Friday, September 2, 2011

Washed Away

ATTENTION:  This is NOT a picture of an attempted drowning.  This is me (the one holding her nose) at the split second before I was laid under the cool lake water for my baptism last Sunday.  Many of you that know me, or at least know my story, know that I prayed the sinners prayer when I was 12 years old in a little church in Kingwood, WV.  It was equal parts of being crazy in love with Jesus and being scared to death after our youth group watched "A Thief in the Night".  If you attended a Christian church in the 70's or 80's you know what I'm talking about! ;0)  It was several years after that (at age 18) I was baptized (full immersion, of was, after all, in a Southern Baptist church) in Lubbock, TX.  In years that followed I was "sprinkled" countless times through what I refer to simply as "The Catholic Years" at various services and celebrations, so why the need to be baptized now, just a few weeks shy of my 45th birthday? (by the way, if a woman will tell you her age, she will tell you anything ;)

This was my second "full dip".  I know that "double dipping" chips into condiments and sauces is considered bad form at parties and picnics, but I'm not so sure that applies to baptisms.  There are some who believe getting baptized, whether it was your choice or not (in the case of infant baptism) is one of those things that once done can be checked of the ol' bucket list for good.  I'm not going to get into all of the theology of why I don't believe in infant baptism (I DO however believe in infant dedication where the baby's parents present the child to the congregation and take an oath to bring that child up in the way of the Lord) and I'm not going to try to refute those who say if you got baptized at any time after you accepted Christ, then you're done.  You see, there is so much grey area here, and I think it is fair to say that God deals with each person's heart in a very unique, individualistic way.  I know for me that a) I was saved at 12 years old, b) I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit at 18, but that was not the end of the story.  Actually, that is precisely when things began to get a little dicey and, shortly after that, they just went screaming downhill at warp speed, completely out of control.  Over the next 20+ years (you're welcome to do the math ;) I was lost in every way a human can be lost.  Oh, I went to different churches, bible studies, TV evangelists, sought out pastoral counseling, being "spiritual" instead of being "religious" and tried to be a "good person" fairly regularly (although there were some serious dry years during that time) and while there were several times over the years when I thought "I'm really gonna do this.  I'm really going to seek Him.  I'm really going to give Him control over it all this time", I never really followed through.  I couldn't pull it together.  I wasn't strong enough.  I thought it was all up to me and I proved to myself on a daily basis that I was not up for the job.  I was a failure.

At least that's what the father of lies wanted me to keep believing.

Thankfully, just about four years ago (on my birthday) my daughter and I were in a potentially fatal car accident.  Yes, I said "thankfully".  Sometimes it takes a Dodge Durango landing in your lap for that "Jesus Take the Wheel" song to make perfect sense.  I've reached a HNL (Hole Nutha' Level) in my walk with Christ.  Don't get me wrong, these four years haven't been pretty, in fact they have been the hardest four years of my life in too many ways to count, but I can honestly say that if I had to do them all over again-cry the river of tears, be ostracized, betrayed, abused, lied to and lied about, as well as loosing everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING (think Job)-I would do it to get to this place...this place of knowing His peace, His unconditional love, grace, and mercy.  To not be afraid of everything and anything.  To know true freedom.  To feel richer now than when I had much, much more possessions, health, friends, fame, family...

Now THAT is a reason to celebrate.

THAT is a reason to declare victory.  THAT is why I walked into that cold water last Sunday and felt sheer joy oozing from every pore.  I'm so glad I didn't get caught up in what people might have thought about me.  It was a me-and-my-God moment and it was glorious.  You see, my second baptism was everything the first was not-it was a symbol of the work God and I have put in...a symbol of the two of us in the yoke.  I finally let his blood wash away my sins just like in that old hymn I sang when I was 12 (see Nothing But The Blood of Jesus video here).  I finally forgave myself for my past.  I stopped thinking there was something I could do to "earn" God's love.  I finally stopped trying to perform for everyone except for my Audience of One.

"We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection." Romans 6:4-5


  1. that is so beautiful. you dont even know how happy i am for you. it truly brought tears to my eyes.God has made you so special.
    love always


Here is a wonderful blog post written by my brother in Christ of 20 years, Robert Mauti. We are also both figure skaters and have coached...