Thursday, May 3, 2012

My baptism, questioned

     Church can become a habit if you let it. A habit with good intentions, however, it can still be just a habit. How many of us can go every Sunday, sit in the same spot, hear the sermon, walk out revitalized and feeling right with God, and then before you know it, Thursday comes rolling around and you realize you haven't done anything to listen to God, or read his words or show his love and mercy. So, you put on your nice clothing, play a part in your church, and think... If I can JUST be good enough...
maybe I can go to Heaven. A lot of us can say... hey, I committed my life to Christ, but then we find that what we said was just lip service. We did it because it was the "cool" thing to do, or we had every intention of committing our lives, until it got down to the nitty gritty work of actually committing our lives and abandoned our promise to God.
That is ok though. God forgives through Jesus Christ. He DOES! I do have faith in that!

See, you won't get to heaven on your own. You will NEVER be good enough, no matter how much you repent if you haven't committed yourself to Christ. At least, that is what I have read and been told all of my adult life. So, then the next question... what entails committing your life to Christ? Is it every waking breath of every moment of every day? Is it becoming a nun or monk, vowing celibacy and never uttering a word? How do you know when you have made that commitment? Have I already? I was baptized at the age of 12 after attending a church lock-in. During that lock in, the people of the church basically ambushed any child who had not..... they used peer pressure tactics, fear, and sleep deprivation in their arsenal. My family never really went to church, so the whole church thing was kind of new to me. We had attended only because my great grandmother needed a ride, and my dad was the lucky family member who got the "short straw". We took her to her deceased husband's (my great grandfather) church, where he was a deacon. A good Southern Baptist Church, nonetheless.

The congregation had very little youth, and most were in their golden years. The youth program was 20 minutes before service and was more or less a pep rally to get those kids who hadn't been baptized, to sign up. After that, the youth would find their families amongst a sea of blue haired ladies. Some ladies smiled, while others...like my great grandmother, seemed to have a permanent scowl. I remember, being baptized by a fly by night preacher who, for about 6 months ran the church... Brother Jack. He could add my name to his list of people he had helped to go to heaven. When I asked what the requirements were for baptism, it was simply... "do you believe that Jesus can forgive your sins?" At the time, it was just that simple. I said yes, I got dunked in semi-warm water above the "stage" in what amounted to a hot tub covered with faux wood and a cross mounted to the outside of it. As I was held under, I heard "glug boo mmmmm glug teeeeeeeeee" then as I rose from the water half drowned, a hand was placed on my back and Brother Jack said in a booming voice SAVED! Shortly after that, my great grandmother moved to the Dallas area and we stopped going.

Now, as an adult, I find out... oh, it isn't that simple. There is more than just believing in Jesus and that he exists. You have to commit your life to Christ, not just believe that he can forgive your sins... OK>>>>>>>>>
So, for now, I am on my own figuring out what this commitment entails. I can say today that I commit my life,but how do I live this out? How do I really commit to this? I am taking this very seriously... after all, it is my eternity in heaven at stake. I think it is probably different for each person. I wonder if I will know.... I can do good things all day long, live "by the book" the best I can, and listen to God, but is that the commitment needed? Do I give up all worldly possessions, family, money and all human pleasures.... even my chocolate?

So, In order to commit my life, I think it is best that I read the bible, cover to cover.... I would at least skim a contract when purchasing a car, so why wouldn't I do that for my soul?  I will pray daily, not for what I want, but for wisdom, guidance and direction. I will be open to what God has planned for me. So, although I could say I have committed my life to Christ, I know that it will be a daily battle to live out the commitment.

Why, then do I feel like God is calling me to do great things for my son and others affected by Autism? From what I can tell, Autism itself is not mentioned in the Bible. It seems to be a fairly "new" condition although history says that Autism is just a name for a mental condition. When people hear Autism, they think of a child, but this is a lifelong condition. It isn't like these kids grow up and disappear. Well, a lot get institutionalized, and although that is in a way disappearing from society, they are still a part of this earth.
Is that really God talking to me? I feel like it is, like all of this has a purpose. I am not questioning my faith, but I am maybe a bit worried that this is all in my head.... So,basically, I know that having Cameron is God's work, but maybe I am on the hunt to figure out what my role is in all of this. Having Cameron has drawn me closer to God, I know that. I could have been angry and saddened, but I really don't. I asked God to bless me with a child... that I didn't care if he had special needs or not. God took me up on that offer. He blessed me with another child, and he has yet to show any symptoms but he still could at any time. If he does or doesn't, I know that it is God's plan.
So, for now, I am having a constant conversation with God. He is speaking to me thanks to Jesus. My sins are forgiven... past, present and future, as long as I continue to ask for forgiveness and seek out guidance.  I will work really hard to make sure that what he says isn't twisted somehow to meet my own agenda. That, right now, is my commitment. To keep an open conversation, and open heart, and a willingness to seek out God.