Ten years ago today, I was baptized.
I view my baptism as the “start” of my personal relationship with Christ. I grew up in a Christian household and came to faith in Christ at a young age—an age so young that I don’t have much memory of it. I do remember, though, my baptism at the age of 12. The Spirit led me to the decision to be baptized as well as to the decision to take ownership for my own walk with Christ. Christianity was no longer just the religion of my parents; it was my commitment to follow Christ.
I don’t doubt the sincerity of my confession at that age, but over the past ten years my understanding of Christianity has certainly matured. The things I knew at the age of 12 have now become lived and experienced. Instead of merely knowing and accepting that the Christian walk called for sacrifice and faith in Jesus, I now have a deeper understanding through my own call to sacrifice and my own wrestling to believe in Him. The ups and downs of the past ten years taught me that God is good in the high moments and in the low. God prompted me to trust Him as He swept me and my family from place to place to place and back again until none of us are quite sure where Home is except in Him. He has called me to lay down my pride and my anxiousness and my crippling desire for control at His feet again and again and again, because even as a Spirit-filled follower of Him, I am stupid and often need a refresher on how to battle against my sin. He challenged my notions of friendship and community through providing in the loneliness, calling me to courageously step outside of the introverted shell He made me in, and revealing to me in tangible ways the point of the Body of Believers. He stripped away the vain dreams of this world from me and filled the vacancy with the only thing capable of satisfying me: Himself. Through the darkest periods of my life, He was the Light guiding me back into His joy and peace and presence. Though I frequently think that I have to clean myself up before I go to Him with any request, any cry for help, He gently, tenderly reminds me that His grace cleanses me. It is not my own cleanliness that somehow earns His grace. That backwards way of thinking defeats the purpose of the Gospel and of a Savior, and when I am reminded that it is His grace, not my performance, that saves me, I marvel all the more at the Gospel that makes no sense. What beautiful, comforting Good News it is!
When I look back on my ten years as a Christian, a Follower of Christ, I see my own faithlessness. My flailing fights against sin. My collapses into deep despair. My periods of doubting.
But more clearly do I see Christ’s faithfulness. His grace cleansing me of my iniquity, restoring my relationship with the Father. His comforting presence in my times of mourning. His moments of patience with my wandering heart.
I don’t write this on the tenth anniversary of my baptism to make much of me and to claim I’ve been a perfect Christian. Because I haven’t been. I’ve stumbled a lot.
Instead, I write this on the tenth anniversary of my baptism to make much of Christ the Redeemer, Christ the Savior, Christ the King. Because if any good happened in the past ten years of my life, it was entirely Him at work in me and through me and around me. He called me to follow Him. When I stumbled, He held onto me (Psalm 37:24). In all of my successes and joy-filled moments, He was there. He has orchestrated all of my life so far, and He is continuing to write the story. It is not an easy road to walk, but I have Christ as my navigator, directing my steps, shaping my heart, and leading me Home.
Praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done. Where would I be without Him?