Though the story in today's song doesn't really relate, the title does. So we're going with it...
I was baptized 25 years ago today!
Though I've shared my faith in Jesus on this blog and have definitely said that He is the only reason I am alive and free, I don't think I've ever shared this part of my story. So I thought I'd take this anniversary of sorts to tell y'all a bit about my faith journey...
I was born and raised in church and don't remember a time when Jesus was not a part of my life. I suppose I could end the story right there, since I don't have a single, identifiable moment when I acknowledged my sin and professed Jesus as my Savior. Though I really don't know when I became a Christian, I can't look back and recall a time when I wasn't, either. And I've tried! The fact that I don't know has bothered me numerous times, so I've examined my past, thinking that maybe I wasn't a Christian until high school or something. I know that I haven't always been one, because I don't think that's biblical. But apparently I was young enough that I can't remember it, and I never shared a decision, revelation, acceptance, or whatever you want to call it with my parents in order for them to remember.
Maybe you don't believe that my situation is possible, but all I know is my experience and my relationship with Him. I believe that God called me to Himself when I was too young to understand what was happening, and my life has been a continuous answering to His call of denying myself, taking up my cross daily, and following Him (Luke 9:23).
My earliest memories are of regularly, boldly, and confidently singing of Jesus' love for me when I was three. I believed it. I believed Him. Though lies and life's circumstances would later lead me to doubt His love at times, I believed Him then. And I trusted Him. And if it weren't for what I learned of Him so early in life, I wouldn't have had the truth and the Holy Spirit inside me to overcome those lies I would later battle.
When I was around ten, I recall the Lord convicting me of my inconsistency in reading His Word. As a result of His gentle nudge to get to know Him better, I have read the Bible nearly every day since. Again, if it weren't for the truth of His Word inside me, I wouldn't have had the strength to overcome my struggles later on when times got really tough.
One of the more memorable moments for me was during Disciple Now in 8th grade. On the first night, the speaker said something along the lines of, "You're not a Christian unless you've asked Jesus into your heart." I was shocked to discover that I wasn't a Christian! I didn't realize at the time that the phrase the speaker had used wasn't necessarily biblical, so I had a conversation about this with my small group leader. She was caught off guard, because she thought I was a Christian. I don't think she really knew how to respond to me, so she encouraged me to listen to what was said over the weekend. The last night, I "prayed the prayer" just in case I needed to do that in order to actually be a Christian.
My youth pastor approached me within a few months of that DNOW, because my mom had expressed her concern that I had not become a Christian and been baptized. He was caught off guard as well, because he also thought I was a Christian! After our conversation, I understood that I was (and had been) a Christian before DNOW. He encouraged me to consider being baptized as an act of obedience to the Lord.
If I can be completely honest here, I was a bit embarrassed to get baptized at that point. Everyone already thought I was a Christian, and I thought baptism would indicate that I had only just become one. Silly, I know, but that is was kept me from getting baptized for a few more months.
I ended up moving just before the next school year started. I took the move as an opportunity for a clean slate. As a believer in Christ, I knew that I could not continue in disobedience to the Lord. As an outward sign of my repentance of sin and a public expression of my belief in Jesus Christ as the only One who could wash my sin away, I was honored to have Brother Jerry baptize me in a small town in Texas on Sunday, September 24, 1989.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014