Remember the post I wrote about controversy and confidence? It was written partly with this event in mind. Being baptised by full immersion was something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and have finally 'plucked up' the courage to do what I knew might upset one or two people.
And I feel phenomenal and incredibly blessed and empowered, and like a new chapter of my adventure with God has begun, one where there will be more risks taken, more radical living, more passion for Jesus. I am very excited :o) What a happy, wonderful day!
Here is my testimony which you are very welcome to read through and comment on - or not as the case may be! It is, after all, my public declaration of faith.
I was brought up by Christian parents and there has never been a time in my life when I haven’t believed in God. But for a long time my faith didn’t really affect the way I lived, it was more ‘head knowledge‘ than a matter of the heart. I was baptised and confirmed in France when I was 14, in the Church of England. But looking back, as an adult, that baptism was great but not complete for me. It was a sprinkling of water on the forehead, and (for me) more a symbol of belonging to the church and its community than a symbol of belonging to Jesus Christ and a family of believers. For the last 16 years I have been asking myself, and asking God, whether it would be acceptable to be baptised again by ‘full immersion’. I have longed to ‘go for it’ but I’ve never had the guts to do something which would be seen as quite controversial by some people!
But I’m finally ’going for it’ because I can finally see that this is something God has been asking me to do for a long time; and so tonight I am being baptised from top to toe!!
I want to do this to make a public statement of faith. This baptism is symbolic of what Jesus Christ has done in my life: By His death on the cross He has wiped away all the rubbish I’ve ever done, said or thought. On the cross Jesus carried all my sins and so I‘m free from my past, and I‘m completely forgiven for everything I‘ve ever done, and will ever do. He has made me clean, and has made it possible for me to be friends with God, and even more than that: to be His child forever! And the fact that He didn’t stay dead, but rose from the dead, means that I will never die but live with Him forever, because He‘s alive himself.
I’m being baptised tonight also as a symbol that I have surrendered my life completely and wholeheartedly to Him. I belong to Him. My life is not mine, but God‘s; I want to acknowledge that Jesus Christ lives in me by his Holy Spirit, that He’s my Lord, and that I will always love Him, and follow Him. I believe that His presence in my life is the only option, and that it makes me whole. Without Him I’m nothing…
The last 7 or 8 years have been pretty rocky, sometimes unbearably difficult. I had a precious sister who was 2 years younger than me. We were very different but extremely close… She died very suddenly 7 years ago. I miss her dreadfully and her death has had a massive impact on me; I have suffered from depression on and off ever since. But one thing it hasn’t done is made me question God’s existence or His love for me. I have no doubt that my little sister is alive and well, and I’m full of hope that I’ll see her again soon; I have also no doubt that it was the right time for her to leave this life and to go and be with God, whom she adored. Knowing this gives me incredible peace.
So her death has actually made me grow more in love with God and has caused me to believe in Him even more than before, and to want every day to be significant and not wasted, and to be lived for Him.
As many of you know, we have 3 little boys. But as well as the joys of parenting we have had many challenges thrown in for good measure: miscarriage, difficult pregnancies and births, a child with Down’s Syndrome, and another with ADHD; countless stays in hospital, including one heart operation on a 3 month old baby… I could go on!
My point is that life is not a walk in the park; and yet I know that as I spend time with God, I am becoming closer to Him day by day. I am more and more full of joy, of peace, of purpose, of love for God and for others. The more I know God, the more I understand that I’m OK just as I am, but that I also need to and want to be changed to become more like Jesus. He’s the one I run to when things get tough, and I can also go to Him every time I mess up because He doesn’t condemn or accuse me and His forgiveness has no limits.
This baptism is a symbol of my life being made completely new by my faith in Jesus Christ, and a sign of my wholehearted commitment to Him. My life belongs to Him forever and I’m unbelievably grateful! I am completely, unreservedly His.
I would just like to add, to finish, that God wants everyone He created to belong to Him. He made us to be His children, that’s why we’re here, first and foremost. It’s not some random act of nature, we are no accident!! And God doesn’t want anyone to be separate from Him but we have the choice to either say ‘yes’ to Him or to decide to stay separate from Him…
My life is SO MUCH BETTER because of my relationship with God. It’s amazing how much He has transformed all the things in me that were ugly, dark, or not right and He is still very much working in me every day. And all I would say to you, if you don’t believe or are not sure, is what I would say to one of my kids if they tell me they don’t like strawberries or green beans: at least taste it before you make a decision! How are you going to know that it really is good unless you give it a try?? This is what it says in the Bible: “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him”. Makes sense really…