It was the summer of 2013 and my husband Jeff and I were attending our annual church baptism event at Lake Johanna on the University of Northwestern campus. The annual church baptism is a fantastic event where thousands of believers come collectively to witness the baptizing of fellow Christians. Baptism is a where a believer in Jesus is fully immersed in water and publicly declares their belief and belief.
Seven years ago, I had made a decision to accept Jesus into my life however I was afraid and was feeling embarrassment that I had never been baptized on account that becoming a believer all those years. I was afraid that people in my church would be shocked to find out that I was not baptized. Since I was volunteering in the kids’ ministry, I always wondered what kind of a leader would I be if I am teaching the kids about baptism and about accepting Jesus, without first taking that crucial step. I viewed myself as a hypocrite. Moreover, I was torn inside because I was always wondering what others would think about my character, instead of doing what I knew was the right thing to do.
When we arrived at church, there were lotes of people waiting to be ushered in. In the church, I could not help but notice that white wooden tables lined the walkways. The sitting arrangements were arranged according to table numbers and split up by alphabetic order and this helped in directing the attenders where to sit. We walk down the walkway and I begun adjusting to the beautiful scenery. The flowers were in full bloom and the trees were bending in the slight breeze blowing from the lake side. We were located on a large hill where all the attenders were setting up their blankets and chairs. After searching for a comfortable sport, we sported an empty spot and it dawned on us that that was the exact spot where baptism would take place.
The main service commenced with music and later, our pastor talked about baptism and what the Bible mentions and describes concerning baptism. He also mentioned that many people were baptized as infants. However, he explained that the bible does not state that an infant was ever baptized nor was an infant considered baptized from other practices. He went on to expound that being baptized as an infant was not bibilically correct since it was not the infant’s decision but their parent’s decision to raise them in a Christian upbringing. He went on to explain that being baptized as an adult, was ones own decision to follow Jesus. As he was preaching these words, I felt as if he was speaking these words directly to me. I too, was baptized as an infant, and I knew that it was not my choice but my parents choice to baptize me since that was what was expected of them. At that moment, I felt The Holy Spirit touch me and I felt an urging desire rush over me. Then and there, I wanted to be baptized on that very moment. Still feeling that urge, I looked at my friend Jeff for a brief moment and he gave me a look as if to imply that he knew exactly what I was thinking. To my disbelief, he said, “I want to be baptized today”. I smiled and immediately replied “me too”. Despite being sure of the decision I was about to take, I felt excited and nervous at the same time.
Jeff and I took the bold step by standing up and moving forward, ready to take this journey together. We stood in line with about twenty others who were still waiting to approach the water. I was watching as one believer after the other wad dipped under the water and came out with a burst of energy. I watched as baptized people came out of the water, some with tears of joy and others screaming joyfully. As the baptized came out of the water, the crowd would cheer and clap, and they would give high fives and hug one another in celebration.
Finally our turn reached. Jeff and I held hands as we went inside the water. Our campus pastors, who was the one baptizing the believers, ushered us into the water by greeting us with a big smile. While still smiling, he asked, “Have you personally made the decision to make Jesus Christ the Lord and Savior of your life?” We replied in unison, “yes”. He continued, “Then today is your day and I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, He said. I locked arms with my husband and I could not stop smiling as the pastor dipped us in the water. The pastors, one on each side, assisted us in leaning back and they fully immersed us in the lake water. After I reemerged, I took a deep breath and I started crying. These were tears of joy. I remember coming of the water and all our friends from church and were so happy for us. This was the moment I would never forget since I made a public declaration that I am a follower of Jesus.
God had his own plan for us that day when we arrived at Lake Johanna. Little did we know what was in store for us. I’m glad I could overcome the feelings of embarrassment that I harbored within for all those years, and that I took the step to be baptized. Baptism is a new beginning for believers and ever since, I have been strengthening my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I make better decisions in my life with God as my number one priority and baptism took my faith to a higher level and brought me closer to God. Baptism changed my life and that day I was made new.