Hello everyone. My name is Esther and I’d like to share with you all today of my spiritual journey and how I came to my decision to be baptized.
Like many of you, I was brought up in a Christian household. I think from a young age, I recognized that I was a very weak person because I felt very helpless on my own and felt I couldn’t do normal things like everyone else without feeling anxious. Growing up, I often felt incompetent, inadequete, and felt like I couldn’t trust myself. So I found the idea of God to be comforting and it wasn’t very difficult for me to rely on him, mainly because I didn’t feel I could rely on myself. And so I put my faith in God from a young age, but as I got older, I found myself becoming frustrated with myself and with God because I felt like I had to depend on God for everything.
When I entered university, my anxiety got so bad that I was filled with a sense of dread towards the idea of living. I began to often fantasise about death and became unattached to the idea of living. I thought that if I have to live everyday with fear and suffering, I’d honestly just rather not because it was so exhausting.
I actually avoided going to GPS for a long time because I had a lot of fear surrounding it. My anxiety told me that after publicly being baptized would mean I had to now be a certain way and that I would not live up to people’s expectations. And that everyone would be on a lookout for me and that I would not be able to make mistakes. I was letting fear consume me and get in the way of taking the next step in my faith. And when I did decide to go to GPS, I was still hesitant to get baptized right away.
But I think I was slowly transformed through the love I felt from surrounding myself with our church members. I don’t know if I have a single dramatic event in my life where I felt I met God but I think slowly throughout I was able to feel that God is alive and present with me through my spent time in church. I was really amazed by the care our house church members had towards each other and the devotion of my sheppards Pastor Caleb and Jennifer.
Attending house church was a challenge at first as I was overcome by social anxiety and was self conscious every time I had to share. However, I soon came to realize that we were all gathered not to put on an act and to be a certain way, but to really share all parts of our lives including where we fell short and our struggles. Listening to others share so honestly made me realize that it’s okay to struggle and it’s okay not to be perfect. And that we are here to listen to one another, and support each other and pray for one another.
The verse mentioned in GPS that I remember stood out to me was from Ephesians 2:8–9 “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” I was so concerned about being or appearing perfect to be confirmed but I had failed to realize salvation was a gift, it was not earned by my doings, but by God’s grace that I am saved.
The biggest change I see after having received Christ is in the way I view my future and my life. I used to not be very attached to the thought of living my life and held back by the fear of all the future obstacles and pains of living I will have to endure. But now I actually want to live and I can look forward to what God has in store for me and I believe that even through suffering, I can experience the goodness of God. I am a much more expectant person now and. I’m less afraid of making commitments and becoming involved in church or letting everyone know of my decisions publicly. And the thought of living doesn’t cripple me anymore. I am definitely not all of the sudden fearless, I still have many fears but I see now God as something much greater than whatever fears I have. I can live with the assurance that God is with me always and that He is a good, and he is a gracious and loving father. I’d like to say a big thank you to my house church members, friends, and Pastor Caleb and Jennifer for your prayers and guidance. Thank you so much for listening.