Sunday, July 12, 2015

Baptism Day

Its baptism day! All week, I've wanted to sit down and write my thoughts. But they have gone a hundred different directions.

I'm so excited. I finally feel like I'm being true to myself. The last several months, I have felt like I was coming home.

I grew up as a religious person, but I can now see, I was just following the lead of others. Always afraid to never step one toe out of line for fear I wouldn't be good enough. Doing what I was told, not because it was right, but because I was too scared to be disappointment to others. So I continued to follow the herd.

I've thought back to the darkest days of my life, after we were unchosen. The grief cycle includes denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The denial and bargaining, those were mostly to the birthmom. Disbelief of what happened. Sending one last email to try and change things. But I never felt any anger towards her. Instead, I was mad at God. I felt let down. I felt like He didn't really love me. In the end, I decided I didn't need Him; I would do it on my own.

After battling the depression for a few years, I decided it was time to move on with life. And I was okay, for the most part. I could accept we would never have kids, but I still held a lot of bitterness in my heart. Most of the time, I was happy. But the times when I wasn't, I became a good pretender. I didn't want the world to know I was still hurting.

But God didn't give up on me. Last year, I realized, I missed having that connection in my life. But I didn't know what to do. For several reasons, I didn't want to go back the religion I was raised in. I felt like there were too many gaps. I didn't believe in their forever families, but in temple ceremonies only. I knew God loves us too much to separate us from the ones we love. I believe that we can all be in heaven together, no matter where we are married. I also didn't want to go back and constantly be reminded I was not a mother. I didn't want to go back to following the crowd and doing things because I was made to feel guilty if I didn't. And since falling in love with the bible, I've had other questions that can't be answered. I'm not saying they are wrong, but its just not right for me.

But still, I couldn't figure out what I wanted. But God gave me good friends to listen to my concerns. God gave me a good friend who was willing to go out of her comfort zone and go with me. God helped me find an amazing congregation that showed me what it was like to truly love God.

I think back to one of my first weeks there. I think I had been going for about a month. I introduced myself to someone, because I realized we had a friend in common. She said it perfectly. "We praise Jesus."

I'm grateful I started this journal, to help me remember the moments. Such as my first Noel. The day that I was finally able to let go of the hurt and pain and turn it over to Jesus. For years, I had held onto it. But once I turned it over to Him, it was gone instantly.

I was raised as a religious person, but I now see that I was not a spiritual person. I was in church, but God wasn't in my heart.

God has softened my heart. He has taken my pain away. He has healed my soul.

This week has had its high and lows. Some of my family members have struggled with my decision. But I told Josh, even that doesn't bother me. That's how I know I  am sure about my decision. I want to do this for me. Not to make them happy. Or out of guilt. I want to do this because its what I want. I've actually wanted to be baptized for several months now, but I let the fear of what they would say hold me back. Until I realized, that the only opinions that mattered were mine and God's.

But even after that, I've still felt an outpouring of love. I didn't think anyone loved me, except my husband. When we decided to stop trying to become parents, I felt useless. I felt like I had been discarded. Like no one needed me anymore. I felt like a shadow on the wall. But I've had a lot of people ask what time is church. And a few family members plan a dinner. I didn't think I was worth that much effort.

Last night, I was really nervous. Not like I wanted to change my mind, just nervous at all the people who said they would come. Now I feel all of this pressure to be good enough. I feel like they are all watching me, to make sure its not a mistake. I feel like I have to be the best example ever, so they can see this is the real deal, and not some phase. I also feel like I need to shine, so those who are against my decision will one day come around.

But then, I hear a whisper in my soul. I only need to be good enough for God. The rest will work itself out if I just stay true to Jesus.

I'm getting baptized for a few reasons.
1) Jesus has healed me. Heart and soul, I have been made whole again.

2) Jesus has changed me. I was never a bad person, but I know I am now a better person, on a journey to be even better each day.

3) This isn't about religion, its a heart thing. God isn't going to ask us what church we attended. He's going to ask where our heart was.

4) I love Jesus. I gave my heart to Him months ago. But it wasn't enough. I have to do this to give Him my soul.