Technically, I was RE-baptized if that’s possible? I was baptized Catholic when I was a kid… third grade maybe? So, the weird parts of my brain have always wondered if it counted. Number one, I’m not Catholic anymore, and number two, I didn’t exactly get myself baptized because I was feeling the Holy Spirit at age seven.
I grew up many religions, including some that weren’t even Christian. So I came to God later in life. That’s a whole ‘nother story. Now, when you start doing the church thing, there always comes a time when you’re asked to pray to take Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. I ALWAYS pray this. I always pray to be saved. I would pray and concentrate really hard on it. Then the preacher would ask you to come up front to pray, to rejoice, or whatever it was they wanted me to do. I NEVER went. Struck fear into my very core.
When we started going to Shoreline, I immediately loved the church. This was mainly because they told me up front no one would call me, and I would not be asked to walk down to the front to introduce myself and profess my love of Jesus Christ.
Well, Shoreline does cooooooool Baptisms in the water. The REAL water, not on the big screen behind a curtain in back of the alter. Oh, I wanted to do it every time they had one. I kept on chickening out. I was just too scared. And all this time, I have the fear that I haven’t “truly” been saved and I haven’t “really” been baptized because I couldn’t say it out loud, and I don’t really remember being baptized. I just know it happened because we have pictures and I DO of course remember my dress. Some things never change, but I digress. I’m just telling you what was going on in my head.
I have had a relationship with God for some time. I can talk to God and I can hear him, but… I didn’t get the Jesus thing. Now, I believed Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and everything else the bible says. It’s not that I couldn’t read it and understand it, and even believe it because it was the Word. But for some reason, I could not feel the magnitude of Jesus’ importance like I could see everyone else did. For me it was just words that I needed to train my heart to believe. Ughh. I said it. My deep dark dirty Christian secret. Did that make me a fake Christian? I certainly felt like one sometimes.
So, last month, we had this series called “Is God Mad?” Basically, Pastor Eric was trying to get it through to us that we have already been forgiven for our sins, for everything we have done and will do even before we do it. One sacrifice, one time, for all time, and then he described Jesus as a lightning rod for our sin and I just got it. I got Jesus. (if you weren’t there, you should really check out the series online)
How did it take me almost 35 years to get Jesus?
So, suddenly I’m not embarrassed of the fact that I didn’t truly get it in my heart and I share this fact at Ladies Night (a Shoreline life group) with a group of girls, and no one fell off of her chair or even flinched. Ergo, I’m now sharing the same story on the internet where anyone could read it.
Here’s the funny thing. Shoreline announced another baptism for this past Sunday. I really wanted to do it. At first, I had a good excuse NOT to do it. Jack had a end of the year soccer picnic at 1pm. The baptism/picnic was at 4pm. I didn’t sign up. That Sunday, we were told to just let the “real information” booth know we wanted to be baptized that afternoon. So, I found Randy (he was playing in the band that day) and I asked if we could go, and that I was going to get baptized. He said, sure! So we go. And would you believe that I wasn’t even nervous, no fear in my heart. I didn’t care if everyone was watching me.
So, my story Sunday was I was baptized as a child and I wanted to be baptized of my own choice. This is true, and this is what I believed when I said it. But I kept on thinking about a conversation I had with Darlene that afternoon where I was relaying my fear of my savings and baptisms not “taking”. After I got home I realized something. I got baptized and I told everyone that I knew Jesus Christ was my saviour, and I BELIEVED it not only in word but in my heart. Funny, I hadn’t connected these events, huh?
Lori takes such fantastic pictures. I mostly think pictures of the water when it isn’t perfect should be burned, never to be seen again, but we’ll keep these!
Wanna see something cool? Most of you have seen this picture in my house, but if you’ve never noticed it, this is a picture of Randy’s Great Grandfather, the Reverend William Gattis Tankersley baptizing followers in Abilene Texas in 1924.
Lastly, yes, Randy and I both had “Down to the River to Pray” from “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” playing in our heads the whole time.