Last night, I repented and was baptized. Again. Second time now. The first was when I was 14 years old. 20 years ago. Feels like 4 lifetimes ago. When I did it back then, I believed that I was doing the right thing - declaring that I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for the remission of my sins. The end. In my 14 year old mind, that was the thing you do in the Church when you believe and you're about that age. I didn't give much thought to the way I was supposed to live my life afterwards. BECAUSE I WAS 14.
Ever since Little was born, my perspective on everything has changed. Yes, I know all mothers say that, but not all mothers have a child with a rapidly degenerative and ultimately fatal muscle disease. When I say my point of view has changed, I'm talking about a Mt. Vesuvius kind of obliteration of everything "pre-Little". These past almost 5 years have put a nagging in my heart that I wasn't quite right with God. These past 3 months in particular have brought it front and center in my mind. I've been worrying more, allowing anger and resentment to take hold, and questioning whether or not I was all in when I went under the water as a teen. Was I wholeheartedly baptized or did I just get wet? No one should live with that doubt. When you make the decision to be baptized and follow through on it, then your name is written in the Book of Life. I haven't been able to say to myself, "Yes, absolutely" when wondering if I'll go to Heaven when I die. I don't want to be hopeful for it anymore, I want to KNOW. And now I know; my name IS there. I'm not saying anyone has to go and be baptized after they've already done it. I'm saying I needed to step back into that water. I needed to rededicate myself to Him. But if you are questioning yourself and your previous intentions, then maybe you do, too.
Over the summer, I learned that two of my dear friends who I invited to start attending church services with me made the decision and were baptized. Then a few weeks later, one of their dads did the same. I was lucky to be in town that time and got to witness it. Then 2 weeks ago, their sister took the plunge. They thanked me every time one of them repented and alhtough I was overjoyed at their decisions, I also felt a pang of guilt and shame. It took me until yesterday to realize why. Who was I to be thanked for leading anyone to God when I wasn't even sure I was there? What kind of hypocrite am I to tell others they need to be baptized when I needed to be reborn myself?
I get it now in a way my 14 year old self wasn't mature enough to comprehend. I have a child now and I experience the love a parent (God) has for their children (us). I think about the way Mary and God must have felt watching Jesus up on the cross and it breaks my heart in a way it never did before Little. My son will suffer and die from his disease, but the research and studies and clinical trials he is and will be a part of will help these doctors cure future generations of boys with Duchenne. Now I am NOT equating Duchenne with the cross or the treatments with salvation, please don't misunderstand me. What I'm saying is that I have the tiniest glimpse of what it is like to watch your child suffer for a greater cause. When he gets those injections one day, when he suffers side effects from a new medicine, when he is bruised from testing out leg braces, when he swells and screams in pain and cries from giving blood for a lab to study and use - those are physical sacrifices he is and will endure for the sake of DMDers to come. AND IT KILLS ME. This smallest of insights into what Mary and God must have felt to give their child to the cross for us is still brutal. Now magnify that 100000 times. That's what it must have been for them on that day to watch Jesus endure what he did. I don't believe I could have handled it. And to know that it was for us - sinners? People who don't deserve dog scraps? How can I keep living a life for me and not God when He gave his son for me??????
So I brought it up to two of my sweet friends last night and one of them blurted out "So let's do it tonight." And she was right. When you know, you go. Don't waste another second. So we didn't.
The second most precious part about it (bc obviously salvation is the most) was having my son at the foot at the baptistery. He got to watch Mommy wash her sins away and now we have this moment together.
I sat there are bawled for a moment (who's surprised?) while Andrew's tiny hands clapped for me over in the corner of the photo. The blonde head in the picture is my friend's son. My preacher's grandson was there, too. It was so awesome to get to show these three little souls what we do when we decide to follow Jesus.
In these last 20 years, I have made some pretty poor choices (some great ones, too). I never stopped believing that Jesus was the way, but my life didn't always show it. That's what we're supposed to do, though, be a light for Jesus. No, my light never went out, but it sure flickered on and off. You couldn't always look at me and think, "Oh, she must be a Christian". But that's what I want. That's what God wants. To begin my life anew for Him, I knew I needed to rededicate and recommit myself to His will. As my preacher said, the troubles I had before going in the water will still be there when I come out - so this is no blink of an eye change for me. I will still make inappropriate jokes. I will still cuss when I stub my toe. I will still have feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, pride, and impatience. But I can give them to God. I can ask for his help and forgiveness. I can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that God's got this.
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 3:19 19"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
So above you see that the Bibles does instruct us to be repentant and baptized for the remission of our sins. And below, you will see that Jesus, himself, repented and was baptized.
Matthew 3:13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
And here, is how I felt last night. This passage shows you the urgency in which we should stop what we are doing and take the plunge, so to speak. We don't know what the next hour holds, so why wait? Why take that chance?