After The 'Yes'
I was tidying up one of my cupboards earlier and came across some old photos. A couple of them were my water baptism photos from 2010. It’s crazy to think that it’s been roughly seven years since this event and eight years since I first said ‘yes’ and became a Christian. I won’t go into my testimony as I have already blogged about it. Instead I want to talk about ‘after the yes.’ I want to tell how my story has unfolded and maybe encourage others who either are at a crossroads or make assumptions about Christian faith to understand that despite differences in everyone’s story, positive and unwavering faith and positive obedience is important.
If you’ve ever heard anyone’s faith testimony, 99% talk about the moment they said yes. They can pinpoint the moment, who they were with, the name of the Pastor to the dot. Mine was during a 9am service at Calvary when Kieran Wallis was preaching. I was sitting on my own with Tayla in the pram next to me. For about six months leading to that morning, I would secretly go to church because I worried that people would think I was weird or brainwashed. But something deep inside knew I could get answers here and I could feel safe. He preached about finding peace and comfort through God and the verse Psalm 91:4 stuck with me (even to this day.) I remember putting my hand up and for that moment feeling like the weight of my insecurities and worries melted from my shoulders. I experienced God in that moment. I was prayed over and felt great for the rest of the day.
I would love to tell you this absolutely rosy story about how suddenly life became ‘perfect’ and I just miraculously morphed into a completely different person (because let’s face it, that’s what some ignorant people assume.) On the rare occasion, maybe. But for myself, it’s so far been a long journey which I am pretty sure even God looks down from the heavens and face palms (thankfully He loves me and continuously forgives my stupidity!). After I said ‘yes’ I regularly went every Sunday for the next six months (still snuck to Church – I was a little embarrassed to admit I had chosen to become ‘one of those people.’) I begun to get ‘bullied’ and made to feel ‘embarrassed’ from my partner at the time for going to church so I stopped going altogether for about three months. Twelve months after initially saying yes, I made the decision to be water baptized.
I’m going to be honest here. I was disappointed. I knew so many people who talked about how ‘amazing’ their baptism felt and how they experienced a great miracle and feeling of healing after they came out of the water. Truthfully I felt nothing. No miracle…. No healing…. No tears…. Nothing. I genuinely thought maybe the Christian gig wasn’t for me, so I stopped going not long after my baptism because I didn’t believe I was gaining benefit. Why do I talk about this? Because I think it’s unfair to see so many walk away from their faith because their miracle didn’t come in the water instantly. Rather they fail to realise (like I did) that an accumulation of tiny miracles over a long period of time lead to something bigger.
When I do look at the bigger picture however, my decision to say ‘yes’ has changed me so much for the better. I have people comment ALL THE TIME that I am a different person and am totally cool with admitting my faith bought me here. People can say all they want that other factors bought me to where I am now, but I am certain my initial decision set the wheels in motion all those years ago. But it hasn’t been without its moments where I became unstuck, made stupid decisions, gone through various victories, felt ready to quit….. all the small moments that came after the day I said yes. An even in saying this, I know there’s still a long way to go and many tiny changes to work though.
So in saying this, here are four keys of encouragement to consider after saying ‘yes.’
1. Saying yes starts from the prayer, but TRULY starts when you walk out the church door after the lights have dimmed, the songs have stopped and the bells and whistles are put away.
2. Although saying yes creates a new chapter in your own journey, support is important. Let the right people guide and support you. Deep down, you know EXACTLY who they are.
3. Saying yes is a life-long commitment to change. Maturity is constantly evolving and working with what’s around you…. immaturity is walking away when it’s not going your way (trust me on this one.)
4. Not everyone’s experience is the same. Your yes moment is your moment…. Never allow anyone to downgrade it or make you believe you have done things wrong. Be patient and open-minded to the journey ahead and you will be blessed with so many tiny miracles along the way.