As we were turning into the church this morning I prayed aloud in the car, “Dear God please let this be a good service” because sometimes the message just doesn’t hit us the way it’s intended, you know? I needed a good message today, because I crave the holy spirit and thrive on the word hitting me in just a way that invigorates and encourages my soul to keep fighting.
God knew what I needed, as he always does.
Today is the last Sunday of my thirties. It’s the end of a decade which I began lost, angry and hurting. In the midst of heartbreak & failures, when everything was falling apart, and everyone was walking away – I was still so richly blessed. I know that was God. This decade is also when I found myself, forgave those who hurt me, became a better person, a better mother, the wife I always wanted to be and re-dedicated my life to Jesus.
In January, God spoke to me very clearly and the holy spirit filled me with a desire for God that I can’t fully explain. At first, I thought I was losing my mind and I was in a state of immense joy and excitement. I actually contemplated that maybe I was Bi-Polar, coming from such lows at times to this new high, felt unreal! That’s how intense this was. During my morning commute to work shortly after – it hit me that what I was feeling was salvation. As I sat in my car with tears streaming, asking forgiveness for every sin I could remember one by one, he reminded me that was unnecessary. I was forgiven as a whole. In that moment I felt an actual physical and emotional shift and a release that changed my life.
When we walked into church today, the baptismal tub was by the stage. As we found our seats, I told Gracie, “if they are doing baptisms today, I’m doing it.” I’ve been wanting to be baptized for months now and signed up once only to back out. Baptism is a public declaration of a very private relationship, and the thought of standing in front of strangers felt uncomfortable and honestly I felt unworthy of their time and attention.
Today was different. Today, I knew what God was doing, I knew this was the “service and message” I needed to experience in order to thrive in this new life with God as the head of my table. Being baptized was about Jesus and I, not anyone else, although I understood that it was an open request for those who witnessed to hold me accountable in my future as a christ follower. I was choosing to dedicate myself to him and I finally wanted everyone in the room to know I was proud and confident in my decision and acceptance of his love and forgiveness.
Thanks to my cousin, BJ, Kayla and our Pastor, I got baptized today without notice, without any planning or even a change of clothes. It was perfect. A little cold, but still perfect. I can’t imagine a better way to welcome 40 and the beginning of a new decade than to be emptied of the dead weight of the old me, and filled with the holy spirit, a new heart, a new name and cleansed soul.