My faith is clearly something very important to me. I was raised in a strong Lutheran home and attended private, Christian school until my parents split when I was 13. I honestly attribute a lot of my strong faith now to this foundation laid by my parents. While they were and are not perfect in their own displays of faith, I am thankful for this influence. I will strive to give my children the same opportunity and hopefully send them to private school also. Anyhow, I decided at the age of 19 (the same year I found out about my infertility diagnosis) to convert from Lutheran to Southern Baptist. For one, I had always felt lead to the SB faith. Sure, a Christian is a Christian and believe in Jesus is all that matters but I just felt there were stronger families in the SB community. There seemed to be a much bigger emphasis on family, on marriage, and holding things accountable. I knew I wanted a man like that and I figured the best way to find him was to align my faith and my Church with those beliefs.
I was baptized once in elementary school as a Lutheran. There, the belief is children can be baptized at any age regardless of admission of acceptance. In addition, you are "sprinkled" when baptized. Well, in the Baptist faith you become baptized when you can acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord & Savior and have a full understanding of what that means for your life. We also believe in baptism by immersion, or in southern slang "dunking." This was quite an intimidating notion to me.
I had seen my cousin get "dunked" when I was younger and was kinda traumatized by the whole thing. I just remember him acting like a village idiot and practically swimming and flapping his arms and my whole family having a good chuckle. In our Church we do baptisms A LOT. On Sundays, on Wednesdays, and every day in between when we have a special event. I was too nervous to do it on a regular Church day, so I did it on a much milder, quieter night during a special event.
The baptismal pool is high above the sanctuary, front and center so all can see. I stepped up the mic, professed my belief in Jesus, that I was raised in a Christian home, and had God in my heart for as long as I can remember. Then, one of the associate pastors tipped me backwards and I came up for air. I was re-born!
It was an incredible experience and I can't wait to have my children experience the very same thing. I wish with all my might I could say I began a new life, a better life after that. I didn't. I made some poor choices and did things I'm not proud of but I'm on the right path now and have God's forgiveness for all of that that took place years ago. I encourage any of you who are believers and who have not been baptized to do so. It's an incredible feeling.
I cry every time we have baptisms on Sunday, which is basically every week. The picture above is from my Church who now has a "I am not ashamed" message during baptisms. Each person being baptized confesses that they are not ashamed and then immersed. Then they hear the rousing cheers of a few thousand people in our congregation as they come up for air. Super awesome.