I’m getting baptized at church tomorrow. This was not even on my radar four weeks ago and I would have bet you that all three of my children, my husband, my best friend, my sister, my nephews, and 42 other people I could name would all be baptized long before me. I mean, I’ve already been baptized once, 35 years ago. I was a month old and it was such a special moment with my family. I cherish the fact that my two sweet aunts were my baptismal sponsors – they love me so well.
So why now? What tipped the scale? What’s my reason for doing this now? There are a few:
- I haven’t been baptized as a believer in Christ. I’ve grown up as a believer, I’ve always known Jesus loves me. But baptism is a choice I’m making again, now, on my own.
- To publicly proclaim my faith. This one is maybe the weirdest for me. God’s put this on my heart, and I’m trying to be obedient to his command. However, this whole baptism thing feels way bigger than me. I could be baptized privately in my backyard and it might be even more meaningful to me, but that’s not what this is. This is “hey, 500 people I don’t know, I love Jesus”. God orchestrates everything for the good of those that love him – and I don’t know the ripples of my baptism, but it feels like they must be there.
- Because this isn’t about me. This was the tipping point. My best friend and I were talking about baptism and I was trying very hard to convince both of us that I needed to wait. That waiting would make me more holy or clean or sinless or better. He asked me who my focus was – me or God. Clearly, it was on me. And how I wasn’t ready for that, or perfect enough for that; that my life was too messy, that I’m too sinful. But this is the point of baptism – that we’re all a giant muddy mess, and that baptism, symbolizing Jesus’ work on the cross [Romans 6], washes us free from all of the mess. There’s nothing I can do to prepare for baptism, I’m just good enough right now as I am – and this whole thing is for God’s glory, not mine.
- For freedom. 1 Peter 3:21 talks about baptism clearing our conscience. We’re all carrying around a boatload of guilt and shame. Of past mistakes and things we would have done differently. I don’t want to carry that load anymore.
- Joey and my best friend Nick are baptizing me tomorrow. I was really intentional about who would be the ones to baptize me. Joey and I spent a year walking a ridiculously hard path, and I’m thankful we’re very much on the other side of that now. I’m nearly giddy that I’m able to connect with my husband in this specific way – that he will physically be the one washing my past hurts away. I’m so excited that our kids will be there to watch. I’m so grateful that Nick will be there to baptize me too. I’ve grown more spiritually alongside him thank anyone other than Joey. I’m so encouraged by these two guys, how they keep me accountable and focused, how they help my perspective and my peace.
- Because right now matters. I don’t know what my life is like six months from now. I know that I have this gift of today. A few days ago I was listening to my patron saint, Jen Hatmaker, speak about baptism (it’s from June 18th, here). She talked about two guys in the Bible, an Ethopian Eunuch (Acts 8) and Paul (Acts 22), who were presented with baptism. The Eunuch’s response was “hey there’s some water, why can’t I be baptized right now?”. Later, in chapter 22, Ananias said to Paul “hey dude, what are you waiting for, go be baptized” (that’s the translation from the Alison Standard Version). There was no more waiting for next time. There’s water and a savior ready and I am excited.