On June 23 this summer, my Dad read these words (at my request) from Acts 22: 14-16 at my baptism.
" And he said, 'The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.' "
These couple of verses are bits and pieces of a conversation between Paul turned Saul and Ananias. Ananias told Saul to receive his sight. And when he did Ananias said what is written above.
To me it just seemed such a beautiful thing. After so many years of living out my stagnant faith; not growing nor regressing, I was told to receive my sight. And when I was plunged beneath the waves of the salty Dakar ocean and then raised back up, I had fresh eyes. A fresh perspective. The world, its people... Everything looked more beautiful and colorful than I ever thought was possible. It was like looking through God's eyes, through his heart. My one regret that day was wishing I followed the command of baptism sooner.
My Testimony from June 23, 2019
After almost 14 years of telling the Lord that I love Him and desire to follow His heart, I realized what I had already known but refused to acknowledge for quite some time: If I love Him so much, why am I not obeying Him? It occurred to me, that in my stubbornness, I had been refusing to see that I had only surrendered a part of me to Christ. I kept asking Him to reign in my heart and to give me a passion for Him - and yet, I wasn’t obeying Him. This realization hit me head on while I was at Youth Group one Thursday night. I was flipping through one of my many notebooks filled with notes from Bible studies, sermons, and Youth Group gatherings. In these notes, I saw how far the Lord had taken me in my journey with Him; I saw not only how far, but how much farther He was willing to take me. But we weren’t going farther, my faith was stagnant, and that… that scared me. In this standstill that I was in, I kept crying out and asking for all of Him- and yet He still did not have all of me. And that’s not fair… Flipping through those notes I was deeply convicted that the answer to my own prayer for more of Him would only come if He had all of me. Flipping through those notes I saw how faithful the Lord had been to me; I saw how He had answered my prayers time and time again. From things like asking Him if I could pretty please lose a tooth so I could visit the tooth fairy, to asking for protection during travels, to supplying peace and comfort in the very face of loss. He had done it all. That night I came to a place where I admitted how very wrong I was, that I was stubborn and sinful; and just admitting that was so freeing. I told my parents that I wanted “to get baptized and soon!” I don’t have a logical or reasonable answer as to why I didn’t get baptized sooner- other than I was stubborn. Today, I’m getting baptized to figuratively surrender everything I am to Christ, dying to self. I do want all of Him, and if this is only the first step towards all of Him, so be it. I’m ready.
In the days following my baptism, especially these past few weeks, my fresh perspective has grown into this beautiful joy that I just can't contain. It bubbles over and affects everything I do. My fresh perspective has opened me up to the beauty of true unity with Christ and his people. My prayer life has become greater so that Christ can become greater still. I always have this urge to just worship God and spend time just being with him; being still before him... and it is beautiful.
I am not perfect and I won't ever be this side of Heaven, but I'm changed. I cannot deny the fact that Christ has made me new.
I strongly encourage you, dear readers, to seek unity with those around you. There will be times where it seems the disunity and calamity is greater than the tranquility. And we will all go through times like that. But I encourage you to just start by prayer and thanksgiving. Just start with the fact that you're still alive, God loves to hear from you. Even if you thank him for the same things everyday, it'll always be music to his ears. And prayer! Pray for those whom you love, the ache left from those you miss, and those with whom you struggle. He wants to hear it all.
"Thankfulness is the ground in which worship thrives, and worship is what attracts the angels."
Until next time folks,