I come from a very mixed background of religion in my family. My father’s side is heavily atheist, my mother is a believer but doesn’t go to church, and my grandparents, aunt, and cousins on her side are devoted to Jesus and go to church every week. I grew up knowing the name of Jesus Christ. I did not know the difference between knowing Christ in my heart and having a relationship with him, versus just praying to ask God for things I wanted.
As a kid, I thought the world revolved around me, so any shred of knowing Jesus was the idea that he needed to make everything go my way and that he died for us. I never thought about what he did for us, I did not understand it, so I did not pay attention to it.
In middle school, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This was not a big deal but I had to start taking pills for it. Unfortunately, the pills regulated my pituitary gland, and my body started to grow like crazy. My spine was condensed in my body because it was growing so much faster than the rest of me could. I found out I would need a major back surgery, a spinal fusion. This caused me to lose a lot of hope in the false ideas I had of Christ.
I went in for the surgery and recovered for three months on bed rest. I started to work out as my doctors said was fine to do, and my spinal fusion had partially collapsed. I had to go in for another surgery to repair it. I was out for another three months. This was the breaking point in which I made a decision not to follow Christ. I remember sitting down with my grandmother and grandpa and explaining I felt he was not there for me. My grandfather was clearly disappointed but my grandmother understanding.
I lived my years thinking religion was a waste of time until I met Nick. Nick is my wonderful fiancé. He prayed for me and asked God to tell me to give Christianity another shot. One day I told Nick that for some reason, I felt that I needed to get to know God. He was really happy. Nick and I went to a few churches and religion classes. I started to understand who Jesus was.
I understand now that Jesus isn’t here to serve me, I am here to serve and glorify him. It was hard for me to let go of that control in my life, to let Jesus protect me and save me from my sins. I felt close to God, but I still wasn’t 100 percent happy until coming to Grace. I found people who are genuinely nice. I wanted to be a part of that community. I saw people devoted to Jesus, and I wanted that.
I told God I surrender my life to him. I gave him my worries, my love, my laughter, my life. God has been walking beside me my whole life, I just didn’t know it. Now that I am not blind to it anymore, I can fully appreciate his love and I see that he sent his only Son to die on the cross for our sins. I know that is not something we can ever repay to God, but we can respond by living a full life to glorify him.
I would love to be baptized not only to proclaim my love for Jesus to the world, but to give myself a moment to remember for the rest of my life to symbolize why Jesus is and will always be worthy.
— Karyn Ard, Baptized April 2019
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