Everyday we have have two choices to make. To have faith, believe and live in peace, or to wander lost, fear and live with anxiety. It’s the truth that negativity and fear are far easier for us to accept as human beings when in reality so many of us could live in a better world within ourselves if we were to let go of that fear driven “comfort zone” and let Gods peace drive our daily lives. I have so many personal stories to share because one post at a time I want to touch others lives and make other people realize that they can live the life they so deeply desire and deserve when it seems so hopeless in the dark evil driven world that we see on a daily basis. I am going to share little stories post by post and hope that I am touching another life or lives with every post. Please comment and please contact Beth and myself if we have touched your life through our life stories because in reality, we are in this life together to help one another!
Where does one start?! Well as my kids tell me, just start from now! Work back, work forward to dreams, but for now, just start with now and what comes to mind, so my sweet kids, my first post is that, the now!
This past Sunday February 3, 2013 my husband and I were baptized! Growing up Catholic going to church fairly regularly with my mom and brother (Dad never attended), being forced to teach catechism and being baptized as a baby. I felt that my parents gave me a ticket into heaven by having me baptized and it also gave me a sense of entitlement that since I was baptized I could live my life as a fair weather God worshiper and I had a right to only seek him when times were tough. In my teen years my attendance in the Catholic church dwindled, as did my mom and brothers, and once on my own I did not attend at all. My heart still desired God though I did not actively follow God. Growing up my two very best friends were ministers daughters and to this day I thank God for them, Kel and Amy you were my rocks in my most lost moments.
My husband Bill grew up in a small town protestant church, very congregational like. It’s a beautiful church, very picturesque and when I met him I joined him in attending his church that he grew up in. He had built a bond with one of the ministers in particular and that minister is to this day even though they have no contact, so important to Bill. We were fair weather church goers, we were married in this church and had our two children baptized there as well. Over the years many things happened in this church, changes took place we didn’t agree with and we sought out a new church because we felt our connection to God was not being met anymore through this church. We took an extreme measure for us at the time, we started attending a Evangelist Free church and we secretly loved it and felt moved by. Notice how I say secretly….
We were not raised in environments that talked about God on a regular basis. In my world if you actively were involved in a church that called you born again you were a part of a cult or you were a “Jesus freak.” I felt embarrassed to talk about God, our savior and creator, ashamed to praise him and worship him openly. Inside I was crying for the self freedom to accept what I wanted and needed which was Jesus. Can you imagine being “ashamed” to admit your love and talk freely about our Jesus who died on the cross for us? But I know, that I am not alone, that there are many people out there who will read this and relate to this and say “Meg has inspired me and I am going to proudly and openly accept Jesus and be proud to be his child”. That is not something to never feel ashamed of.
My husband is far more reserved than myself, anyone who knows us will understand! He keeps more to himself and does not like public awareness per SE of his private life. So for him to come around and be saved and baptized in front of our whole Church was huge, HUGE! I am so proud of us both, but just so proud of him. His relationships are very personal to him. We struggled with “why must we be baptized in front of everyone, why not privately? Why must be be fully emerged in the water, is dunking really necessary? Why was my baptism as a baby not enough? We accept that Jesus is our creator and died for us on the cross but why must we “be saved”? What are these cult like Christians “being saved” from? And the one I hear the most from people who haven’t accepted Jesus “I didn’t know Jesus was lost.” Are these questions any of you have ever asked yourself or anything you have wondered or heard in your life? I will get to the answers soon but first I have to share our baptism story. My stories are never short but there is always a point, I promise:-)
The week before our baptism, which was 2 weeks to the day of us being saved by our wonderful Pastor John, we were getting nervous. I was nervous about going under water as I have an extreme fear of water, that is another story! Bill was worried about being in front of the church, and since he is by nature a person who questions everything (he is after all an engineer and a great one at that!) and needs factual reasoning and answers for all his questions he was feeling like he may be getting trapped. He felt that “what if” after we are baptized there are rules, we are tied to this church, we are forced to donate so much money, etc, etc. All of which I think are perfectly good questions. The night before baptism was really tense in all honesty. We wanted to be baptized, please don’t get us wrong, we love Jesus and thank him for all we have and for dying on that cross for us, but we were fearing the unknown which was in all actuality, the devil doing his best to distract us from following the path of goodness. He wanted nothing more than for us to say “forget it, I can’t do this” so that he could win.” BUT he didn’t! I looked Bill in the eyes and said to him “this is not about being tied down to a particular church, our pastor was very honest with us, always is, this is about us and our relationship to God, our commitment to God. The only person we are doing this for is God”. There is one God and no matter where we are baptized that God is Universal and we can go worship him in any church we choose. I think that helped a little, and we love our church and have no intentions of worshiping elsewhere, but there was still some tension on both ends.
