This past weekend my church had baptisms during the service. I have never seen baptisms during the service, except when I was growing up in the Lutheran church. Where I got baptized as an adult at Bethel Evangelical Free in Fargo, ND, that was also not during the service. So at first I was irritated that they had this during the service. I usually like to walk out during special events at services. Maybe because they were so much a part of church growing up and I never knew the people nor cared. Which is sad to admit today, but that was I way I was.
I cried when the first two young girls did it, I assumed they were sisters, and as they came up from the the water, they hugged each other. Some just smiled, others cried, but all were cheered by the congregation when they came up. And for the first time, I cared about these people I didn't know. I remember how meaningful my own experience was so many years ago.
My grandma Gladys came, as she and her husband Bill were my godparents. Before the baptism, we could say a little something. I don't really remember what I said, but my grandma seemed to like it. The experience was meaningful as I chose when I would be baptized. I wanted to share with everyone that Jesus was my Savior and Lord, and He was the One who transformed me, and gave me hope.
Now after all those years, I look back on the turbulent life that I have led. I wondered if any one that knew me as a child could see the change in me. I wondered it myself, could I see it? The word that popped into my head was hope.
I had no hope growing up. I had no idea what was wrong with me physically, and I didn't understand until years later that I had a mental illness. I just thought I was going crazy. I was lonely and bullied in school. I just hated my life and everyone else.
Now, after all those years, I love my life and everyone else. Okay, some people I could stand to live without, but I think that Jesus transformed me. He gave me hope. He gave me help. He gave me love.
And because of all that and more, I can rejoice with others who rejoice, I can have compassion on others without hope. I can love myself as I am, and I have accepted myself.
True, there are times that I feel sorry for myself, especially when I get my period! But usually, I am a happy single woman who loves to learn and teach others.
So I am happy that I got to share in the experience of baptism at my church. It made me feel a part of something bigger. Even as the introvert thatI am, I still seem to need this. And I will always need Jesus.