We’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Angela Larrabee. Angela is taking the step to publicly declare her faith in Jesus Christ through baptism this weekend. Be sure to join us, watch her (and others) get #dunked, and celebrate God’s marvelous work in the lives of many!
Growing up, my family went to church every Sunday, and I was very involved in the youth group and followed the “rules.” My father went to church with us, but oftentimes he and my mother had many arguments in the morning and we would all sit in church upset with each other. My parents loved each other and loved us, but there was always friction on our home – either between my mom and dad or with my sister and them. I seemed to fill the role of a peacemaker in the home.
But during my senior year of high school I made a choice my parents did not agree with, and they asked me to leave. So I did. I moved out and still had to finish high school. I was 18, so I was able to get an apartment, but I was on my own and had to figure it out all by myself. At this point in time, I had a good foundation of who God was and had accepted Him into my life, but I didn’t fully understand what that meant.
The next few years of my life were pretty foggy. It was almost like I was going through the motions of being an adult, not really knowing what I was supposed to be doing, but I was doing it. As I look back on it, it was almost as if my life was being controlled like a puppet. I was in control but not really. Thankfully, I did not get into much trouble other than going through many roommates.
I had dated my husband since my junior year in high school. We continued to stay together, but (living by the rules) I refused to live with him. So, we lived in separate apartments with different roommates. We ended up going to the same college and then got engaged in our last year of school. We got married and moved to Ohio.
After being married for five years we decided to have children. From moving out of my house when I was a kid to this time (7-8 years later) I don’t ever remember stepping back into a church. It’s not that I forgot God – it was that I was so busy trying to make life happen. I still could not figure out how to fit the routine back into my life…until I had kids.
I remember being three-months pregnant when I started going back to a church in Ohio. I went after work on many Sunday nights. I had always liked going to church, but it was then when I felt a large tug on my heart.
Very shortly after I started going back to church, my mom got sick and passed away very quickly. It was almost like déjà vu…I had entered into my adulthood in the dark, and now I was entering into motherhood without my mother. My motherly instincts kicked in, but I still spent many nights working out my mental challenges with God.
I never left the church once I had children, but we moved from state to state for a while as my husband and I were very much career people as well. We both had very successful careers. Working from one promotion to the next, I became a Vice President and he was a Director. And somehow we still kept the family intact. We both knew that our family always came first. We seemed to always make time for each other and for the kids. As the kids grew up, we would attend church on Sunday and then go back to our busy life during the week. This was just how I did it as a kid – but I always felt there had to be more.
As time went on and I climbed the corporate ladder, I would find myself in situations that I just did not agree with, and I became a very angry person who on the surface was living a pretty good life but emotionally was a wreck. I wanted to live for Christ but I didn’t want to rock the boat. Then I woke up one day and it was all gone. My job, my career of 20 years, and I was shattered. This was who I was.
This day my relationship with Christ changed.
I’ve never needed someone or something so badly. I was not mad at God for this, but I knew at this moment He was trying to change something in me and in my life. This was almost three years ago. I hit rock bottom emotionally, but that’s when I truly turned to God as my rock.
Prior to this, God put an angel in my path to make sure when this day happened that I would have someone there guiding my Christian walk and it was going to be very different from how I was brought up. I was going to learn the LOVE that GOD wanted me to see, how to truly walk in His light and to learn to trust and depend on Him. This angel’s name is Mellisa Kenyon. We met on a baseball field five years ago when our daughters played softball together. God knew just how to get me connected with her. I remember early on we would have lunch and talk about Jesus for hours. I remember I shared with her one of my biggest fears of meeting strangers and offering my help, and of course afterwards we walked into the parking lot and there were two people stranded. I remember looking up and saying “OK… here we go.”
Mellisa is a great friend and she loves Jesus. From the day I met her I saw the love she had in her heart and I wanted that. The more time I spent with her, the more my heart started to change. It was like a date night with Jesus every week. From Christian concerts, women of faith events, women’s retreats and church, I was able to grow alongside of her. I truly started to have a real relationship with God and learned to rely and trust Him.
Two years ago my husband left his job due to stress, and we took a leap of faith to open our own business. I would’ve never been able to make it through this journey if God hadn’t given me the faith to let Him take control. He has given me peace in the insecurities of owning your own business and has given me a career where I can love the Lord and live my life for Him. There are many times the road has gotten bumpy, but living a life in Christ and through Christ makes that road feel a lot easier because you are no longer in the driver seat – God is!
I am far from a perfect Christian – I am learning to LISTEN more and more for God’s words to direct me the way He wants me to go. I love Jesus, and His miracles make me want to share His love with everyone every day.
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!