Baptism Weekend is here! Join us at all worship gatherings to watch individuals get #dunked.

Kim will be baptized during the 11:15 gathering on Sunday, check out her story:

I was born into the church.  My father was a minister, and I grew up knowing that Jesus had died for my sins.  As long as I can remember, I saw Jesus as the One who spared me from hell.  I was terrified of the possibility of going to hell and “got saved” nearly every time there was an altar call at church, which was pretty much every week.

While on the outside we appeared to be “that” family- the one everyone wanted to belong to, what went on behind closed doors in our home was insidious.  By the time I was 15, I was essentially on my own.  In those years of turmoil, I took what I knew of human relationships and tried to make sense of God.  I worked hard to “be godly,” read my Bible, attended church, prayed… but so often it felt empty to me.  There was a burning ache in my chest that was so constant it almost felt comforting.  Afraid of losing my ticket out of hell, I could not walk away from God, but I just wasn’t sure that God had not walked away from me.

When I was a senior in college, I came to the end of myself.  I felt completely alone, self- destructive, and hopeless.  I heard a message about Jesus and His death. Nothing new to me, but it was my time.  The Holy Spirit touched my heart, and I believe I repented for my sins and made salvation my own.  It was then that I began to passionately pursue righteousness.  Tenaciously, I studied and memorized the Scriptures; striving to be enough in God’s eyes.  I poured my heart and time into ministry and worked to gain significance to the God who had spared me from hell.  My faith was unwavering.  

As I became a mature adult, I pursued loving Jesus with all my heart.  I believed in a God who IS able and saw His hand work literal miracles.  I heard His voice.  I followed His calling.  In truth, my life was full of Jesus, but that ache in my soul remained.  I didn’t understand it, but I was ever conscious of it.  Artfully, I hid it, sought to soothe it, but it was ever present.

In 2015, God called me into one of the most difficult journeys I have faced.  He asked me to turn around, look back at my childhood, and face the painful events that shaped me.  In this, He lovingly revealed to me the fallacies in the lessons I had learned at the hands of my parents.  Lies about myself; lies about Him.  

I began to realize that I viewed my relationship with God through the lenses life lessons had handed me.  Lenses that taught me I was unwanted, unlovable, and expendable.  At the core of my being, I believed God loved most, but not all.  For me, I fit the “not all.”  Even though I knew the Scriptures and could refute these lies, my soul believed I was granted salvation out of obligation not love.  

When this was revealed to me, the ache became unbearable.  I had this image from one of the many renditions of Peter Pan.  Pan, as a youth, goes back to find his parents.  When he arrives at his home and eagerly peers through the front window, he sees his parents….but not as he had hoped.  They are smiling down at their newborn son; no longer mourning for the child they lost.  I wept.  I knew exactly how that felt. The pain of expendability tore at my heart.  I realized that is how I viewed myself and how I believed God viewed me.  

A few months ago, I shared this with one my sisters in Christ.  She began to tremble. She told me the Holy Spirit was speaking.  She said Jesus wanted me to know He was right there on the outside of that home, peering into that ‘window of belonging’ with me.  That day, John 1:11 was burned into my soul.  “He came to his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he the right to be children of God, to those that believe on his name.”  

That’s why I am stepping forward in believer’s baptism.  Because I now believe with all that I am, that I am loved and wanted, and that I belong.  I belong to a greater family than can be found on this broken, cursed earth we call home.  To that family, I am not expendable.  I am accepted as a daughter, a princess, a sister, a friend.  The ache in my heart is gone.  I am unshackled from the shame, the lies…I have chosen to reject the lenses.  I am free.  I belong.

Baptism at Grace

During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!

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