Monday, September 8, 2014

Musing Mondays // What I Learned From Being Baptized

I've only been away for four days, and I feel like so much has happened!

Recently, I went to a church retreat. It was four days long and it was one of the highlights of my summer.

To be honest, it was probably my favorite retreat out of all the nine/ten years I've been at my church. It was SO GOOD. The games were fun, the fellowship was insanely wonderful, the messages spoke so much to my heart, I went thrifting, and I was baptized!

I'll share more about the retreat later on this week, but today I'll focus on my baptism.

I was the only one out of 160 people in our church to be baptized at the church retreat this year.

Seriously! Last year there were two people who were baptized. The year before that there were like five. There has ALWAYS been more than one person baptized at past retreats; it just so happened that this year I was the only one. The ONLY ONE!

I swear God has a sense of humor.

Anyway, that put me in the spotlight. Everyone knew that I was going to be baptized; everyone knows me--my family has been at this church for nine years--and it magnified the spotlight even greater that I was the only one getting baptized.

1. I learned that baptism is not about me.
I had been agonizing over the fact that I was the only one getting baptized, which meant that all 160 people would sit in the hotel's ballroom, hear my testimony, and then all 160 of them would walk down to the hotel's pool and see me get dunked in the water by my youth group leader and my dad. It seemed like just kind of a waste for me. It was my own version of selflessness.

But as I was in my hotel room the night before, and I was practicing my testimony, and I was thinking, and I was like, You know what? This baptism is not about ME. This baptism is about JESUS and what He's done for me. So I'll act accordingly. I won't act like this is such a bother for everyone to come see me--and only me--be baptized, because this is a PUBLIC DECLARATION of my faith in Him. And public means a lot of people, anyway.

So even when God's being funny, He's teaching you a lesson.

2. I learned that one's testimony is moving, no matter how dramatic the story is.
My testimony seemed quite boring to me. I was a good Christian kid, I looked down on all the bad people at my high school, I got a C on my test, repented, and now I'm standing up here at the podium professing Christ. It's not that dramatic. (It's relatively tame, actually.) Other people at my church have done "worse" deeds than I have, and yet after my baptism, I saw a lot of red eyes. 

And I realized that while I had had that "get in, get out" mentality, my story had touched people's hearts. I looked around and I remembered who had been with me all nine years at my church. I've grown up at this church. (I've been here for almost ten years!) They all know me. And to see me come to Christ is probably a beautiful thing for them. It's beautiful to see anyone come to Christ. And that's the truth.

3. I learned that baptism brings people together.
Because I was baptized, and I was the only one to get baptized, I was able to have a lot of wonderful conversations with so many different people. People that I barely knew, people that I'd just met but felt like I'd known for a long time, people that I've known for so long. My old piano teacher, a man who helped out at our church a while back, our lead pastor, my youth group leaders, my parents--I spoke to people that I'd barely talked to before, I spoke to people I didn't know...I talked to so many people, and each one of the conversations encouraged me so much. Yes, I was a bit awkward for sure. But I was so blessed. (To use an overused word.)

4. I learned that plugging your nose isn't for wimps.
I had been nervous for the testimony part--I mean, who isn't scared of public speaking? (I can answer that for you: no one.) But I started talking to one of my youth leaders, and she said, "Oh, make sure to plug your nose when you actually get baptized, because if they tip you too far back or leave you in there for two seconds too long, you can get water in your nose." (My church baptizes by immersion.)

Up until then, I'd thought plugging noses was for wimps. But then I realized that the "wimps" were actually really smart, because I wish death upon the sensation of water up your olfactory organ. (In other words...I hate getting water up my nose!) 

So then I started getting nervous about the whole baptism part. I was going to plug my nose with my right hand--but if you have two people on either side of you, and both need to hold some part of your body in order to dunk you, what was the person on the right side going to do? Hold my elbow? And what if my dad kept me in there for a little longer than necessary? What if I forgot to plug my nose?

Well...thank you God, I had my wits about me. Watch the video of my baptism below (and special thanks to Anna B. for filming it!):



  1. That is amazing. Our God is most certainly an awesome God!!!

    Rachel Schaus