Thursday, January 28, 2010
I'm scheduled to be baptized by immersion this Sunday. Poodle is going with me. It will be a memorable day for all of us.
It's taken me a really long time to get to this point. Somewhere around six or seven years.
You might be asking, "What took her so long?! She's been a Christian as long as I've known her." Well, I'm not sure I have a clear answer for you but that's what today's blog is all about.
First, some history.
I've been in church since before I was born. My mom and dad first took me to church when I was a day shy of being two weeks old. That day would be February 16, 1975. I grew up there. Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, Wednesday nights, youth group, all of it. It's always been in my life and I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't cognizant of God's presence as a part of me and having an awareness of heaven. So, why haven't I been baptized before now? In my opinion, and I believe whole-heartedly that God would agree, I already have been baptized. You see, I grew up in the United Methodist Church. They believe in baptizing infants and they believe that one counts. I was baptized as an infant, sometime in May of 1975. As far as I'm concerned, as well as countless other Christians, I'm good. However, in order to join up with my current fellowship of believers, I must go through immersion.
As I mentioned earlier, it's taken me many years to finally be at peace with this decision. I never gave it a second thought until I began attending a Baptist church in May 2006. A staff pastor gently and carefully showed me the scriptures about Jesus being obedient and being immersed in the Jordan River. Cool. That's fine. That was his first time, too. He gave me the original Greek word "baptisto" which, literally translated, means to dip, plunge, or immerse. Fine. I see your logic. But why can't you understand that I have already been baptized?! For whatever reason, his gentleness just hardened my heart and made me very resistant to the act. Mine's been done. It counts. I'm good.
There was a time sometime in 2003 or 2004 when I was regularly attending a small women's group Bible study. We met weekly. We shared our hearts and we grew in God's word and we grew close to one another. Oddly enough, I felt the urge/calling to "sneak" over to the Baptist church directly across the street from my Methodist church and have them dunk me one good time. I was growing as a Christian and I felt like that's what God wanted me to do then. For whatever reason, I never went and then I had to deal with seven years of my own resistance and hard-headed-ness.
Now, back to the present. Poodle approached me sometime in late November/early December and informed me that she'd asked Jesus into her heart. I was overjoyed. I immediately asked her, "When?!?!" She replied, "Oh, back during the summer. I was hiding in Sam's closet while she was doing chores and I asked Jesus into my heart while I was waiting." *crickets* "Well...alrighty then!" (Further proof that Jesus truly does meet us where we are.) ; ) I asked her, "Do you want to go down to the front of the church and let everyone know about your decision?" At this point, I expected her to flake and retreat. She stood her ground. "Yep!" was her eager reply. "Well, okay. We'll talk to Mr. Jonathan this Sunday and get things arranged!" She did go down front the next Sunday, and stood there and prayed with Mr. Jonathan to receive Christ as her savior. Tears fell as I watched. Not hers, my own. She stood and shook hands as people congratulated her on her decision. She'll always remember that. I'll always remember that.
Seeing her take the step of faith and to readily agree to believer's baptism by immersion has softened me. (Oh yeah, she was baptized as an infant too and she knows it.) She's just being obedient and doing what she feels is right. Not because she's seen her friends do it, but because she wants to do it.
I'm ready to shove aside the legalities of being a certain denomination and to just start being a Christian and working for and serving God the best way I can. Until I take this step, I can't be of good service to this current fellowship of believers.
I've never stood in front of a body of believers and professed my faith in Christ, although most who know me already know where I stand. This Sunday, that will change. I will make a public profession of faith and readily say that Jesus is my savior.
Then, I'm going swimming.