I grew up going to church and having God in my life – I knew Him and trusted Him, but he was God after all, so I can’t say that I had a relationship with Him. I lived my life believing that Jesus Christ died for my sins, but I don’t know that I really knew what that meant.

When I was a teenager I used to “joke” with my friends that I had a “hole in my moral core.” I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew that there was something missing in my life, and that was the best way that I could describe it at that age.

I know now that what was missing for me was a real and personal relationship with God – not one that was dictated by the Church, but the private, humble, open connection that is possible to have with Jesus Christ.

My real journey to that relationship and connection with God didn’t start until my late 20s when my husband suggested that we start going to church. It was a slow and emotional journey for me. But we started going to church, and I was still very much in the mindset that the hour I spent on Sunday listening to a sermon was good enough.

It wasn’t until about 10 years ago when a wonderful group of women from Grace welcomed me into their small group that I gradually began to see that God was there for me and just waiting for me to truly talk to Him. He wanted to be a part of my life.

That foundation grew as I suffered the loss of both my parents and several personal setbacks. I realized that I did not have the strength to continue on on my own power. Because I had developed a relationship with God I was able to turn to Him, trust Him and rely on His strength. I never fell apart, even in my darkest hour, because God. His love and grace were the threads that held me together.

Today I talk to Jesus on a daily basis. I praise Him for all the loving grace He has shown me. I praise Him for the blessings that He gives – even when they aren’t clear. I share my grief and pain with Him. I turn to Him before I make a decision. I trust Him. I also find that in having this relationship with God so many things are easier for me. He is my rock and my strength.

I am choosing to get baptized and publicly proclaim Jesus as my Lord and Savior at this time because I no longer have a “hole” in ┬ámy core. He has filled me with His Holy Spirit and He has always accepted me, and it is my turn to show Him and the world that I accept Him.

— Mary Anderson, Baptized September 2018
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