Wow! Buckle up everyone, because I’m about to take you far back for this one, all the way back to when I was a baby. When I was a few months old, my parents had me baptized in the Catholic Church. It was such an amazing start to my relationship with God, even though I did not know what was happening (because I was a baby). I was given the privilege to attend Catholic school from kindergarten to my senior year of high school. It was such a beautiful foundation for my faith journey.
As I grew up going to mass once a week at school and then on Sundays, I learned a lot about my religion. I learned about the sacraments, the traditions, and the reason behind it all. Senior year of high school, my eyes were really opened to how incredible our God really is. Up until then, I had really been coasting through religion. When I stepped onto campus as an 18-year-old, I still had a strong yearning to know God more. So, I joined a Greek bible study at the campus ministry and had an open mind.
I went to a Christian campus ministry and learned so much about faith during my first semester. I learned about the differences between Catholics and other religions in the Christian faith and how to grow in a personal relationship with God. It was so eye opening, and every week I looked forward to going to group to grow with these girls in fellowship and my relationship with the Lord.
Fast forward to spring semester freshman year, I hopped on a bus full of 100 people headed to Florida only knowing 4 people on this trip. I went with the ministry to the beach for spring break and I have never had more of a life changing experience than that week while staying at a church on the beach. I had never experienced a non-Catholic church service before that week, and I had never been to a worship service before. I was so moved by the worship; people were singing to worship songs I’d never heard with hands outstretched to the heavens just praising God. The first night of worship, I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit and sat on the floor and sobbed while singing along to songs I had never heard before. I watched my first non-Catholic baptism that week as I saw people giving their lives to God as they were dunked in the ocean.
As I returned back to campus the following week, I was completely engulfed by the Spirit. I spent every Thursday night worshipping and listening to sermons at the ministry surrounded by other college kids who ached for the Lord. I went to church every weekend and cried every time I watched someone get baptized, it was something I so longed for but was afraid to do. Growing up in a fully Catholic family, you tend to not want to be the one to stray away from tradition, but God was tugging on my heart to take a different path to Him.
In February 2020 (almost a year since I watched my first baptism), I was at my home church watching a baptism (again bawling) and that sermon was just what I needed to push me to take my next step. As the service closed, our pastor asked us to reflect on our next steps in our relationships with God and saying I could not contain my emotions would be an understatement. I cried for at least 20 minutes not being able to stop as much as I tried, so I talked with a woman who worked at the church and told her about my predicament of wanting to be baptized but not wanting to go against what my family believed. After talking with her, I talked to my mom and decided I needed to get baptized in a Christian church. Of course, my parents were completely all for the idea, they didn’t care how I grew closer to God just as long as I was growing towards Him.
I was planning on getting baptized on Easter, but of course COVID hit and foiled that plan. After weeks of waiting to make sure it would be safe to do it, I got it scheduled. And on June 12th, 2020 I was baptized. It wasn’t in front of a big crowd, it wasn’t the way I had imagined it for the past year, but it didn’t need to be. I realized I didn’t need a church full of people to be baptized, I needed to be present with God and that was it. I felt insurmountable peace leading up to my baptism day, I could just feel how God was working in my life. I was infatuated with the feeling and loved every second of it, and I still do.
I was nervous about getting baptized, I was scared what my family would think and what people around me would think but I know that we are not put on this Earth to judge each other, therefore judgement should not bother me. But, was I wrong about others, I have never felt more loved and honored that people would be so excited for me and the steps I am taking with God. I was nervous about uploading this blog post, because I was afraid people wouldn’t want to read my work anymore because I talk about religion. Religion is one of those touchy subjects like politics that we have grown up being told to keep hush hush. But, I think now is the time to shout our praise to the heavens. We should be sharing our testimonies and having open conversations about our God and how great He really is. Let’s flip the script on society, let’s flip the script on the norms, let’s be the change and help others see God.
So, to the girl who got baptized, go you!! Literally it is such an important step in growing in your faith. Let me say I am proud of you and so happy to call you my sister in Christ. And if you haven’t gotten baptized or are thinking about it, talk to someone about it, tell them because they want to know! You have so many people in your corner fighting for you. Or if you have strayed away or have never had faith in your life, ask people about it. See how awesome God is, but take your time, there is no rush because we have eternity with Him. Just know that no matter where you are in life, God will always meet you right there no matter where you may be.