Why did I get baptized?
Last Sunday evening, there I was, standing up in front of the church, waiting to share my testimony and get baptized. This wouldn’t be such an unusual circumstance in evangelical circles except that I am on the pastoral staff and have been for many years. Yet there I was, standing next to children and students, most of whom are presently or were previously in my ministry, with a handful of other adults, each waiting for our turn to share.
As I wait, my heart melts with each story these young people share about coming to trust Jesus as their Savior. My motherly pride nearly overwhelms me as I watch these fellow believers step up to the baptism tank. And then it is my turn. I’ve lived a lot of life and my story doesn’t fold neatly into a pocket like many of theirs; but rather, it rolls out like a scroll.
I was blessed to be raised in a home where God, prayer, and church were central to my family. In the faith tradition of my family, infant baptism was viewed similarly to the baby dedications we do at Eagan Hills Church. I was baptized as an infant, and my parents were true to their promise as our family was very active in the church. I attended Sunday school as a child, confirmed as a teenager, sang in the choir, and volunteered in Children’s Ministry. I grew up knowing that my parents, and Jesus, loved me.
When I was 19, I made some difficult choices which had lasting consequences. As a young adult, I found myself far from the church that I loved and floundering in my faith. Through my 20’s I felt lost, alone, unworthy, and ashamed. I wanted so much to return to the faith, to God, to the love of my childhood, yet I didn’t know how. You see, I knew about Noah and Jonah, about Christmas and Easter. I grew up learning many Bible stories, but what I didn’t know was how they fit together. I didn’t know God’s larger story of redemption. I didn’t know that God had made a way for sinners, like me, to return to Him.
In God’s timing, some dear friends invited me to my first women’s Bible study, and I fell in love with God’s Word. As I poured through the Scriptures, God revealed himself to me, and I began to see that I did not need to remain separated from Him or His love. I began to understand that God’s plan for forgiveness through Jesus was in place even before the creation of the world. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave His one and only son[Jesus], and whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Sin separates us from God, but through Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of our sins and live forever with God. All who will call out to the Lord, confess their sins, and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior will be saved.
So that’s why one night, many years ago, when the weight of my sin and the beauty of God’s loving mercy came together, I opened my heart to God, confessing my sins and seeking His forgiveness. The burdens I had carried for years were washed away. I was forgiven and my life has not been the same since. This is truly amazing grace.
In the early church and to this day, baptism is celebrated as an outward expression of an inner working of God. It is clear in the Scriptures that shortly after professing one’s faith in Jesus, believers were baptized by immersion in a river or pool. Jesus was baptized by John, and he commanded his followers to make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Why then, did I wait so long to be baptized?
I’d like to say it was the lack of opportunity. This may have been true for a while, but I’ve been to over a dozen baptism services over the last several years. I reasoned that changing my vocation and working in pastoral ministry must be enough of a public declaration, right? I’m too old to get baptized, and I believed that proverbial ship had sailed. These excuses niggled at me with every baptism celebration I attended.
But it wasn’t until this year that I felt the long-avoided nudge to get baptized, as I pondered and prayed about what I could give up or take on during this Lenten season to show my devotion and worship to God. Out of obedience to Jesus, I was baptized. If it’s good enough for Jesus and he tells me to do it, what was I waiting for?
If anyone reading this is like me and waiting to get baptized, I encourage you to prayerfully consider waiting no longer. It’s never too late to follow Jesus, and share the joy of your salvation with others through baptism.
One final post script to my story is that after I was baptized, I had the honor of baptizing my teenage daughter, Autumn. What a celebration!
About the Author
Pastor of Children's Ministry
Ayrica started on staff at Eagan Hills in January 2005. Her favorite verse is 1 John 3:1. Ayrica’s hope for the children of EHC is that they will grow in their love and knowledge of God and become followers of Jesus. Education: MA in Children and Family Ministry from Bethel Seminary; MBA in Marketing from University of Saint Thomas; BA in Marketing from Iowa State University.