Looking back…on my testimony on how I became a Christian and why baptism is so meaningful to me.
I look back in awe at how God puts ‘certain people’ in our lives at just the ‘right times, at what only God can possibly know those times and people are for.
I was listening to a Stephen Curtis Chapman song on Facebook and it reminded me of when I first started listening to Christian music in 1998 when we lived in Guam, just before I rededicated my life to The Lord. A new neighbor, and soon to be friend Twyla, had just started encouraging me to start going back to church. I had not been attending church regularly since I was I was 18 years old.
Twyla lent me a Stephen Curtis Chapman CD, and I remember thinking it was odd listening to someone singing about Jesus. I had never listened to Christian music ever before, and I had only been a Christian for a very short time before I stopped going to church as a teenager.
I didn’t grow up going to church. I only started going to church because my boyfriend at the time I was 16 invited me to church. I gave my life to The Lord during Sunday School one Sunday. I was baptized at that church. I became pregnant at 18 and the small Southern Baptist Church I was a member of at the time I was in High School shunned me and the youth minister and his wife ignored me, as well as the Pastor and the small congregation. They didn’t want to have anything to do with a pregnant teenage girl, so I stopped going to church from the time I was 18 until I was 29 and lived in Guam.
When my neighbor Twyla started encouraging me to start going back to church in 1999, I was hesitant, especially because my husband was Catholic (at the time) and he didn’t want to start attending the “holly-roller” Inspirational Gospel service on base at Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam with me. So, I gathered up my three children and went together. Now at that time my children were 10 yrs, 2 yrs & 6 mths old. I loved this service. I loved the music, the people and the messages.
A month or so later, on a Sunday morning I felt the calling to go forward to rededicate my life to The Lord. I ignored it that morning. That afternoon they were having an ocean baptism. AN OCEAN BAPTISM! I don’t know if anyone has ever been to a baptism outside of a church, like at a lake or an ocean, but let me tell you…they are so beautiful. I went to that oceanside baptism at the beach near where we lived and it was so wonderful. As the people were getting baptized, the people standing on shore were singing praise songs and then clapping for those baptized.
The felt as if the Lord had had encouraged me that afternoon after I watched those being baptized not to let the moment slip away and to speak to the chaplain and his wife. I found them and I explained my short story, and how I should have went forward that morning. By the time I finished I was in tears. I asked them if they would pray with me so I could rededicate my life to the Lord because I didn’t want to wait another minute. There in the parking lot, with my three children we all prayed together. It was such a blessing. I felt so humbled and complete in Christ.
This is the reason why baptisms are so meaningful to me to this day. Why they hold so much meaning to me. Because I not only know what the baptism symbolises..but I know what that baptism in July of 1999 meant to me that afternoon on that tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Island. I absolutely love being part of other people’s special day when they are going to be baptized…especially when it is really, really meaningful to them. I get really ‘misty eyed’ with those baptisms. I really like taking pictures of people’s baptisms…as it’s their next step with Jesus.