I have now been baptized three times and the third time was the biggest disaster of all.
I was raised in a small, wonderful Church of Christ Church where I learned a lot about God and His love. When I was 15, I decided I needed to get baptized because it was time to really commit myself to Him – and I did not want to go to Hell.
My brother and I walked to the front of the church together on an August day, confessed our love for God, and we were baptized in His name. Now, I know I was saved as soon as I decided to confess my love and commit my life, but life happened and my heart changed and I learned a lot.
When I was in college, I felt like I had slipped away from God, so I decided to recommit and be baptized again – and it was amazing. I felt refreshed and renewed. But life happened more and my world felt so out of control. I just wasn’t grasping a real, sold out relationship with my God.
Flash forward to “adulthood.” I graduated college and, shortly after, moved to Huntsville, AL for a job where I moved in with a roommate who went to Church of the Highlands. I started going with her periodically but didn’t really dive all the way in.
I got more and more involved in the church and met more and more amazing, godly people who I knew I needed to surround myself with – especially the guy I’m now going to marry.
All of these people, and so many from my past, played a part in shaping me and my walk with God. I watched some of them completely sell out and live their lives boldly and solely for God and nothing else – and I wanted that.
I had been a Christian most of my life but I hadn’t always stayed true to what I had promised to God.
Jeremiah 31:22 “How long will you go here and there O faithless daughter?” I had been going here and there searching for my joy and my purpose when it was right in front of me all along.
God had been tugging on my heart for MONTHS telling me to rededicate and be baptized again. I ignored it, wrestled with it, fought it, and then surrendered. I was so worried people would think I had never been baptized before and judge me for it, but WHO CARES what anyone thinks? So what if I had or hadn’t? This time felt like the first time anyway – it felt real. My heart was ready to really change and I finally understood what it meant to be in a devoted relationship with God. I wanted to publicly declare what had been happening in my heart.
A mentor told me once that a baptism is always between you and God, but sometimes He also uses it to encourage others who are watching you, and I hope it did that, too.
Let me say first that the baptism was a beautiful and perfect moment between me and God, but on the outside, it was a DISASTER.
My parents weren’t able to be there, so that already had me in a state of stress from the start of the day, but I kept praying and fighting off the stress that was coming from the enemy.
My grandparents and brother and sister-in-law came to church with me and my fiancé before the baptism. I messed up all the times for everyone, and really messed up the plan for the entire day.
So, we had to run to Zaxby’s to scarf down some lunch in about 15 minutes before we had to be back. I cried the entire day. I couldn’t eat. I was a WRECK.
I had no clue what was wrong with me, so I texted my best friend and summarized the day. She said, “That’s the enemy trying to work against you. It’s such a special day for you and your walk with God and the enemy will not win today.”
I felt the enemy trying to mess me up all day. I had so much anxiety and couldn’t eat or stop crying. Our food took forever at lunch and it was pouring down rain. I was in a fight with my fiancé. Everything was going wrong and I have NEVER felt more alone.
Then, when it was my turn to be baptized and I came up out of the water, my shirt lifted up and everyone there saw my stomach and lack of six-pack. And when I got to my car I noticed I had had a booger on my nose for.. who knows how long.
I expected the entire day to be perfect and for everyone to run up and hug me after and for there to be pictures of rejoicing like I always see on social media – but none of it was perfect… except for my Jesus. I had people who I loved there to support me and a God there to save me, and that was all I needed and ever will need….. so then I started to feel bad for not being more appreciative of the wonderful people there loving on me. The cycle with the enemy continued.
A messed up shirt, soaking wet hair, running mascara, boogers, tears, anxiety, loneliness, desperation, fear, sorrow, seeking approval from man – those were just a few items on the list of things I brought to God in that moment. And He met me with grace, love, and arms wide open (cue the Creed song). Despite all that was going on around me and inside me, in that one moment, I felt more peace than I ever had. And that’s when it all made sense.
I thought I would leave and have the best day of my life and be a totally different person.
I left and fought with my fiancé some more, felt sorry for myself for a multitude of things, got jealous, got angry.. you name it. BUT – I was a totally different person and I did feel changed. I recognized that my little world may not be perfect, and I will always fall short and sin, but God loves me anyway and is patient with me in this process of becoming who He wants me to be.
Things will never be perfect. Even when we try to control everything and get the perfect picture of what should’ve been our perfect day, we will feel empty until we focus it all back on Him.
The moment God and I shared that day forever changed me and taught me hundreds of things in a split second.
I’m so glad my day was so imperfect so that I can always remember how perfect He is. His perfection overrides all my imperfections. He meets me where I am at my weakest and lifts me back up with ease. He is my strength and my approval and my joy even when my world is crumbling.
The only way such a messy day can also be my favorite day is only because of the grace of God.
You can run to him to with your shirt up showing your untoned stomach, makeup all over your face, boogers on your nose, food in your teeth, anxiety in your heart, and anger in your words and He will clean all of it up and make it new because He loves you.
Let’s stop focusing on making everything perfect when Someone greater has already done that for us.
Yours in the struggle,