I thought it would be a great opportunity to write about the month ahead leading up to my baptism on the 12th August 2012. It seemed fitting that it is only a month to go and I wanted to record my thoughts, feelings, spiritual walk and all sorts ahead of the big day. It’s an exciting time for me to get baptised because it is happening the day after my 21st birthday! It will be a great weekend of celebration! I understand for some readers, the idea of baptism may seem unusual and many will not know what it is all about. I am going to speak specifically of what my experience will involve, even though there are other methods of baptism.
What is believers baptism?
Believers baptism is for those who have made a clear decision to follow Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Saviour. I am being baptised by total immersion which means my whole body will go under the water. This is a public declaration of my faith and what and who it is that I stand for. Paul in Romans 6:4 says: ‘ When we were baptised, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptised, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father’. As I go under the water, I am dying to my old self and the sinful ways I had committed in the past. As I am brought up out of the water, it symbolises that I am ‘born again’; a new creation and I choose to follow God all the days of my life.
Why am I getting baptised now?
I feel that now is my time to follow this step in the bible. It is an act of obedience to die to self and follow Christ. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian household and have always had an awareness of God. I have always felt like I could talk to Him and I put my faith in Him for as long as I can remember. When I was 12 years old, on a bike ride, I remember saying that I believed Jesus had died on a cross for my sins and I wanted to follow Him. To be honest, I feel I have accepted Jesus into my heart all of the years of my life and that there was not a specific point in time that I was converted so to speak. However, through circumstances I was never part of a church growing up and I continued to live in disobedience for a long time, despite knowing that God is Lord and he is sovereign. Despite the choices I made in the past, God proved forever faithful. Within the last few years my faith has hit a crossroads. And it is at this crossroads where I had to make the choice. It was time to get serious about my faith.
At a crossroads – it’s ok. I am a geographer – I have a map.
God gives us free will. He let’s us make the choices we make in life. He wants sincere and repentant hearts to come to Him. I like to think of 2 big life events that made me rely on God and have a deeper connection with him. Firstly, I spent 4 months away from home in the USA in 2010. I had no bible. I had no regular Christian fellowship. I had the wilderness. I had God. In the wilderness I found myself praying and talking to God more that I have ever done before. I was singing songs of praise at the Grand Canyon and in Glacier National Park and so many other places – which was pretty cool! In these times, I had nothing but God and I felt closer to Him than I had for a while.
The second big life event was being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 19. It was a life changing experience and put a lot of things into perspective. I realised that God was in control of all of this and he was in the process of refining my character. He got my attention. I spent more time absorbed in the bible. I had no choice but to surrender my life all over again. I understand there are a lot of people who do not believe in God and still have cancer and other illnesses. To some, my reliance on God might seem like a weakness because those that do not have God still have a strength to get them through. However, I believe that God is not just there to see me through it, he has allowed me to go through it to make me more like Him, to refine me and smooth down my rough edges :-D. He does not want us to go it alone and put on a brave face. At the end of the day, no matter how many times you try to go your own way, there will be a time when that just won’t work for you anymore. Trust me.
So what happened next?
I had to make a decision. Through these experiences was I going to get serious about my faith and follow God? Or was I going to continue doing it my way? For a time afterwards I started getting back into bad habits and following what I thought was right at the time. However, God placed some people in my life who gently encouraged me to look at my life in a different way to the one I was living. Then I really started thinking – yeah. Following God is like a motion picture. It’s one thing clicking play, believing in God and reading the bible and praying. All vitally important to being a God follower! However, it becomes an extended edition with special bonus features when you actually apply it, obeying Him and getting serious about it. Everyone likes seeing the behind the scenes and the added extras don’t they? When I got involved in my local church and felt at home, then alarm bells started ringing and I knew it was time to seriously consider baptism. It so happenes that my birthday falls on the Saturday and I asked to be baptised that Sunday! I was finally heading in the direction God was patiently waiting for me to get to! (I am also bad at navigating, despite having a map…)!!
God knows my heart. He knows what makes me struggle. That is why He doesn’t let me go it alone. My baptism symbolises the decision to follow the one who has always waited for me and has never left my side – God. I want to follow God. Not for anything that I am, but for everything that He is.
I want to share with you this next month leading up to my baptism. I am sure it will be full of all stuff Random and Ruth like… but it is sure to be a very important part in who I am growing up to be and the woman that I want to be in Christ Jesus. This was just a background entry. But plenty more long and much shorter posts to follow! Keep reading! 🙂
Leaving you with a song that explains what I hope to do today and for always and hope that others will be keep to do the same!