I was raised in a Christian household and never had reason to doubt the Lord that I learned about at home and in Sunday school. My parents dedicated me to the Lord as a baby, and from an early age, I relied on God and found comfort in him and his Word.

As I grew, so did my relationship with the Lord my God. I read the Bible regularly and had multiple journals and devotionals. My faith started to get tested at around age eight, when some family problems began. I was mentally mature enough to understand everything around me, but not enough to understand why or how to deal with some feelings I was having.

Life went on, and I still took refuge in the Lord and had complete faith that he would “fix” our problems. I visited Grace Community Church in 4th grade and have called it my church ever since. I was very blessed to be able to connect with my small group leader so much. She was there for me every week and was the first person outside my immediate family that I opened up to. I had her phone number and would talk to her regularly, along with visiting her at the restaurant where she worked. She followed me and the rest of my class up until middle school.

Middle school started, and life didn’t change until eighth grade. My parents got divorced, but it was expected. I knew it was going to happen eventually and viewed it as something I just had to ignore and get over. I slowly started to drift away from God. I never denied him, and I still went to church, but I stopped putting in the effort in my relationship with him.

As soon as high school started, I broke. I couldn’t deal with anything I was feeling and I felt stuck between being two drastically different people. I desperately needed God’s help, yet I continued to avoid him, friends, and family. This led to me becoming practically numb.

My situation felt unfair, yet I was still expected to hold myself together. The year came to an end and I sensed an opportunity to become a different person.

Things were going well for me – better grades, fun new opportunities within taekwondo, and I generally felt happier. I knew that I wasn’t going to get anywhere if I didn’t start putting in the effort in my relationship with Jesus. My faith in the Lord surprisingly didn’t die, and honestly I believe it grew stronger. Still there were some feelings I couldn’t open up about. That is, until the spring retreat. I wasn’t planning on sharing anything, but once I got there, I felt such a safe environment.

All of a sudden, being baptized was the only thing on my mind, and I talked it over with my family as soon as I got back home. Baptism is something I’ve always been excited to participate in, but I had never felt ready. I didn’t realize that I would feel so compelled to do so once I was ready. I’m so excited to get baptized, and to grow as a Christian. I know God has so much in store for me 🙂

— Marie Sandoval, Baptized April 2019

If you’re interested in being baptized at Grace, click here to learn more and to sign up to attend our next Baptism Workshop.

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