has called us to a home church or a more traditional church structure, we need to be led by the Holy Spirit and using the gifts that He bestows upon us for the building up of His glorious body and bride to be.

We realise that we are desperately needing Him more and more to co-operate with His sanctifying work within us.. We need His truth, His grace and His mercy to get through each day..
So I am back on my knees just like when I was a little girl – only now I know the One whom I worship, I don’t need to fantasise about Him any more.. My desire is for my wonderful Saviour.. I am desperate to know Him more intimately.. I still have days where I get complacent and lazy and do not seek Him.  But I am waking up a lot more quickly nowadays, because I feel terrible inside and life loses its meaning without Him!   I am forever grateful Lord ..

Amen!! It is Finished!! Praise be the Name of My Lord, YESHUA!!

God has given us HIS only SON.. Jesus Christ.. Yeshua... Through Him I have been forgiven, setfree.. through Him I am connected and united with what I was searching for all those years.. Through Jesus Christ, I have been made a child of God and I have been given citizenship in Heaven..


The Lord says in Isaiah.. ‘By His stripes, we are healed’.. I know that a lot of people use this for ‘healing’ in their physical body, but to me it is so much more.. I was lost, deceived and dead inside.. By His stripes, His blood shed on the cross two thousand years ago, he purchased me! He healed my relationship with my Father in Heaven! Jesus took the penalty of my sin on Himself and made me righteous in HIM.. I was separated from the Father because of my iniquity.. the only penalty for sin was death.. Jesus paid for it! He said “IT IS FINISHED’..It’s amazing news.. It’s an amazing truth! He is the WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.. I know because, I was dead and now I am ALIVE.. It’s all because of HIM..


I want to love and obey God not because I want His blessing.. but I know I have been blessed.. I can’t imagine where I would be without Him today.. I don’t want to.. I am so blessed!! I still face a spiritual battle nearly everyday.. (the Lord has provided weapons for it though!).. I still feel lonely at times.. Hey, I am alive therefore I experience carrying my cross in one way or another.. but I am not alone! The Lord is with me..His Holy Spirit dwells in my heart!!!!

"it sure is!"

 I just wanted this to be a little story about my life to share with some precious brothers and sisters who I talk to everyday but don’t know much about me!!

And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23).

'Holy and Mighty! Just and Loving!' Merciful and Grace! Fear the Lord!!!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies..

Keep on persuing LoVe!! It never fails...

With much Agape love,
Mary :-) xx


  1. You are absolutely amazing, and your testimony is so fulfilling for me through Christ in you! I am so proud of you, and inspired by your words and your life! You have truly sought the TRUTH and found it, and so confirmed everything I know and feel and what I've been through. Thank you so much for writing this, it was definitely a divine intervention for you to put down in words your trials and ultimate love for God and Jesus. Thank you!

  2. Awesome testimony sister! Thank you for sharing!! I just blogged about how I was very near aborted then went googling & somehow ended up here. Praise God for His hand upon our lives before we were even born! -♥- Tara

  3. thank you! Praise God! HE is amazing! :) God bless xx

  4. Thank You Mary for sharing your testimony!! I relate very strongly to it!! I was saved in the same way! With a sincere heart calling out to God in my home!! Not in a church, infact I hadn't been in one at that time 1994 in many years. But with a sincere heart. I cried out to G-D And he answered, in a very mighty magnificant way!! I've never been the same since. I to looked at newage stuff...I to had a searching heart..G-D is the only one that can take a test and turn it onto a testimony and take a mess and turn it into a message!! Halleluyah!! I to "Give Thanks with a grateful heart!!" <3

  5. Wow, wonderful testimony to the powerful work of God in your life... thank you for sharing! Praise the LORD! \o/ God bless you! <3 †♥ Glory Hallelujah!