It wasn’t until 4 years ago at the age of 22 that I fully grasped the weight of my sin and my need for forgiveness and a Savior.
For the first time, I was confronted with how broken I was inside and that no amount of effort on my part would heal me or fix me (believe me, I had tried). Out of desperation to be free and be washed clean of my sin, I turned to God and would spend my mornings hysterically crying and calling out to God asking for Him to help me, heal me, forgive me, save me because I just couldn’t do it. And God met me there in my brokenness and flooded me with His love and grace and mercy.
I tangibly felt the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit all around me in those months following. It was like a veil had been lifted from my eyes and for the first time in my life I understood that God was Lord of my life, not me. That He had the power to save and redeem, not me. That I wanted to live and serve Him for His glory and praise, not mine. It is the most pivotal and life-altering moment in my life and walk with God.
It was the moment, the mark, the line in the sand when I finally realized that out of the overflow of my gratitude for His salvation that I serve Him, not that I serve Him to look a certain way or be praised.
When I was in the 6th grade I accepted Jesus as my Savior and a few months later I chose to publicly declare my faith and decision through the waters of baptism. So, if you had asked me up until yesterday if I had ever been baptized, I would have confidently said, ‘Yes!’ And yet, since that moment at age 22, every Sunday in which there was a sermon about baptisms or a call to be baptized, I would become uncomfortable and begin wrestling with the idea of whether or not I needed to be baptized.
My heart would start racing and I would feel this heavy pressure on my chest like I couldn’t breathe. And every one of those Sunday’s after church I would ask Zach whether or not I needed to be baptized again. We would talk about it and I would always conclude and reaffirm in my mind that I had been baptized in the 6th grade, so I would move on and not think about it again…. until the next baptism Sunday. And without fail, the next time baptisms were brought up I would have serious heart palpitations and nervousness to the point I couldn’t focus. But once service was over, I would forget about it and move on.
But yesterday was different and completely unexpected.
We arrived at church, having completely forgotten it was baptism Sunday, and the pastor began preaching about the purpose and importance of baptism after salvation. The more he talked, the more uneasy I became. My heart began racing again, I was sweating, and I could not focus on the music or words. I quickly wrote a note and passed it to Zach: ‘Do I need to be baptized?’ He looked at me and wrote me back, ‘I thought you already were.’ And he was right, I had been, so why did I feel this way?
Tears were welling up in my eyes and I felt this suffocating pressure in my chest. As soon as service was over Zach suggested we go and talk to one of the pastors, Logan, who also happens to be our small group leader. I told him what I was feeling during service but that I was confused and scared. I explained that I had accepted Jesus as my savior and been baptized in 6th grade, but from that point on my life had been so legalistic and about being perfect and a ‘good Christian’. But after that pivotal moment at age 22 everything had changed.
I felt like a new person. My life was about serving and loving God for what He had done, not what I had done. After explaining my story and with the encouragement of Logan and Zach, I knew the Holy Spirit wanted me to be obedient through baptism.
During the service, Acts 16:32-33 was read: ‘And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.’
After I decided that I needed to be baptized, I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to be baptized at once. I didn’t want to overthink it again or talk myself out of it or even have it perfectly planned. I didn’t care what I was wearing or the fact that service was over and everyone was basically gone. I just wanted to get in the water.
My baptism was such a sweet and personal moment between me and God.
For the first time I was declaring that Jesus was not only my Savior, but my Lord. That my life is lived for Him alone and all of who I am is because of His power. That He has not only forgiven me, but that I have been renewed and changed by Him. That He is the one I love, follow, and serve. And that all power and glory and honor belongs to Him, forever and ever. Amen!