11 Apr 2019 A New Life in Jesus
Next Sunday I get to celebrate like never before, and not only because it’s Easter, when we remember and celebrate Jesus, who conquered the grave over sin and death, but because I’ve made the decision to get baptized! When I was a child, my mother had me baptized, as it was a tradition that runs deep in our family. So naturally, I felt a little nervous when God was nudging me to get baptized again as an adult. I thought, Doesn’t it count if I’ve already done it once? What will my family think? Being in front of people makes uncomfortable. Surely there’s a better way! But God kept tugging on my heart, stirring me to get baptized, to make my faith my own, and to publicly declare that I am a child of God.
For as long as I can remember, I had a belief in God but I did not know Him. I didn’t know I could have a personal relationship with Him, and I definitely didn’t think He would want to have one with me. When my husband died a little over a year ago, I turned to alcohol to help fill the hole of grief in my life, to dull the pain. Yet soon enough, the alcohol stopped working and I was brought to one of the darkest places of my life. Someone eventually said to me, “You must be angry with God!” But after thinking for a moment about what she said, I responded desperately: “No, I need God!” After saying those words and in that moment, I knew I had to finally choose God. And so I did.
Over the next year, in sheer desperation, I started seeking God. I learned to meditate and pray, and I soon joined a group serving the homeless downtown. A friend introduced me to a Bible study group, where I learned more about Jesus. Every day I was growing and coming to know Jesus so much more, and it’s been the most meaningful part of my life. I believed in God before, but now I am getting to know Him intimately and learn what it truly means to follow Jesus. Another friend, who was recovering from surgery, asked me to drive her to church at Northshore. And so I did and attended service with her. At that time, Pastor Scott was starting the Paradigm Shift series, which was on Psalm 23, and I immediately knew I was in the right place.
I honestly don’t think that I can rightly put into words just how impactful my decision to choose God and follow Jesus has forever changed my life, because He has literally changed everything. In the morning I find myself saying out loud, “Hello, God.” During the day I am constantly seeking guidance or simply taking a moment to say “Thank you, Lord.” In the midst of extreme pain and grief, I’ve experienced God exchanging them for the gift of joy, not manufactured or fleeting, but a rich, real joy that could only come from Him. Now, I absolutely love reading my Bible and I have this overwhelming feeling that I am okay. Not just “okay,” but a deep-down inside peace! And for as long as I can remember, I have never felt like that before.
Next Sunday, when I step out on Northshore’s stage to get baptized, I’m not really sure what to expect. I’m sure that I’ll be a little nervous, as I’ve invited as many of my friends and family as I could, some of whom do not know Jesus. But nerves aside, I know that I will be full of joy because I know I’m a part of something so much bigger: God’s will and incomprehensible grace. For anyone like me who feels God tugging on their heart to get baptized, I want to sincerely encourage you to do it. Take that next step of faith and do not fear what others might think about you, because truly, Jesus can change everything for anyone. I am living proof of that!
If you’re considering getting baptized, head over to www.northshore.church/baptism to find out more info and sign up!
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