I got a wonderful surprise in the mail not too long ago- these photos! I was baptized this past January on our last Sunday at the most wonderful church we've ever been blessed to be a part of, and it's a true gift to have it documented in pictures. This was technically my second baptism, the first being at the age of eight. So why do it a second time? Because I didn't have a genuine relationship with Christ at the age of eight*, and I certainly didn't understand what the biblical model of baptism meant.

A couple of years after I did start down that path of a real relationship with Jesus, I had a moment of clear conviction that I needed to be baptized again. Annnd, I ignored it... 

For a few reasons: 1) I didn't want to get out of the pew and actually do something in front of people, because that meant stepping out of my comfort zone. 2) I didn't want to publicly admit that I'd been putting it off and living in disobedience to God's Word and to His personal call. 3) I didn't want to look out of place as a 28 year old being baptized when you usually only see eight year-olds {ha!} and new believers doing it. Oh, the reasons we come up with when we try to resist God...

But, consistent as He is, He kept reminding me. And finally, after about six years of feeling Him tug, I did it. And let me tell you, it was more beautiful than I could ever have anticipated. It was our last day at Edgewood before moving from Georgia to New York. Our Pastor, Andy Merritt, turned it into an occasion for what you might call a mini-sermon to tell a little bit about why I was doing it again as well as some of the amazing things God had been doing in our family. {The best part being that he did all the talking! I'm not much of a public speaker.} And to make it even better, I was surrounded by dear, dear friends. The name of Jesus was proclaimed. And, by His grace, His patience, and His strength, I was finally stepping out in obedience to Him. 

And let's face it; being baptized is no where near as scary as I was making it out to be. There was absolutely no reason to allow myself to shy away from doing it for so long. This was my chance to follow Jesus' own example- see Mathew 3:13- out of love and commitment to Him. To identify myself as His own {as awkward and as imperfect as I am}. And it was such a tiny act in comparison to what He subjected Himself to on the cross. And yet, even in this simple act of being baptized, I deserve none of the credit. It was during one of Pastor Andy's sermons that I felt the Holy Spirit give me the courage to pursue it, so this was truly a work of God in every facet. And all the better, because He's the One who shined that day!

And then...relief.

Oh, the joy of a clear conscience before God. As the bible says, baptism is "not the removal of the filth of the flesh" {1 Peter 3: 21b}, for no outward cleansing or work of man can purify us from our sins or reconcile us to God**. But instead, baptism is "the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." {1 Peter 3:21c}. And this "good conscience toward God" is exactly what being baptized a second time as a mature, believing adult gave me. It allowed me to obey His command {Mathew 28:19-20}, to demonstrate my repentance, {as called for in Acts 2:38}, and to follow the biblical model of baptism which Jesus Himself demonstrated in Mathew 3:13.

I'm so, so thankful for His patience with me over the years {in so much more than just this, trust me}. And I hope that I can encourage you if you're a believing adult in the same circumstance. If you think you may need to re-baptized- or even baptized for the first time- go for it! You'll be amazed at how He blesses you.

Praise God for His goodness!

P.S. You can't tell from the photos, but baby Silas got dunked too!

*I don't condemn being baptized at a young age- if you know Jesus and can understand what you're doing, then praise God no matter what age you are!
**For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God... {Ephesians 2:8}

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