One of the more beautiful things you will ever witness in life is watching someone be baptized. It is such an emotionally uplifting experience. To this day I can't watch a baptism without crying. It is a powerful moment that means so much. During the message this past weekend from our pastor at Central Christian, Judd Wilhite, he discussed the meaning of baptism and how it symbolizes walking in a new life with Christ. While his call today was for anyone who has not been baptized to come down and be a part of today's "Splash Bash," he also urged those who had been baptized to remember your baptism. The tears were flowing as I thought about that day and the events that led me to that point. You see in life the struggle often leads to the victory and my baptism was very much symbolic of a struggling time in my life that led me to become the person I am today.
Back in 2002 I wasn't the person most of you know today. I was in a weird place in my life. I was one year removed from a rigorous four years of academic studies and collegiate athletics. My previous four years of life was filled with studying, practice for track and field and competing in track meets. I guess you could say that I had a less than normal college experience as very, very few people who go to college are scholarship athletes and live their lives much like it is a 9-5 job. Once I graduated with my college degree I began to have more time on my hands, which led me to exploring so many different aspects of life as a young adult. While I had some fun, I also felt that I was moving further and further away from the person that my parents wanted me to be, but more than that, the person I knew I should be. I slipped further and further into feelings of despair and hopelessness because I just knew I was making decisions that were not in line with my upbringing and internal make up.
One day I was sitting on the ground in my room and I began to pray, which is something I had not done in a very long time. I grew up going to church and my parents baptized me as a little kid. That baptism as a child was my parent's intention to put me on the right course towards loving God and living a positive and spiritually fulfilling life. Well, back in 2002 I was failing the intention my parents had for me in a big way. And that just crushed me. Luckily, the Lord placed some angels in my life who steered me in a very kind and loving way back to the person I knew I needed to be.
I walked into Aletheia Church in Harrisonburg, Virginia and my buddy Aaron gave me a huge hug the first time he saw me come in. My life vaulted forward in that moment.
My good buddy Nick gave me a bible and wrote some of the most beautiful words I have ever read in the front sleeve. I felt fellowship.
I went to the George Washington National Forest and sat in a boat on the river while reading the bible. I felt peace.
I watched Pastor Dave from Aletheia pour his heart out about the power of Baptism one day in church as the tears streamed down his eyes. I felt commitment.
After church that day I came up to Aaron and I told him I wanted to get baptized and he again gave me a huge hug. That evening I fulfilled my parents intention of following a spiritually fulfilling life. As Pastor D slowly lowered me into the water and pulled me back up I let go of the old me and began the long trek towards the person you guys see today. I felt love.
That was March 2nd, 2003. It was the biggest turning point of my adult life.
You see my struggles in 2012 brought about an explosion of wonderful change in my life. It was through that beautiful struggle that I came back to the center of my compass. And because of that I have experienced such far reaching joy and progress in my life. Have I had any rough times during the past 11 years? Of course! That's just part of being human, but I was able to handle the tough times with much more grace because I was a different person. I had a direction and I had a major intensity to that direction that I continue to ignite to this day.
Friends...while this blog is about how the power of faith can change your life, it is also just a blog about becoming a better person. While baptism and getting re-committed to my faith is my story, your story might be different. Regardless of how different our stories may be, the common thread is that it is important to trade in the old things that breed negativity and loss in your life for the positive things and people who bolster and increase the value of your life.
That's a life that is filled with fellowship wither other like minded positive people.
That's a life that is filled with peace in your decisions and your surroundings.
That's a life that is filled with commitment to opportunities to serve others and yourself.
That's a life that is filled with love so big that it radiates off of your very being.
And that is a wonderful life.
Until next time...
And that is a wonderful life.
Until next time...