I went and got myself baptized

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.



Filed under Jessica

10 responses to “I went and got myself baptized

  1. Aww!!! I simply ADORE you! I’m so happy for you! What a fantastic blog post. I really admire your transparency. I bet more people feel this way than you realize. “Getting” Jesus can be a challenge, but once you “get” it, it totally and completely changes your life. It’s really quite amazing!

  2. Oh, I also love that old photo.

  3. Such a cool story. It’s great to be a part of a church that makes such a difference in people’s lives for Christ. I’m so thrilled for you!

  4. Great story… plus I love that song on O Brother, Where Art Thou? We should have played it. That is one of my all time favorite movies.

  5. Darlene

    Yep, I get it. I feel ya. I’m sure you just spoke to dozens of people who have had those things going around in their heads and now they have hope that the truth of His Word can penetrate their hearts. You are seriously so cool, Jessica… and baptized!

  6. Gay Curtis

    Wow! Thank you, Lori, for pointing us to Jessica’s blog! Jessica, thank you for such an excellent blog! Eric & Darlene, thank you for such an awesome church!
    I was 30 when I “got it.” I had been baptized when I was 12, because I heard the preacher say something like, “If you love Jesus, and don’t want to go to hell, you need to be baptized!” I thought, “Who doesn’t love Jesus? Who wants to go to hell? Sure, I’ll be baptized.” But I really had no idea how His death applied to me personally. I had no idea that His death showed me the extent of His love for me. After years of living a crazy, confused life, I saw a sign that said, “‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus said, ‘This much.’ Then He stretched out His arms, and died.'” It took me another couple of weeks to process the thought that since He rose from the dead, He was still alive and I could talk to Him about my new realization concerning this death-on-the-cross thing having something to do with me personally. It took another couple of weeks before I heard Ephesians 2:8-9, and that just busted it wide open for me. Believing faith was the key to receiving His free gift of eternal life. I wasn’t sure I had enough of the right kind of believing faith, but I thought, “What do I have to lose?” And, BAM! Once I gave God the tiniest opening into my heart, He opened up my eyes, brain, and heart to the whole God/Jesus/Holy Spirit/Bible thing. (I’m sorry this was so long. I have trouble stopping once I get started.) Anyway, I say all this to say to you: When someone “gets it,” they can pretty much see when someone else “gets it.” And you have sure “got it.” Welcome to the adventure!

  7. Tracey

    Jess, you told it GREAT. I am so proud of you.

  8. Evan

    Beautiful testimony! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    We are going to miss y’all so much. Come back soon!

  9. Lump in my throat! Great post, and congratulations!

  10. tricia

    wow sorry it took me so long to see it . So cool I love your writing.

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