It’s been nine years since I took the plunge. Literally.
Nine years ago today I chose to be baptized.
I didn’t have to. I was already imbued with the Holy Spirit. I had walked into the arms of Jesus the summer before. But I chose to make a public declaration.
That prior summer, I was walking around a lake having a conversation with Him. He was answering some of my questions when suddenly I had an epiphany. And I knew. And He held out His arms and I walked into His embrace. And over the next four years, the enemy went on the attack.
Oh, I didn’t know it was the enemy. Not until many years later.
But here’s what his attack looked like.
My house was robbed just before Thanksgiving.
The pastor who baptized me left the church because of his pornography addiction.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
A year-and-a-half later I was laid off my teaching* job.
The chemo I took for the breast cancer began to wreak havoc with my immune system.
I was struggling to hang onto the next teaching* job I had when our benefits and salaries were cut, and the pastor of the church that owned the school ended his own life because he couldn’t face impending embezzlement charges.
*Both teaching jobs were at Christian schools.
Ah, but I was also rescued.
Although my computer was stolen with all my lesson plans from years of teaching, the parents of my students got together and bought me a new computer for Christmas that year.
While I left that church, I began to dig deeper into the Bible for myself.
After my surgery, the same parents signed up to bring me dinners for a month, collected my laundry, cleaned my house, and organized a fundraising dinner to pay for expenses while I was on unpaid leave for three months. And a secret angel paid my rent for six months.
I moved from the Central Valley, which was at the time the only job open to me, back up to Northern California, where my support system was.
I had taken a teaching job that required a 40-mile commute each way – again, the only one open – and was becoming exhausted. My physical condition was worsening daily. At the end of the year, I was offered a teaching position less than 10 minutes from my apartment.
Incredibly, my doctor put me on permanent disability on Friday morning, and I informed my principal it was my last day – the day before the chaos happened. The following Monday, because the school hadn’t been paying its rent, the teachers walked into locked out classrooms. Apparently, the pastor had been warned three months in advance and didn’t bother to tell anyone. He had stolen money that was meant for teacher salaries and rent and decided not to face his responsibilities.
Other circumstances have occurred since then, and I’m much more aware now of enemy attacks. I’m also much more aware of how the Father works in my life to manifest Himself as Shield, Protector and Rescuer.
I can also more quickly and easily distinguish between an enemy attack and my own foolish choices. Luckily, those become fewer as my crow’s feet deepen.
Thankfully, I have also learned to recognize the voice of my Shepherd. He speaks to me in ways He knows I will hear him.
The Holy Spirit has become my Friend, my Constant Companion, and I have come to trust Him completely. He is the voice of Jesus for me. He helps me understand His words and intent.
He was the One who led me to choose baptism. He was the One who lifted me up through all those attacks. He is the One who continues to light my path in all circumstances. He ensures I’m loved by keeping me tightly wrapped in my Father’s loving embrace.
And nearly ten years after I walked into His arms, He’s still my One and Only.