I was rebaptized today.
I hate to be dramatic, and using the word "death" all the time just seems dramatic, but in the moments just prior to being baptized I was praying harder than ever before in my life that God would give me strength to die.
I don't want to spend another day chasing things, moments, fears that keep me from the life that being completely dead offers.
I confess with resignation that I went down in tears. I was mess enough already without the added bonus of being dunked under water. But I could only cry more as I was reminded of the words "I have baptized you in tears."
But just prior to the baptism, we had been singing "I surrender all" and I was caught by the last verse:
"All to Jesus I surrender. Now I feel the sacred flame. Oh, the joy of full salvation - Glory Glory to His name"
I don't know why it struck me, but just moments after I came up from the water, I expected to still feel broken and pleading, but instead I had those words running through my head "Oh the joy of full salvation." "Oh the joy of full salvation." "Oh the joy of full salvation."
Something had changed. And while the art of getting wet doesn't change anything, the fact that I obeyed the simple command of "do it" is good. Though I confess, I was fortunate to have a pastor who agreed to do it, then picked the date, then ordered me into the room. To say I was reluctant.. is... putting it mildly. I'm certainly glad to have it done.
I'm also certainly glad that, while someone did have to push me through the steps, I was obedient.. enough.
But, I found some joy today. Joy in my salvation and I really think God tried to make sure I knew it was coming. I've spent the last couple of years either crying, hurting, or otherwise very somber. There have been wonderful, amazing times as well, but if I had to choose the predominant emotion of the last two years it would be hurt.
And I wonder, vaguely, if that isn't why I've been at the church I've been at. I once described it, as a hospital because it seems to attract the hurting and broken, it attracts those struggling with sins that addictively twist peoples lives into oblivion. The list includes several seemingly perfect people who, much like myself, looked hurt and bitterness in the eyes and then bent down under the weight.
Perhaps that's why I am now permitted to leave.
I no longer need a hospital.
Though, speaking of hospitals. My sunday school class and I are praying for Dr Pate, who is missing half a finger, that his finger will be made whole. If you could join us in this heartfelt prayer, I'd appreciate it. I'd love to silence the snickering of 5 kids imagining praying for his finger to grow.