My Baptism Story

It’s been about 15 years since I decided I wanted to follow Jesus.  For most of that time, I also believed that the Bible taught that believers should get baptized as an outward symbol of the death and resurrection that has taken place in their heart.  But I never followed through with that belief.  Why?  Well, when I first came to this belief, I was 16 and I had gone off to a Christian camp.  My family was attending a Lutheran church, and they did infant baptisms there.  I had been baptized as a Catholic baby.  So there wasn’t really an opportunity, and I don’t think I ever really considered the issue much.  As I returned to the camp every summer to work, there were opportunities to get baptized in the lake.  I really liked the idea, but at the same time I felt like, at the very least, my parents and brothers should be there.  So it never happened.  When I went to Bible school (held at the same camp), I blame reading too much Dietrich Bonhoeffer for my indecision over whether I should be baptized (since I had already been baptized as a baby).  Instead of talking to any of the great Christian leaders there, though, I simply pushed the issue aside in my mind.

Recently, several years later,  the matter of baptism weighed on my heart every time someone got baptized at church.  But it was mostly older kids (age 10 or so) or new adult believers who were getting baptized.  Even though I already knew the answer was “Yes,” I still kept wondering, “Do I really need to be baptized? I’ve already been a Christian for half my life!”  I admit part of it was pride.  I didn’t want people to think I was a new believer!  I’d had 15 years of “experience,” after all!  I deserved “credit” for that, didn’t I?  I knew that those thoughts were ridiculous; still, they were there.

Then my new friend got baptized — along side her 9-year-old daughter.  She had pretty much the same story as I had, having made the decision to follow Christ a long time ago.  I thought, “Is that going to be me a few years down the road?  Am I going to have to explain to my daughter that I just never bothered to get baptized?”  I decided it was about time to put my insecurities aside.  Then Batman squeezed my hand.  “I need to get baptized,” he whispered.  And so we did — we got baptized together a few weeks later.

For those of you who have never been in a church for adult baptisms, it is really a simple process.  Our church has a baptismal pool built into the floor at the front of the church.  When it is not being used, they put down flooring to cover it up.  Our pastor goes into the pool first, explains what baptism is and why our church practices it, and introduces the person about to be baptized.  Then he or she comes into the pool and he asks them if they have accepted Jesus Christ and their Lord and Savior.  Then they say “yes,” because why else would they be standing in a pool in shorts and a t-shirt while everyone else is dressed up for church?  The person can choose to share a little with the congregation, or they can pass on that opportunity.   The pastor says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” and lowers the person into and back out of the water.

Then he prays for the newly baptized person.

Then the wet, but happy, person can go get dressed and sneak back into the church service.

What came as a surprise to me was how much this made me feel like a part of the church family.  People stopped to congratulate and hug us.  But the warm welcome didn’t end at the conclusion of church that day.  We have since had our kids dedicated during a service and officially become church members.  Those things, along with baptism, were all things that I never really thought were important.  I figured as long as I was trying my best to grow in my walk with Christ, why was  a ceremony or adding my name to a roster at all important?  But now, when I am on the church grounds for whatever reason, I feel very much at home.  I never before felt UNwelcome, so this feeling was a surprise to me!  This shift was almost imperceptible, but it is there, and I am glad for it.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Audreya
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 11:19:04

    When talking about baptism, our minister would always say something like “What are you waiting for? We’ve got towels. The water (in the baptistry) is warm…” When David decided to be baptized, they figured out the hard way that the heater in the baptistry had gone out. He said “So, about that warm water…” 🙂 And we have these thingys people can wear. Not like fancy “robes”… like a one piece (oversized) shorts / shirt thing. We have a few different sizes but for both David and my BIL, it was an interesting look!

    I love baptism stories.

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  2. Susan
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 07:00:03

    I love your baptism story! Thanks so much for sharing! I got baptized as an adult too – in August 2006. I decided that it was really important to me – telling the Lord that I was really His, and I wanted it to be a public declaration of my love for Him. It was a beautiful summer day at a church member’s home and they live on a lake and your mom was there and so was Mrs Jay, and my whole family. We each wrote a short version of our testimony and it was so hard to have to keep making it shorter and shorter! The tricky part of walking into the lake was not knowing where the bottom was going to be, even though it was shallow. Katie didn’t know that people could come in with the person being baptized, but was excited to come in with me. She held my glasses while Pastor Bob dunked me. It was a very special day. I had brought clothes to change into, but Katie, not expecting to get wet, had not.

    Baptism is a real personal thing and everytime they have it at our church, I see people up there who have been long-time Christians and even long-time members.

    Your pictures show the joy of the day, and the joy in your heart. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Hugs,
    Katie’s mom

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  3. Caralynn
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 14:44:34

    We are catholic and have a set of twins-son and daughter who are 15 now.we baptized both of them last year when they were 14 by immersion.after the baptism,the kids op to 17 are required to be dressed in all white outfits to symbolize their purity of their baptism.the son had to wear a white suit and tie and the daughter had to be dressed in a white,poofy,top of the knees dress with a flowered headwreath,lace socks and white mary jane shoes.the parish gives each girl a pair of white rubberpants that has to be worn under the dress with a white under shirt.the daughter wore the rubberpants under her dress all day and got a mild rash from them.

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