So, June 10th 2007 both Eric and I got baptized in front of the entire church in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Watching the community come out and support all the friends and family of Generation get baptized today at the beach made me think of my own three years ago. It seems like yesterday and yet it has been so long. When we got baptized the baptismal in the back of the stage had not yet been built so we had to sit in a tub in front of the stage. I remember that I didn’t think to bring a towel and had to walk off stage soaking wet, dripping all over the place as I walked around the long way to the bathroom and being bummed out when I came out with clean clothes on becuase I realized I had missed hearing Eric’s testimony and the worship song I had requested. One thing I didnt miss seeing however was the hilarious sight of Eric trying to fit in the baptismal and overflowing it right there in the front of the church, Im not sure how he even managed to get his head under. Oh it was beautiful and hilarious at the same time. Eric’s family came out to support us and I remember Kaelob being so confused as to what was going on; he was so young then. He has grown up so much since then.
Even today as we were driving away from the beach he said to me, “Mommy why were all those people in the ocean?” I love that my children are begining to ask questions and challenge me to educate them more and more about Christianity. “Because Kaelob, they were getting baptized.” “Baptized?” “Yes, that is what we do. When people love God they get baptized to show him and everyone how much they love Him.” *a moment of silence* “I love God, mommy.” I smiled. “Maybe one day you can get baptized too.” “I did mommy, I got baptized today. I was in the water too.” My smile grew bigger. “Well, Kaelob…when you get baptized Pastor Shawn or someone like him has to dunk you under water and then you can say you are baptized.” “Well he was in the water with me…I saw him. I was baptized too mommy.” …..another moment of silence. “Okay Kaelob, you were baptized too.”
Anyway, I thought I would share with those of you who didnt know me back then, my testimony that I shared on the day of my Baptism. Enjoy.
**over the years I have given many different speeches for school functions and even participated on the speech and debate team, but no speech has ever had me as nerve wracked as this one. I used to think I was a good speaker, but in this moment I realize I make a much better writer. This is my story, as it is written.**
Everyone has defining moments in their lives where they know without a doubt God was there. It doesn’t matter if you were paying attention or if you even asked for it, but you just know your life was touched by the hand of God. Looking back on it now, I am privileged to say I have had many of these moments; however most of them were unnoticed and unappreciated at the time. This is where I make my change. I stand here before you today, confessing my regrets, sharing my life, and preparing to start over new.
My parents were married young. At 18 neither one of them were prepared to raise two children, much less make the decision that those children were more important than the drugs and alcohol that ran their lives. Thank fully although my grandparents had built their dream retirement home and were perfecting their finally empty nest, they graciously opened their doors to my brother and I. My grandparents gained custody of us, remodeled their home, and sacrificed their quiet retirement and devoted the next 25 years to raising their grandchildren. I had my hard times and my struggles growing up different and never knowing why, but today I can tell you God blessed my life.
When I was in elementary school I began evolving into the typical emotion filled teenage girl, my grandparents having had four boys before me were baffled by the tears and the screaming and the uncontrolled hormones. To help maintain their sanity they decided to send me to a private Christian school. Despite trying to simply fill in the bubbles on the entrance exam the school accepted me. I left my friends and the normalcy of wearing whatever I wanted to school for small classrooms, Morning Prayer and horrible uniforms. A few months into it after hearing all the talk about God and heaven I began to wonder what I was missing. I sat down with my teacher one day and prayed the most important prayer of my life, I became a Christian. Although I felt like I was taking a big step in my life, my teacher neglected to give me any further spiritual guidance and I ended up feeling lost again. But one day I met a wonderful girl with an amazing family who managed to see how lost I was becoming and they guided me in the direction I needed to go…. To church. Every Sunday they would pick me up at the end of my horrendously long driveway and I would hop in their minivan and we would drive the couple blocks to church. Without them, I would have never gone to church and I would not be where I am today without it. I have had my ups and downs spiritually, like most people do but today I can tell you God blessed my life.
When I was in high school I met my husband. At the time he was attending Day Break and brought me to their youth group to hear Shawn speak. This was my first relationship that not only completed me as a person, but I grew spiritually with. It was amazing to not only be attracted to him but to stay up until 3 in the morning talking about God with him. After three months of dating we were engaged. A year later, when he came home from college and one month after I graduated high school we were married. In 2004 despite some serious medical issues we welcomed a healthy baby boy. And not to mention last November we had a beautiful little girl; a healthy 9lb miracle to top off our almost five years of marriage. Our marriage may have come at a time when we were both still growing up and we have had our definite highs and lows, but we have managed to work through them all and I will tell you again, I believe God has truly blessed my life.
I have lived the last 13 years or so ignoring the wonderful things God has done for me. Ignoring where I could be if my parents would have tried to raise me, who I would be if I hadn’t gone to that private school and became a Christian, who I would be with if I hadn’t met my husband. I’ve ignored the miracle of my children and not once throughout either pregnancy, despite the different complications in each did I thank God, or ask God for help. I have spent my life bound and determined to do everything on my own, and when I finally moved back to California I couldn’t help but feel I needed to make a change in my spiritual relationship. I had no idea where to start, but again my friend who had guided me once before came into my life and brought me to church. She told me all about her new church and how many young people were there and how at home I would feel. Little did I know it was also a church Shawn, from our youth group days was pastor of… she doesn’t know it, but every time I needed that shove in the direction of church and spiritual guidance Paige Aufhammer was there. She truly is an amazing person; an amazing woman of God, and I am blessed to know her.
Although I became a Christian in 5th grade God has blessed my life entirely. When I look back, the miracles and guidance and love didn’t suddenly come pouring down the moment I prayed that prayer, they were there and always have been. I have never done drugs, Never been drunk, I take care of my kids and I love my husband. I have been through a lot and seen many things, but I have managed to move forward throughout it all. As I have matured I have added labels to my life. I am a sister, a friend, a wife and a mother. Now I am standing before you to say, my days of ignoring God’s amazing grace are over. Being labeled as a mother and wife is not enough for me anymore; I want everyone to say I am a Christian mother and Christian wife. God has been there for me in every way and I am making this commitment today to make ‘CHRISTIAN’ be an outstanding label to every aspect of my life.