I’ve been drawn to write this post for a few days now, and haven’t had the chance to sit down and actually write it…I also think this will be a hard post to write and actually admit out loud, so bear with me.
I wanted to be the first tell you all, my faithful readers, that I am getting baptized again next weekend…July 19th, to be exact. I was baptized as a child when I lived in California, but all I remember from it is based on a video I’ve watched. I gasped loudly for air as I came up from being dunked under, but I can assure you that I don’t remember much else about why I chose to be baptized or what it really meant. This time, though, is very different. I know exactly what it means and I know exactly how I want to live my life. It is a completely different way of how I’ve been living my life up to now. Let me explain…
The picture above is a pretty good depiction of how I’ve felt most of my life. I considered myself a Christian and I prayed every night…when I remembered. Or when I needed/wanted something. I didn’t go to church unless it was a special occasion or my dad invited me to go. And I always said I wanted to find a church, but I never actively did anything to find one. So I just kept on doing what I was doing, saying all the right things but never actually following through.
And the longer I stayed away from church, the more I felt like a fake…like a fraudster. Like everyone who went to church would see right through me and my intentions. So I didn’t go. And worse, I was ashamed…I was ashamed of being a believer and wanting to live my life the way God intended. I became a follower. I didn’t want to stand out, so I just followed blindly along, hoping that things would turn out okay.
And let me tell you…things weren’t okay. I kept making the same mistakes over and over again…looking to outside sources (namely men and/or alcohol [sorry dad]…pick your poison) for approval and happiness. And I couldn’t believe when the end results were *exactly* the same. Let’s see…jumping headlong into a relationship, falling deeply, madly in love (don’t judge) too quickly, moving too fast and making irrational choices (think moving in together too soon, sleeping together too soon, etc. [again, sorry dad]), then having it end in heartache and anger and disbelief that I had yet another failed relationship.
I kept thinking that something was wrong with me…that I didn’t know how to be in a healthy relationship. That all I knew was anger and fighting and distrust. So I’d vow to make changes and to take things slow…and then the next guy would come along, saying all the right things, and the whole cycle would start all over again.
It. Was. Exhausting.
Once again, with my last boyfriend, I made the same vow…I would take things slow, make sure it was based on something more than sex and physical attraction. Except, you guessed it, we jumped headlong into it all…to lay it all out there, we started dating in August and moved in together in December. By March, I had moved out.
I was embarrassed and felt stupid and ashamed at where my life was going and how many times this exact same thing happened to me. I mean, I’m not a stupid woman…I know this was not how healthy, lasting relationships were built. Yet I continued to do the same thing again and again, expecting different results.
After this last break-up, I vowed, once again, to make some much needed changes in my life. It didn’t start out that way as I had a bit of fun, thinking it would distract me and help me feel better. But all it did was make me feel worse.
It was at this point that God brought an amazing woman into my life…she randomly invited me to a bonfire one night at her house. I didn’t really know her but for seeing her at the gym every now and again, but figured, why not? It didn’t hurt to get out of my house and to stop feeling sorry for myself. I don’t know why or how she was brought into my life, other than that God knew she was exactly who and what I needed at a desperately low point in my life.
This woman was very proud of being a follower of Christ and wasn’t ashamed of telling anyone or talking about Him or her beliefs. It was so refreshing to meet someone my age who was like that. So I asked her if I could go to church with her. And I cried so hard at that first sermon…it was like the pastor was speaking directly to me. And over the next several weeks, I continued going to church with her and diving back into the word of God.
I’ll admit, at first, I felt like I didn’t belong…like I was a complete fake for being so far away from Him for so long and now, all of a sudden, coming back to Him. In a previous post, I talked about how I felt like I wasn’t enough for God to love me…that I would never measure up to what He expected. It wasn’t until I attended the Hungry for Hope conference in Franklin, TN (which, by the way, this amazing woman invited me to go to with her) the last weekend in June that I realized I was enough. I was more than enough. And that I wasn’t a fake or being judged or ridiculed. And most importantly, that I was never alone.
I am finally proud to admit that God is the main focus of my life. For too long, I put other things in my life first…guys, alcohol, work, fitness, vanity, you name it…and I was never at peace. I was never truly happy. Since that weekend in Tennessee, I have felt more at peace than I have my entire life. I know He is first and I want to live my life for Him. I wish I could explain exactly how I feel, but I love it. I know I am loved and never alone and that my future is in His hands.
It’s really as simple as this…God is good. He brought this woman into my life at the exact point I needed her and would be open and receptive to her. I knew I needed a change; I just didn’t know what that change was. Now I see it was God along…He was the change I needed.
And let me tell you, I thank God every day for bringing that amazing woman into my life…I am incredibly proud to call her a close friend. She is actually the person I asked to baptize me…so at 1030 a.m. on July 19th, I am getting baptized again. This time, it will be at the beach…and it is 100% my decision and I know exactly why I want to do this…not just because my friends are doing it or I think it’s the “cool” thing to do. I want to publicly proclaim my faith and proudly announce that God is number one in my life.
I know I am not perfect…and I know that I am a sinner and have made too many mistakes to count. But I also know that God’s mercy is greater than my sins. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Seriously…how amazing is that?!
I hope you all have an amazing weekend.
With love and wellness,