Ten years ago, I decided through an altar call that I was going to repeat a prayer and “accept Jesus into my heart”.
Tomorrow I get baptized again.
The past 10 years have been insane. They have been filled with laughter, change, hurt, and pain. They have been filled with many of the happiest moments, but also all of the worst.
Before I was 11, I just grew up in a half Christian home. My mom would pray with me, watch Veggie Tales with me, and just tell me about Jesus. Both sets of grandparents would take me to church, but we never did. My dad wasn’t very into his faith if he had one. I was nominally Christian. Many of the things that had been fed to me about Jesus was a lie. Mainly the idea that if you believe in Jesus, you will be happy and everything will be great. This leads into a huge problem in the church that goes by the term prosperity gospel. But I had bought into it. Could you blame an 11 year old? Happiness forever just because I said some words back and got to go to church to make new friends? I’m sold.
I was baptized by my Anglican minister uncle and then I made my mom take me to church. Everything was great. I was happy. Everything was as it was supposed to be.
Of course, it never stays that way long.
When I was 13, it was announced to me that my parents were going to get a divorce. I can still remember that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and the ache of my heart shattering. My world fell apart instantly. Everything I knew was gone. When I was 14, everything was finalized and my mom decided that her and I should move with her parents in Canada. We lived in Texas.
You might ask “Carrie, why are you getting baptized again? Didn’t you get baptized when you were 11?” You’re completely correct and this is a completely valid question. I’m getting baptized again, because I know that I didn’t believe in the true God. I remember thinking “This isn’t what I signed up for,” as we packed up our things. I felt that God abandoned me. That I just must not have been a good enough Christian. That if I had just gone to church a bit more, if I had just prayed a bit harder, if I just would have said more nice things, I’d be fine. My parents would still love each other and I wouldn’t have to pack up my things.
This is not the Jesus that the Gospel speaks of. It’s never promised that things are going to be easy. Actually, you should be expecting the worst. Expect persecution and hatred and hardship. I have come to realize all of this recently, leading to the thought that I didn’t fully understand or believe in the reason why I got baptized the first time. Leading me to the action I’ll be taking tomorrow.
After I moved, I fell into a depression. I felt alone, abandoned, uncared for, and unwanted. I began my self harm tendencies that would later become a habit that became hard to break. In high school, I had a binder of suicide notes left for those I felt were close to me, just in case I went over the deep end. I didn’t want to have to leave them wondering if the opportunity came up for me.
This is terrible. This is not what trusting in God looks like. I ran from God. I can look back and see where God was working and pursuing me in different areas in my life, but I wanted nothing to do with Him. If He was going to leave me, He didn’t deserve my time.
In 11th grade, when I was 16, I started the journey back to Him. I accidentally signed up for a mission trip to Panama that would last a week, but would impact my life eternally. God had to get my stubborn self to a place where I had to trust Him. I had to lean on Him. I bathed in a river, got out of my comfort zone, and tried to share Jesus with others. Instead, the Spirit kept convicting me of sin. I kept getting all of these nudges. Eventually, I had a breakthrough. He didn’t want me to hurt myself. He had a plan and a reason that shouldn’t involve me taking my own life. He wanted me to follow Him.
I was not changed overnight, but instead it sparked a life change that lasts till now. It’s been a bumpy ride, but He’s given me SO much to be thankful for. He has always given me lots to be thankful for, but it became more obvious when I had faith in Him.
While I still struggle with depression and anxiety, I can trust Him with it and hope that He can use it. In my greatest weakness, His glory can sometimes shine the brightest.
I don’t know what lies ahead of me for the next ten years, but I’m very excited to see what God has in store. If I’ve come this far in 10 years, imagine what could happen if I’m fully pursuing God for 10 years!
I’m so excited.
If you have any questions about anything I talked about in this post, please don’t hesitate to contact me!