Natalie Jobity candidly shares an obstacle so many of us experience: “Surrendering completely to God’s will has been tough for a control freak like me.” But God is good and this weekend she comes to the water to be baptized! Praise the Lord and get ready for Mission Weekend 10/29&30!
“I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic schools through high school but not to church very regularly. I had mixed feelings about what I learned about who God was ….I didn’t resonate with the harsh punishing God that I was taught. In high school I remember accepting Jesus as my Savior after reading Christian tracts about it but I did it from a place of fear. In college and shortly after, I didn’t follow any religion…I explored different churches but I was neutral on the whole thing. In early adulthood, I was curious about Buddhism and read several books and became open to alternative teachings. I did yoga. I guess I was really searching for a truth that resonated for me.
Over the years I got arrogant, and believed that organized religion was for the weak who needed to be told how to be good. I felt I was “good.” I did all the right things, lived by the golden rule and thought sin was a dirty word that didn’t apply to me because I never did those bad things. I see now that that lie was the one that truly drove me further and further apart from God. As I achieved more success in my professional life my ego grew bigger. I really believed I was in control of my life. I believed in God, but I think I forgot about Jesus along the way. I would pray but mostly for God to give me the things I needed. There is a defining moment that I understand only in hindsight. In 2009 I wrote a book and I included a quote in the front pages that had the word “God” in it, and I took it out. I felt guilty doing that but I rationalized that I didn’t want to offend anyone. That to me was a spiritual bottom.
Fast forward a few years and my life has just fallen apart. I’m estranged from my sister, my relationships with men just never flourished into true partnerships, my business is floundering and I don’t know how to fix it, I started having all these health issues, and I am suffering from severe depression that pretty much stopped me in my tracks. By the end of 2013 I was so lost , I felt like Job, stripped of all the things I held dear and completely at rock bottom, unable to work, getting no answers about my illnesses and feeling estranged from my family overseas and the few friends still left in my life This is when I started desperately seeking God in my life. I started reading Scripture and for the first time really starting to understand the good news of the New Testament. I would read my bible even night, do devotionals to understand more, listen to sermons on TV and I started going to church every Sunday. I was trying to be filled to the brim. I discovered a women’s support group , Emotions Anonymous, that helped me start to dig into my emotional issues and the trauma I endured as a child, that still impacted me in adulthood. And I prayed really fervently. It was during this period that I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior again, but this time for the right reasons.
But it has been a slow transformation of my heart to reflect more and more the Spirit of God. Surrendering completely to God’s will has been tough for a control freak like me. There were so many emotional, mental layers that blocked me from fully receiving his love. And there was ignorance…I simply did not know enough Word in the beginning. I attended the church for 2 years but I was just not getting connected to the community of believers there. My friend Larry helped me keep going. And my bible study partner Chimene also encouraged me during the worst times. But other than those two I did not have any other true Christian connections.
I used to have a business where how I looked on the outside was of paramount importance to me….I cared about my insides, but I cared more about how I came across to others. I was the perfect walking billboard for my business except I was empty inside. Now I am filled with the Holy Spirit and I am able to see the fruit of the Spirit manifest more in my life and to see the evidence of how God continues to shape my character to reflect the woman he created me to be. I am much more patient, I’ve been humbled beyond recognition, I’m kinder and more considerate, I’m less self righteous and judgmental, more forgiving and accepting, and more loving all around. The Holy Spirit keeps showing me examples of how I have changed on the inside.
My circumstances are still challenging…I have ongoing health issues and I now understand that my right brain is overactive which has been at the root of many of the mental issues I’ve endured these past few years. I am in the midst of finding the right therapies to treat this condition. I have not been able to work consistently in 3 years. But here is the grace of God in my life….I know things could be so much worse, but God keeps providing support, miracles and grace time and time again. I still own my house and I get by. Everyday I see evidence of how he has used my circumstances to make me more useful to him. He has changed my heart and understanding about people in ways that humble me. He has changed the things I thought I desired, and he keeps directing me back to his word and the truth. I can discern now the lies I had been living by most of my life. And God’s word comes to mind when I struggle with what to do. I know without question that my life is not worth one iota if Jesus is not in it. I know I would not be alive today, but for the faithful love of God blessing me when I didn’t deserve it. I know that the earth angels he has placed in my life like my friend Vicky, who has been beyond supportive these past 3 years, and my friend Julie who has walked side by side during these trials, and Larry who has always been a supportive presence…..the bills that somehow I’ve been able to pay….the support in the women I commune with every week….the really compassionate doctors who are now part of my team.…he has given me not what I wanted, but what I needed. My God is amazing and he loves me more than I understand. I do believe his mercies renew every morning. I want nothing more than to walk in the center of his will and fulfill his designated purpose for my life.
I believe that Jesus gave his life for me. Because of his sacrifice I’m righteous before God. It has nothing to do with how good I think I am and everything to do with his love for me. I am a sinner, and that does not make me bad, just human. I need Jesus in my life and I want to dedicate my life to him. I am ready to be baptized and publicly acknowledge that!”
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!