Monday, July 26, 2010

Water water everywhere....

Last night, off a long sloping green hilly yard, in a quiet little cove off a shallow but excited lake, 24 people, men, women and children, lowered themselves into the welcoming water and one by one, crossed their arms over their chest, plugged their noses and surrendered themselves to both the arms that submerged them in, and raised them from the water and to Jesus Christ.

I was among them.

Now, generally, I'm not fond of being the center of attention, and though I was eager, and happy to be taking this step in my Christian walk, I was admittedly very nervous. That sense of anxiety increased when we arrived at the home of our hosts for the evening and I saw the crowd forming. Friends, families, church members, all walking toward the lake with lawn chairs and blankets and excited smiles. Lots of people, well over one hundred had gathered to cheer on and support the 24 of us who on this evening were pledging our obedience and love for Christ in a very outspoken and public way. I had never felt so excited and vulnerable all at once.

The setting was beautiful, the instructions were clear and the crowd was warm and encouraging. The music was inspiring and the words spoken by our pastor were both assuring and affirming. I made this decision weeks ago, and now it was finally being enacted. It was time for me to publicly declare that Jesus is my personal savior, and to testify as to why, to tell everyone who would hear my message what I had experienced that brought me to this place of complete acceptance and obedience to Him. I was willing, yes, but was I ready? Ready as I'll ever be!

On that dock, waiting their turn, stood 24 incredibly different people. Old men needing assistance into the water, making their declarations late in life, to three young siblings, the youngest being 9, coming to the realization very early. Couples. Singles. Young. Old. Men and women. Each with a powerful and touching testimony, each with a unique tale to tell about how their lives had been impacted by Jesus and the loving mercy and abundant grace of God.

I was additionally blessed that our lovely counselor who used God's word like salve to help mend our broken marriage was there and assisted our pastor in my submergence. Her presence was another reminder that God has been working in my life. He has been healing my wounds, from my broken heart after losing Everett, to my again wounded heart and pride that accompanied my marital problems. God has been by my side. Jesus has been ever with me. And simple faith (though in reality, it is never simple), and trust, and obedience to His word, has made it possible for me to survive, and indeed thrive, in spite of the struggles I have come up against in this world.

From my place on the dock, and in the water, I looked up to the crowd on the hill and just barely make out my friends from small group, and and my children, and my husband, and I knew with absolute certainty that being baptized on this night, with these people, with this pastor, in this place, was the most right decision I could make. I can't say for sure that I felt God's presence, though I am certain He was there, I can say that I felt our collective joys buzzing in the air. Appreciation and happiness and love were common threads connecting the bodies in the water as well as the ones on the hill, clapping, cheering, singing and praising God.

On my walk back from the lake to the house, soaking wet and shivering, I came upon person after person offering hugs and congrats and pats on the back. Smiles. Genuine smiles and pleasant faces paraded past me and I felt a comforting sense of belonging to this amazing community of Christ followers, and this is significant to me, who has never felt overly comfortable in any group of people, the sense of belonging has constantly alluded me.





Typically, I fear the judgment of mankind. I am afraid to be looked down on or thought badly of. Even as I stood waist high in the water with my pastor on one side and my counselor on the other, I confessed, I was still afraid to have all these eyes on me. Their words focused me to what really mattered "This is about God and you, not them", and what God thought of me, and His judgments matter most, not that I had to fear my friends on the hill, who offered up nothing but good will.

Little more then two years ago, in a state of deep despair, I cried hard over the loss of my son Everett, and then cried out to God whom I was so furious with. In my pain I accused him of being absent, or non existent, or uncaring, and turned my back on him. But He waited for me. Patiently he waited for my anger to turn to a need so deep I could not ignore it. And months of grief festered in my heart, making me inconsolable and lonely beyond belief, finding no relief on my own. One night, while home alone and in indescribable pain, remembering Everett and struggling to make sense of our loss, I called out to God for relief, and it was granted. Grace poured out over me. It did not bring Everett back. It did not un-break my heart. It did not take away the grief. But it evaporated the loneliness. It eliminated the confusion. It soothed. It calmed. It comforted where there was no comfort before.

It has been a snowball effect from then on. By our hands Christ led us to a wonderful church, and a fantastic community of believers who have helped us grow our faith. And this most recent step of being baptized is a public declaration that God is at work in me and my life, and that I am forever and eternally grateful.

I have to share these words from my favorite song sang at the baptism service:

Alive in Us

I was lost, but now I'm found
Oh my God my world came crashing down
But You save
My sweet Jesus how you took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

You are faithful, You are true
Oh my God your grace came crashing through me
And You save
Your sweet Jesus how he took my place

Please come down
We need You now
And we sing

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us, and we sing
Halleluah
Jesus You're alive in us

Katie

3 comments:

Miranda said...

My Sister in Him

I'm so proud of you and so delighted that you chose to share this moment on your blog, facebook and websites. I know He will bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

Hugs and Love

Miranda

smitty89 said...

beautiful post Katie :) i'm so happy i was there to share this special time with you (i think i had the best seat in the house ;)

i know that God is going to use you in so many ways and bless you beyond what you can imagine ~hugs~

pinkheart16 said...

Katie no one know how you felt that day but God and you. All l can say when l was bapitize lt was a good feeling inside knowing God was alway there for us.

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