Sixteen years ago, I gave my life to the Lord. My testimony doesn’t include any scary stories of addiction or abuse. I didn’t get saved during a near-death experience. I was just a normal 13-year old girl who decided that it made sense. Jesus died for me, had this AWESOME gift to share, and all I had to do was commit myself to Him… so I did. I went on to become super-involved in my church’s youth group. I sang with the worship band, went to winter retreats and summer camps, and became a youth small group leader.
But I had never been baptized.
Now, I know that baptism isn’t what saves a person. But I also know that it’s something God commanded us to do. I’m not really sure why I never did it… It didn’t seem like too big of a deal to anyone at my church. No one ever shared with me that it was the next logical step in becoming a believer. It wasn’t until several years later that I learned it was something I should’ve done. But by then, everyone assumed I already had, so I just let it go.
Fast forward 15 years… We’re living in a new state, attending a new church. Practically every week, baptism is mentioned. And we’ve witnessed quite a few baptisms during our time here. It’s such a HUGE celebration… lots of music and cheering. The more I watched, the faster my heart would start to pound. I wanted to celebrate too… but more than that, I began to feel God really pressing on my heart to FINALLY publicly profess my faith in Him.
I strongly believe that God has a plan for everyone’s life… that concept is easy for me to grasp. A more difficult concept for me is the fact that His plans are often different than my own. But the hardest thing for me to accept is that his timing is usually WAAAAY different than mine. It’s taken me a long time to finally give up control, and I had to learn the hard way.
Five years ago, when Ryan and I began our journey toward parenthood, I never would’ve imagined that I would suffer three miscarriages in a row. How could that possibly be in God’s perfect plan for MY life? I may never have the answer to that question. But along the way, He taught me how to fully rely on Him… to give up all control and understand that He knows what’s best for me, and wants to use my life to impact someone else’s.
Over the last year, I’ve really been feeling compelled to dig in to my faith. Beth Moore says it best when she describes believing in God with a “present active participle” faith (meaning that you’re actively seeking a fluid, intimate relationship with Him). I’ve found myself thirsty to read the Word, which has happened many times in my life. But for the first time, I’m consistent in my quiet times. I’m participating in an awesome Beth Moore Bible study called “Believing God” and really trying to live out her five-statement pledge: God is who He says He is. God does what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God’s word is alive and active in me.
In many ways, I feel like a brand-new Christian. I guess that’s refreshing, in a way. But when I finally put my finger on the feeling, it kinda took me by surprise. I’ve decided to embrace the new-ness of it all in the hope that this fire will continue to burn hotter and hotter within my heart.
Anyway, we just wrapped up a series at church called “Finding Your Way Back to God” (which is also kind of our church’s goal… to help people do so). The speaking pastors mentioned that they’d be doing one huge baptism blow-out at the end of it all, and I knew without a doubt I had to take part. I was really anxious about it all day, and I’m not sure why. I figured I’d be a crying, blubbering mess up there on that stage in front of ALL those people. But I was calm, and excited… and definitely ready. There were two tubs set up on the stage, and the worship band was rockin’ out as usual. They basically just filed us up there one at a time. Luckily, the water was warm… and Ryan was the one who got to baptize me. What a special moment for both of us!
YAY GOD! 🙂