This Easter Sunday, I was baptized. I was asked beforehand to write my testimony out, to read in front of my church congregation. I felt like sharing it on here too, since it was jotted out in a writers’ journal I had, when I didn’t know what I could even write for this day. I feel like God really gave me the words. So here, I’m sharing what Christ has done in me.
This is also for the people close to me, who weren’t able to be at the church, or hadn’t heard I was getting baptized, because I never know how to casually bring that up in conversations. Anyway, here we go.
My name is Heidi, and I just turned 16 this month. As many of you might know, I have been a missionary kid for the past 11-12 years of my life. My parents served in Lithuania and Slovakia (both countries in Europe). I grew up in my house hearing Bible stories and seeing my parents preaching and evangelizing most of my life.
My dad had this friend, when we lived in Lithuania two years. He was a pastor of the church we went to. My dad and him were close. I remember he was such a kind man, and used to evangelize to so many Lithuanians. One day, I learned he had passed away at an early age due to a complication in his brain from some kind of illness. I was 4 or 5 at the time, so I didn’t know exactly what the sickness was. But I remembered him passing. It made me sad, but curious. I was aware of peace and hope in the church and in my parents. There was still grief, but also hope. I began asking questions about Heaven, what it meant to accept Christ, and the grace in God forgiving sin. It was sitting on my parents’ knees in an armchair when I was 5, that I accepted Christ as my Savior, since He died on the cross for me, and asked Him to forgive my sins.
You might wonder now, if I was sincere. I have belief that I was, even at that age. I witnessed Christ in my parents, my dad’s friend’s actions, and in the after-effects of my dad’s friend’s passing. I wanted to know more. When you accept Christ, you don’t start out always understanding it all. When I was saved, I was a “baby Christian” as I call it. I was small, and for the next 10 years, still learning. And I’m still learning today and will continue to, I’m sure. Even now, standing up in front of everyone is teaching me something.
The main reason I wasn’t immediately baptized once I was saved, was because of two things: One, my parents wanted me to willingly and sincerely follow in obeying God’s command for baptism. Secondly, I was afraid. It’s that simple. I had a fear of water and drowning, growing up. I was scared I’d inhale water while submerged. That sounds silly, but it’s true. Later on, into middle school years, when I wasn’t scared of being submerged underwater, I considered baptism more seriously. I never knew how to bring it up with anyone, out of fear of awkwardness. Then high school rolled around. I felt like I should’ve been baptized a while ago, at that point. But once again, there was fear. I was scared that I’d do it for attention, or to “get it over with.” (Basically, that I was being insincere.) Finally, a few weeks ago during communion, I felt conviction. I wondered why I was there; why I was wasn’t baptized. I came home, praying and asking God about things. At this time, I’d been facing a giant burden of pure, utter fear. You all know recently my family has returned from the mission field. We still believe we are called back to the states by God with purpose. We still believe we are missionaries wherever we are. We still believe God has a plan for our future.
And yet in my heart, there has been, and often still is, so much fear. Fear that I’m doing things wrong, fear I am a million bad things, fear that I will never know if I’m following God’s will…and fear my testimony will make no sense to any of you.
I know I have a fear problem.
But that means I have a need for peace; a need to be strengthened in faith by the ultimate Peace-Giver. And that’s Christ.
My heart and mind before this baptism were put in a vulnerable place, once I decided to ask if I could be baptized. I was afraid that Satan would take my doubts for whether I was being sincere in getting baptized and twist them further. I was afraid he’d push me to flee everything about my relationship with Christ because of fear.
It’s all that fear of drowning again.
But God spoke to me these past few weeks in a still, peace-giving voice. He told me as I journaled one night that He is bigger than all things and that yes, my heart and mind are vulnerable when putting my faith in Him, and displaying my doubt and fear before you all. But He is not going to leave my vulnerable self to die.
When we put our trust in Him, when our hearts and minds are vulnerable, He will shield us from Satan’s prowling on the vulnerability.
It’s like that little song I used to sing in Sunday school as a little kid.
“They are weak, but He is strong.”
And so, during this moving back to the states, I see how much more I need a reliance on God and His strength, rather than my own. I know, after losing a majority of the things I loved in Europe, while following God’s will for us to leave, I am seeking Him more and more. And I want to keep doing that. I want to confirm before you all that I want to rely on God: the one, solid Savior of my soul.
I’m just really thankful for today, and didn’t have much else to share. I’m excited for what Christ did today, centuries ago on the cross, and I’m excited for what He’s done and will do in my life in the future.
God bless, reader.