While I realize that today is not Sunday (it’s currently Friday while I’m writing this), but I was just reflecting on the fact that I’m getting baptized this Sunday and how excited I am for this!
I have been baptized before. I was 11 and I was told about my need to get baptized after I thought that following along with the prayer of a Southern Baptist altar call would be a good idea. I told my grandma, not thinking much of it, but she was thrilled. We even got ice cream after church. My uncle who is an Anglican minister in Canada baptized me in a lake that summer and all of my family was there. Really, it was beautiful. My cousins and I played in the lake after and we had a barbecue to celebrate. I was given a candle and my Texan grandfather put the date of my baptism in his calendar to celebrate my “new birthday”.
While July in southern Ontario is absolutely beautiful and I don’t think anyone else’s heart was in the wrong place with baptizing me, I have realized that my heart was definitely not in the right place. It was so far from the truth. I hadn’t truly fallen in love with Jesus. Instead I had bought into the prosperity Gospel. I believed the lie that being a Christian meant happiness. It meant always joyful and always peaceful and always beautiful.
So when my parents announced their divorce two or three years later, I felt like I had been lied to. Did I do something wrong? Had God left me? Is He even real? What’s the point of this Jesus thing if He can’t even keep my parents together? I specifically remember thinking “This isn’t what I signed up for”. And this is where my downhill spiral began. My spiral into depression and anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
It wasn’t until God dragged me to Panama on a mission trip that I even began to realize where my thinking went wrong. That I realized that I was not living the kind of life I was meant to live. I then began trying to tie the two lives together: the one that I knew so well and didn’t know how to let go, and the one that I wanted so badly to live. I truly believe that this time involved some of my darkest times as Satan used my shame and guilt and depression against me.
That time leads me up to now. I don’t know if that time is fully over. I am getting so much better, by the grace of God alone, at beginning to live the life I truly want to live. To live for Jesus. To know that to live is Christ and to die is gain. I can still easily fall into the trap of shame that I know all too well, but my faith in God and in the redeeming blood of Christ is so much stronger.
Friend, please oh please examine your heart. I’m begging you. Why are you a Christian? Is it to achieve happiness on earth? If so, run, for you are not going to find that life with Jesus. Those who call themselves Christians are to emulate Christ, and He was led to death on a cross. What life can we expect if the One we follow took death willingly? It is never said in scripture that following Jesus will be easy, but I promise you, GOD promises you, that it will be worth it in the end. That the reward is worth giving up everything for.
I am so thankful for how far God has brought me since that confused 11 year old that just wanted to figure out life and happiness. Almost 10 years later, here I am. I understand the price that was paid for my sins and the life I need to live in response to that so much better.
If you have any questions about my testimony, about Jesus, or about baptism, feel free to contact me! I would love to figure out the answer to your questions with you! The journey with Jesus is a beautiful and messy one and one that shouldn’t be done alone.