A Baptism Story

Guys, I got baptized two Sundays ago!

It’s just cool. It’s been a while since I’ve had a really important event in my life, which I guess is the curse of the secondary school years. From seventh grade to graduation, not much happens to you. I know next year’s going to have plenty of milestones, but I was honestly glad that there weren’t graduations and college decisions hurrying around at this time; I got to remember every tiny detail of that morning because of it.

A lot of people in my church believe that baptism is something you should do when you have made your faith your own, not when you’re a baby and don’t really have much say in the matter of your eternity. Growing up in the Episcopal church, I had been both baptized as a baby and confirmed as an eighth grader (which is supposed to be where you make your faith your own), but I know that I did not have any relationship with Jesus until I started attending the church I do now. Though I had already done ceremonies in my old church where I proclaimed my spoon-fed faith, I wanted to do it for real this time. So, baptism.

I had been anticipating this day for a good chunk of the summer. I got to hear my friends Kayla and Katie’s baptism stories, and they got me even more excited to wash away my sins and dedicate my life to Jesus in front of the congregation.

In the days leading up to it, it surprisingly wasn’t really on my mind. Which made for poor planning on the part of telling my friends and family that it was actually happening. (Whoops.) But on the day of, I remembered every small detail, which was awesome.

I got up, got ready, drove to church by myself. I was feeling all symbolistic so on the drive over to the church I listened to Relient K’s “There Was Another Time in My Life” on repeat the entire way, and rolled down the windows and belted out the bridge as loudly as possible whenever it came around. “Before I knew YOUUUU, before I could SEEEEE, that you could TAKE ALL MY TROUBLES FROM MEEEEEE!”

So when I got there, I stood with my friends like I normally do, and in my anticipation (and because I was entirely unsure whether I had told them or not) I blurted out that I was getting baptized to anyone who was around. (By the way, one of the great things about my church family is how much they care. A few of my friends even got out of their 3rd service volunteer jobs so they could come watch my baptism. That rocks.) And after the Sunday school service ended, I changed into my weird getup of a t-shirt, ballet flats and boy’s basketball shorts, and headed over to the sanctuary.

There, the anticipation kind of made my memory blur out because at that point I was getting really excited. So fast-forward to worship, standing with my friend and singing Today Is the Day. I remember standing there, half-singing and half-laughing, a little overcome with the weight of it all.

When they finally called me up to be baptized, I experienced a million little thoughts in random, quick succession, like this:

wowi’mreallygladtheyaren’tshowingmegetintothepoolwowthisisreallywarmalmosthotreallywowumwowi’mgettingbaptizedrightnowandallmysinswillbegoneforeverwow!!!!

Then my youth pastor said his line about baptizing me in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and dunked me under. I remember wanting to be under there longer, as maybe some continual faith-washing process. As if I wasn’t sure Christ got it all the first time. But as I resurfaced, this thought came to me:

But I’m alive forever now. I’m alive by the blood of Jesus. 

I heard the applause, but it was sort of in the back of my mind at that point.

Once I got to the bathroom, wrapped in my towel and still dripping wet, I locked myself in a stall, leaned against one of its walls, and promptly started to cry.

I wasn’t really expecting that to happen. I do have a tendency to cry all the freaking time, but there have been few (actually, I’m not sure if there have been any) moments in my life where I cried from being so so happy. And then my friend came in and laughed and cried with me. I felt like Jesus was shining out of her face and smiling at me in that moment. Which is not super out-of-the-ordinary, if you know this girl, but it made the moment that much more special to me.

Asdfghjkl. That’s all I got for ya. It was one of the weirdest and most profound faith experiences I have had as of yet.

Actually, one more thing – I haven’t been living lately like someone who’s been made alive in Christ. Thought I’d confess. The week following my baptism was one of the worst weeks ever in terms of feeling depressed and isolated. And I think it was partly spiritual attack and partly me forgetting the truth behind the meaning of my baptism.

Christ is on my side forever. He loved me, ME, who complains a lot and cracks her knuckles and doubts God’s love 10000 times more than she should, and He took all the worst parts of me with him to the cross and buried them in the ground forever with His death. He paid my debt to sin (which is a rather large debt) with His blood so that He could forget about every single thing I have done, do, and will do wrong in my whole life. I get to be with Him in Heaven forever when I die because all my sins – ALL of them – for my ENTIRE LIFE – have been paid for and forgotten about.

Believing that in my heart entails holy confidence. And with the confidence  of knowing that the Greatest of them all is on my side, I know nothing in the world can hold me anymore. I can just say the word and be freed of it.

I charge you: Live like Christ is on your side. And if you don’t know for sure if He is or not, I charge you to get your hands on a Bible and start reading Matthew. It may just – no, it will – change your life.

-e

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