I had all intentions of my Monday morning post being a weekend update, as it was a great few days. However, what I experienced on Sunday morning was so life changing that it deserved its own post. Sunday’s are tough. The desire to sleep-in is typically so overwhelming that the excuse of “I’ll just watch church online later today” usually suffices. However, I woke up yesterday with this nagging feeling that I needed to get up, and I needed to get to church. Matt agreed to tag along and we spent the car ride there planning our shopping list at Trader Joe’s after church. What we didn’t know was that all prior plans would be thrown out the window and our lives would be changed forever.
Our church, Elevation, just began a new series title “Raised To Life”; a two-week series on baptism. I was baptized when I was two years old, and am so thankful that my parents made the decision to raise me in a Christian household. However, that was really their decision, and ultimately a choice I felt like I needed to make on my own. Throughout the sermon I went back and forth in my head on whether I would do it or not. I think deep down I knew I wanted to, but had some reservations. Isn’t this something I need to pray about before doing? Shouldn’t I be in a different place with Christ before going through with it? Would my outward decision hold to me to a different standard with those who knew? Did this mean I would have to change? Should I wait until my family could witness it? And embarrassingly enough, I thought about my hair, mascara running down my face, and having to deal with wet clothes afterwards. But Pastor Steven’s words spoke to my heart and I knew today was the moment. All excuses were irrelevant at this point He said that being baptized is an outward expression of an inward decision. It didn’t change your position with God, or create any expectations or responsibilities to fulfill, it is simply an acknowledgement that my life has been saved because of Jesus.
Pastor Steven counted to three, and those who wished to be baptized were asked to make their way outside. All over the church people rose with excitement. The Holy Spirit was tugging at my heart and telling me that today was the day and to not delay it any longer. I looked over at Matt (both of us were crying at this point) and we gave each other the “look”, gathered our things and excitedly headed outside. On the walk out there were people cheering, high-fiving, hugging and congratulating us on our decision. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.
Once we got outside, the men and women got in separate lines and bags were distributed to everyone. Inside of the bag was shorts, shirt, bra, underwear, flip-flops, hair-tie, and even make-up removing clothes. They truly thought of it all! They accounted for any excuse anyone could possibly have. We were filtered into large tents with separate dressing rooms where we could change into the clothes they provided. After changing, I met up with Matt and we got into the baptism line. While we were waiting we heard many amazing stories. One man was watching Elevation online and was so touched that he drove to the nearest church to be baptized. Stories of an entire football team making the decision together…and a story about a wife who had been praying for her husband for 40 years who was saved!
When we got to the front of the line, Matt decided he would go first. I watched him climb to the top of the stairs, and then walk down them into the tub of water. I watched as the Pastor held a cloth over his face, dunked him under the water, and rise up a new person. Witnessing this moment was surreal for me and a moment I will cherish forever.
Before I knew it, they were calling my name and it was my turn to enter the water. As I climbed down the stairs I heard one of my friends from college cheering me on from the bleachers. It was special to know there was someone in the crowd I knew. The Pastor said a few words and it was time for me to go under. When I surfaced all I could do was cry. I was overwhelmed by the feeling that had overcome me.
I quickly met back up with Matt and we spent a good three minutes just holding each other crying. It is a moment I will never forget and probably one of the most meaningful events we will experience together. It meant so much to me to have Matt by my side me. To see the man I love make such a deeply personal life choice and vow to lead me in my walk with Christ was truly a life changing moment for our relationship.
Being baptized was the most pure and holy moment I have ever experienced. I went under with all of my sin, regrets, embarrassments, ugliness and unworthiness. But was washed by the water…revived and RAISED TO LIFE. Hallelujah!
If you’d also like to experience this life-changing moment, Elevation Church will be performing baptisms this upcoming Saturday and Sunday as well. You do not have to be a member of the Church and there are no obligations or requirements other than wanting to be #RaisedToLife in Christ.