Yesterday morning I was finally baptised by full immersion in front my whole church, full of friends and family. It was a wonderful experience like no other I’ve ever had. Before my baptism, very nervously, I gave my testimony and I want to share it here too. I know my testimony will likely change and grow over time but I always want to remember the first one I ever gave and I pray it might encourage someone out there who reads it. (I have edited it slightly for the internet for privacy’s sake.)
I have always referred to myself as a Christian.
I grew up in a very small community and for probably the first 10 years of my life I attended a Baptist chapel with my grandparents, parents and brother. I went to Sunday school classes, heard the bible read regularly and knew all about who Jesus was. I had a child’s understanding and a child’s belief.
I don’t really remember why but over time we stopped attending. Although God was still present in my life through my family, particularly my Nan & Grandad’s faith. But the next few years passed without me giving much thought to it.
It wasn’t until my mid teens that I started going to church again. Like most teenagers I had a boyfriend and his father was a local priest. I started attending weekly with his family and thinking about my own beliefs again. I decided when I was 16 that I wanted to be baptised and confirmed and started to take steps towards that. However life seemed to get in the way, over the next few years people close to me died, important and influential relationships in my life broke down, I moved away to university and once again away from the church.
I see now that this was God acting for my good. I am so glad I wasn’t baptised then as it would have been for the wrong reasons, or at least reasons I still hadn’t fully understood.
Around this time I met Vince and we eventually started a relationship and were married and thinking about children. It was only after Emma was born I started thinking about going back to church; I wanted a church upbringing for her as I had. But this time it was different and I see now it was God leading me back, I wanted to read my bible; I had real questions that I wanted answers too. We were by now living in East Sussex and I started to look around and enquire into different churches and denominations trying to find what felt right and true.
One of the churches we visited was [our local church] and 12 months later we came back and I knew we would be staying. We had such a warm welcome and were made to feel totally at home even with our noisy 1yr old in tow. Eventually I asked our vicar about baptism, having Emma in mind not myself, and he suggested instead that Vince and I took part in a course called Christianity Explored.
The course was good and each week I felt like I was just having confirmed what I already knew and believed, but it was as the course ended that I finally realised simply stating a belief in Jesus wasn’t enough, I had to start living for Christ. I realised that Jesus so lovingly died for me, for my sins, and this should not only be influencing my life but directing it and not the other way round as it had been for 24 years.
In the 2 years since then my life has changed in many little ways. Some changes have been more challenging than others, through the holy spirit my conscience is much more heightened and this usually shows at home where films or tv programmes that we used to watch I no longer feel comfortable watching, or even music that we listen too. But it has changed so much for the better too. I have a wonderful church family here that I am so thankful for, I have been able to join a home group who have helped me to learn and grow in the Lord, I am able to pray more confidently and understand its importance in a way I couldn’t before, and I can finally say with confidence that I am a Christian and Jesus is my saviour and king.