The morning of baptism was rough. I had tears all morning that I was trying to hold back since I was going to be in front of our whole church in a couple hours and all I wanted to do was go back to bed and cry. But I knew I needed and wanted to do this for my relationship with God . We headed to church with the kids, car silent, emotions high. Things started falling into place and feeling better as we got there and as we were figuring out what was going to happen. We continued on with the baptism and it was a truly amazing moment I will always remember. There was another precious family there being baptized as well. Little did I know at that time that that family had a huge impact on us that day. I don’t think they really even know it. God put them there with us because he knew we needed each other! I, as a woman, took longer to dry off, fix my hair and make-up and get ready to attend the message. My husband waited in the back for me and when I came out he was chatting away in the manly fashion, hands tucked into the pockets, relaxed. He had made friends with the man of the other family who had been baptized. The man shared with Bill that they were supposed to have been baptized a while back but opted out of it out of fear and questions. He told Bill that up until last night they almost decided not to go through with it because they too had a lot of the questions like we had. He also proceeded to tell Bill that his wife was raised Catholic, like myself, and told him of the struggles they went through to get married in the catholic church since his wife was pregnant already, which in our case I too was very early into our first pregnancy at our wedding, another story! All these similarities put Bill at such ease and gave him such reassurance that he is not alone, which was nothing short of a miracle sent to Bill, even reassurance for myself, that everything is going to be OK and that we did the right thing. It was proof of God showing us his love for us. That story gives me chills every time I tell it, I know, it hasn’t even been more than a few days, but I’ve told it many times already and it just touches my heart and I hope it touches yours as well!
To answer the above questions now. Why be baptized in front of everyone? Well, why would God want to take us into his kingdom when its our time to meet him if we could not publicly pronounce our faith, belief, trust and love in him? As our pastor preached recently, if we are ashamed to talk about God in public, with others etc, why would he want us to spend an eternity with him? He would be ashamed of us for feeling that way. We would not deserve a place in Heaven if we cannot publicly acknowledge him! Also I feel its a bond with the church to share this experience with us. Many of the people we may not even know, but we may grow to know them and this helps us connect with other church members. If you have been baptized as a baby that’s great! You were led in the right direction, but that was not your personal choice to accept God. That was your parents saying they would help you grow into a faithful God loving person and guide you to have a relationship with God but we all know, that no person can make another person do anything they don’t want to. Being baptized is something that should be done when an individual is ready and says “I accept God as my savior”. It can be any age but is something that cannot be rushed or decided for someone until they are personally ready. Am I not the perfect example of this? Don’t get me wrong, I have always believed in God and known he is the reason I have life, but until recent times I had not lived through God, trusting him in all things and having communication with him on a daily basis. And to be honest, I never really believed I deserved Gods love until recently. Now, I have no doubts! I know I deserve Gods love, I know he loves me and it’s an amazing feeling deep inside your soul, that I hope you all are or soon will experience!
Why must we be emerged in water? Well, there really are several ways of using water to baptize, however, Jesus himself was baptized by being fully emerged in the river Jordan. When you emerge from that dunking you are starting a “new” life living your complete life from that moment with Christ. A fresh new start living the way Jesus wants us to live and made us to live. That is why emerging the body fully in water when being baptized is so important. It’s accepting that you are living a Christ following life.
I am so happy with where God has led my life and what God is doing in my life. I am so thankful that he spoke to me and made me realize that he is the way. I am also so thankful for my dear friend Kelli, my Kel, who is my best friend who has been a God sent inspiration in my life since 8th grade, is a daughter of a born again pastor and a precious gift from God. She has prayed for me for 20 years and to know I will be a part of her life eternally in Heaven makes my heart so complete! Her mom Tina also has been such a huge inspiration to me, truly an amazing women!
If you ever have felt hopeless or lost, or not worthy of Gods love, open up your heart, open up your mind. Let go of fear and critics and let Gods peace fill you! And please if you have any comments on this post, please do share, especially if I have touched your heart in any way or opened up any questions you may have!
Have a blessed day, be happy and make the best out of this day, because we will never have this day again:-)