Okay, technically this is my 40th Easter. But this one is different. This one is new. This one is extra special.
Rewind 30 years to when I was 10 years old. I was baptized.
Fast forward to Wednesday March 28th, 2012. I was baptized....again.
I remember my first baptism very clearly. I remember my family was all baptized together. My sister cried. I didn't.
After we were dunked into the water, the congregation was asked to signify their approval of church membership with "yay" or "nay." I think everyone said "yay" although as they got to know my personality, they probably wished they'd said "nay."
I was told what the baptism represented. It was a public demonstration that I'd turned my life over and asked Jesus Christ to be my Savior. I had done that, I understood that and I in no way believe that my baptism at the age of 10 didn't "count."
But as many of you know from previous posts, God and I have been on quite the journey together. Lots of ups and downs. Lessons learned. Mostly the hard way. Stubborn refusals on my part to change in certain areas. Stubborn refusals on His part to ever give up on me. Looking back at some of the events in my life, that at the time I classified as low points, actually turned into the biggest lessons and blessings of all.
Several years ago, as I journeyed through Beth Moore's Breaking Free study, God brought to mind my childhood baptism. The first thought that came to me was, "I did what they asked and they approved me for church membership." Uh Oh. Red Flag.
That was just one of many stepping stones of my life that sent an unspoken message.
1. Do what we require. 2. Get approved.
And God sent me a little message. Get re-baptized.
As with many of God's little messages, it went ignored. I felt too silly to ask my Pastor and try to explain myself. I felt fear that people would judge me and have a lot of questions about it and maybe my answers wouldn't satisfy them and they'd disagree with my decision and I wouldn't get their approval. (gasp.)
Then on Sunday March 25th, our pastor preached a message on taking off your grave clothes. Grave clothes that bind us to the point where we can't move. Grave clothes that stink of our death. Grave clothes that no longer hold any power over us, once we give our lives to Christ and He cleanses us with His blood.
When He raised Lazarus from the dead he said, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
And it hit me like a brick. God has been unraveling my grave clothes. I've mentioned before how God has brought me to Freedom. Freedom from my need for approval from others. Freedom from my guilt of past mistakes. And most importantly, freedom to find my identity in Christ.
Society says, "We love you as long as you.....(fill in the blank.)"
Christ says, "I love you....even if you...(fill in the blank.)"
I'm living proof. If He hasn't given up on me yet, He's not going to. Christ loves me. Unconditionally. And I am free from my grave clothes.
Before I realized what I was doing, God picked me up and I met my Pastor back at his seat after the sermon and was
And 3 days later, in front of a hand full of people, before co-ed volleyball games began, I stood in the baptismal with Pastor Randy, who said, "I'm still going to ask you. Do you believe in Christ, the Son of the Living God?" I realized then, that I'd waited 30 years for that very moment. And I went under the water for no other reason than to proclaim the love for my Savior who loved me first...even and especially when....I don't deserve it.
PS. A few days ago, I was wondering why God moved me from my seat on that day. I'd been putting it off for years and ignoring His request, so what was happening in my life that made that particular Sunday so significant? And the answer came to me.
That was Day 7 of the Red Zone of the radical SOB / Lent promise starvation diet plan....oh my gosh, I think I fasted.