That Sunday started out just like any other
Every Sunday morning, I drink coffee and eat breakfast, and then I take a shower as part of my getting-ready-for-church routine.
That Sunday, as the water poured down on me, I started talking to God. It’s not uncommon for me to talk to God while I’m in the shower. It’s one of the few moments of “alone time” I have. So, it’s a good time to focus on uninterrupted prayer with Him.
This particular prayer time was different, though. He said something directly to me, and it stopped me in my tracks.
It wasn’t really a command, more of a suggestion
The way He phrased it, it wasn’t like He was ordering me to do something. He was just throwing the suggestion out there to see what I would do with it.
But isn’t every command from God really more of a suggestion, in a way? A suggestion with promised blessings attached to obedience and dire consequences attached to disobedience.
Still, He doesn’t force us to do anything. We have free will. He just wants to see what we’re going to do with what He tells us (actually, maybe He wants us to see it; He already knows, because He’s God).
The startling word that He spoke to me that morning was this: “Maybe you should get baptized again.”
Had I really heard from God? Was that just something that popped into my head because of the water beating down on me from the shower head?
Does God really speak in “maybes?”
It was something I’d thought about before
Before we joined this church, when it reopened following last year’s COVID shut-down, we attended another church. And the idea of getting baptized again crossed my mind when the pastor there said that if we didn’t remember the day we got saved, then maybe we should do something about it that day.
I didn’t remember the day I got saved. Not really. I still don’t. But I know that I am. There’s evidence enough of the Holy Spirit working in my heart and life.
And I certainly do remember the day I was baptized.
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The problem with my first baptism
I was eight years old at the time. I knew Jesus was my Savior. I thought He was my Lord. I wanted to follow Him, just like that old song says:
I have decided to follow Jesus.
That was my heart’s song.
But the baptism wasn’t really about Him and my commitment to Him. My memories of it certainly aren’t. I remember being excessively embarrassed — i.e., stuck in and on myself — and I remember all sorts of pressure because my grandparents had come in from out of town just for the occasion. So, I really think I was getting baptized because I knew it was something I should do. I knew it was something other people wanted me to do. But I’m not really sure if I wanted to do it … or if I understood what it was all about.
And my life following that baptism certainly was full of lots of evidence that Jesus wasn’t Lord of my life. First, my mother was, and then I was … when I finally moved away from her.
Much later, I fully committed my life to following Him, and no one else … no matter what.
And this church and I have a history
The fact is, I went to this same church about 25–30 years ago, when I was a teenager (and the church was known by a different name). I did and said some very un-Christlike things inside its walls. And I had my first real taste of spiritual disillusionment there too.
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So, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that getting baptized again, and especially inside the walls of this church, could be a way to cleanse me of the past. A tangible way to heal the harmful things that I’d seen and done there.
A cleansing, in more ways than one.
The more I thought about it, the more I liked God’s “maybe” statement. But I still wanted to make sure it was coming from Him.
Satan only attacks when you’re getting closer to God
As soon as I got out of the bathroom, I knew something spiritual was going on. My husband and I got into an argument. And, I mean, it was an ARGUMENT.
He tried to apologize, but I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to talk about what was going on between us, even though I knew it had something to do with the conversation I’d just had with God in the bathroom.
I didn’t mention that at all to my husband. I just got the kids ready for church, because I knew that was where I needed to be, and we went … although there was a Grand Canyon-sized gulf between us.
Things didn’t get much better at church, although I did get confirmation during both the service and our community group meeting that God’s “maybe baptism” comment was actually coming from Him.
I had to open up and let go
After community group, a friend came over to me and my husband and said, “You two seem kind of … distant.”
I said, “We are.” And then I explained about the argument we’d had.
She said, “You know what you need to do. You need to pray together, and I’m going to pray with you.”
So, we did, and I released my anger and unforgiveness toward my husband to God. I put them in His hands, and I was able to hold my husband’s hand again without gritting my teeth.
Then he turned to me and said, “I feel like this is some sort of spiritual attack.”
I nodded. “It is.” And then I explained to him why I thought it was happening.
We talked briefly with our community group leader then, who told me he thought it was a great idea for me to get baptized again. Then, I went and found the pastor, who said he was completely on board with the idea too … and he suggested we do it the very next Sunday.
And then I told my kids that I was going to get rebaptized
In the car, on the way home, we told our girls that we had made up from our earlier fight, and we explained why the fight occurred … and why it was so intense.
Then, I said, “And Mommy’s getting baptized next Sunday because she feels like God is telling her to do it.”
To my complete amazement, my older girl (the one who has resisted baptism for almost three years now) said, “I told God I would get baptized either this year or next year. I promised.”
“Well, why don’t you do it next Sunday with me?”
And, just like that, the prayer I’d been praying for almost three years — that she would make the decision to act in obedience through baptism — was answered!
I still don’t know why God put that ‘maybe’ thought in my head
I’ve already walked in obedience through baptism. And the baptism isn’t what saves you. Maybe I don’t really need to get baptized again, although I don’t think it would hurt. It is a way to show everyone that I really have changed, through the work of the Holy Spirit in me. I am ready to walk in the “newness of life” like never before.
But maybe this baptism doesn’t have anything to do with what I need to do to make my relationship right with God. Maybe I just needed to make the decision to get rebaptized so that I could encourage my daughter to follow through on her own promise to God.
And if the only reason God put that thought to get rebaptized in my head was because He knew my daughter would be more likely to get baptized if she was doing it with someone she knew and trusted, then it’s all worth it.
Every single moment of wondering. Every spiritual attack. Every niggle of embarrassment and worry about what other people might think that I’ve had to pray away almost daily since the decision was made.
Children learn more by what they see us do than by what they hear us say. I want my children to see me as someone who is now 100% committed to following the God who has been nothing but faithful to His covenant of unfailing love for me.
Because I want them to do the same … only, hopefully, less imperfectly than I did for so very many years!