Sharon was baptized this morning! Check out her story below:
My name is Sharon Szostak. I have 3 children and the four of us started going to Grace 15 years ago.
Growing up, my parents took me to church where I learned about Jesus. I was baptized as an infant and later confirmed. I had a feeling that God was a loving creator and believing in him could spare me from Hell. It took me some time to see that my sin was keeping me from knowing God and actually having a personal, abundant relationship with Jesus who died for me.
From the moment I remember, God was in my life. I don’t remember being alone or without him. What has changed is how my relationship to him has evolved. While my earlier faith was probably built on rules, fear and my own unworthiness, as I aged and matured my relationship with him has grown to be based on his love, grace and mercy for me. While I still struggle with worthiness, I am comforted by knowing that my salvation is purely based on the gift of his death and resurrection, not what I’ve done to earn it.
My life took a turn when I suddenly became a single mother at 37 with kids ages of 1, 3, and 7. My joy in life was being mom to my beautiful kids and having a good job and home to raise them in. I thought I had an abundant life because I earned enough to take care of us and we were all happy and healthy. There were certainly struggles, and God was there. He sent friends and family to help when we needed it but, many times it felt like I was alone. Although whenever someone would offer a compliment on what a great job I was doing, I was quick to give God the glory and say I couldn’t do this without God in my life. I was strong and independent, but had enough conviction to know it was God taking care of us. Still, I wasn’t acknowledging that I was limiting myself from living a truly abundant life with Christ and fellow believers. Maybe I didn’t know how. I had one foot in the old life and one foot in the life I was seeking.
Although I was going to church and had accepted Christ as my Savior, I did not know what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus. He started to stir my heart. I joined a women’s small group where I grew deeper in faith and saw how God was pursuing me. I just wasn’t responding like I knew I should.
But then, there was a turning point when I was reading more of his Word, I found that my circle of friends changed, my old ways were not my desire. He was filling me with HIS desires and I wanted more joy of the Holy Spirit.
I began to get involved with fellow believers who were seeking to know God just like me. I joined an amazing small group where I grew deeper in faith and saw how God was pursuing me.
In the past year I experienced great loss and then unimaginable pain within my family. I should have been falling apart every day and instead God covered me with calm and peace and he showed his love through others who surrounded me and continue to do so. After these events it’s made me see how important my relationship with Christ is. I am absolutely sure of his love for me.
I am being baptized today because unlike my infant baptism, I am the one choosing to obey God. I’ve been forgiven of my sin, I’ve given my life to Jesus. The old me is gone. The Holy Spirit lives in me and I want to share with everyone that he will do it for you too.