I was raised in the United Methodist tradition and baptized as a baby. My father was a pastor, but my understanding of what it meant to be a Christian as a kid was just following a set of rules and always doing what was right. I tried my best to do what I could in my own power to be the perfect Christian and do what I thought was right, but I could never measure up. I failed daily, and felt crushed by the weight of my sin.
When I was 14, my father fell away from the faith and left our family. This sent my mom, siblings, and me on a search for a new church home and sparked a lot of questioning in my own heart. It was in this time that the Lord brought three important women into my life who would become faith mentors to me throughout high school. He used each of them to teach me what the gospel is truly about. They taught me that the Christian life isn’t about following a strict set of rules in your own strength, but rather pursuing a relationship with Christ and allowing him to transform your heart in his own power. I realized that I didn’t need to carry the weight of my sin because of the work that Christ had already done on the cross.
In the fall of 2019, I experienced a very dark season of depression, anxiety, and doubt. Everywhere I looked I felt like all I could see was deep pain and hopelessness in my life and the lives of those around me. I never doubted the existence of God, but I couldn’t see the goodness of God. I was nearly ready to turn my back on him. God, in the same goodness, mercy, and grace that I doubted, spoke to me in just the right time through the words of an old acquaintance I hadn’t spoken to in over 4 years and pulled me in close to his loving and tender heart.
I have been walking with the Lord faithfully since, and he has continued to grow and shape me, giving me a deeper understanding of his gospel and who he is. Despite this, I have had a hard heart for quite some time about receiving a believer’s baptism. Having been baptized as a baby, I did not believe it was something that was necessary. Through prayer, guidance from close friends in the faith, and much time because I am very stubborn, the Lord has softened my heart and shown me the beauty in the public proclamation of faith and surrender through a believer’s baptism. Today, I am excited to make this proclamation in the presence of my church family.