It slowly dawned on me over the weekend that another anniversary was looming, it’s taken some coming down after the exertions and emotions of the National Championships last weekend, but that was brought back down to earth this weekend with work, but now I can relax and enjoy the memories of what was just a fantastic day one year ago.
It has been a busy weekend, over Saturday and Sunday I’ve been working on some architectural drawings, over 20 hours to be exact, stuck inside on the hottest weekend of the year so far, with late night endings of 11pm Saturday and 10.15pm last night, but I finished the drawings and took them in this evening, job done and done well.
So today is the anniversary of what for me was probably the greatest day of my life, last Saturday was great, but this day last year was off the scale, only rivalled by the arrival of my two wonderful children.
Has it really been a years since my Baptism, the memories seem so fresh, they seem like they were just yesterday.
I’ve written about the full story of my Baptism in my post With the Correct Faith, Yesterday’s Failures Can Become Today’s Victories, so I won’t rewrite the whole story here once again.
The whole day was just so surreal, from leaving the house, looking out at the weather wondering whether I should take a coat or not, then that strange thought “I won’t take a coat, I’m not bothered if I get wet today!” At that point I had no intention of getting Baptised, I had considered it, but having only been in Church for just over three months and being so busy at the time with Karate, it just seemed too soon to me, I thought I still had so much to learn before I decided to make that decision, to be quite honest, I wasn’t even sure what Baptism truly meant or how it all worked, so I had passed the opportunity to go to the meeting about the Baptism and not registered or prepared for it.
Even by the time I got to Church, I was still comfortable with my decision and happy to just watch the proceedings, see how these things work and what was required to be done before I made that decision, as I say I was still learning and really didn’t think I was that much of a Christian at the point, I was just attending Church and doing my best to walk away from the my addiction and the monster I had become.
When Gareth spoke and challenged everyone, when he said he felt today someone during the service was going to make that decision to be Baptised that very morning, I just froze, I couldn’t breathe for a moment, the world stopped, that’s when I knew this was a message for me, this was God’s word for me. I’ve often felt during Gareth’s services that his message is directed to me personally, I know it’s not, but I just hold on to things especially when it highlights the mistakes I had made in my life up to that point. But at this moment, I knew this was a direct message for me, not from Gareth, but the feeling I had, that inner feeling, I just knew it was telling me to stand up and make that declaration.
It took only a few moments of deliberation, a conversation with myself, that “are you going to do this?” sort of thing, then it was a now or never thing. I’ve so often fought my inner self and given in, but today I wasn’t going to, I was going to be the complete opposite of my usual reserved self, I was going to be impulsive, I was going to ignore the doubt in my head, I was going to do this and it was really a now or never sort of thing.
So I found Gareth straight away and just simply asked him where I could get a change of clothes. It took him by surprise, but he was genuinely pleased and probably as excited as I was.
But I still had a bigger moment of impulsiveness to go through, when those who had actually prepared for this day, those that had registered and prepared their testimony were called to the stage, I went through another moment of deliberation.
As the three people were called to the stage, I sat there not knowing whether I should get up and join them or not, I hadn’t prepared for this, Gareth hadn’t prepared for this and my name wasn’t called, but deep inside a little voice set get up, join them. So I just jumped and shot up on to the stage, taking the whole Church by surprise, including Gareth, but for some reason, beyond my usual reserved self, I got up there ready to speak out.
And speak out I did, when it was my turn, it didn’t really matter that I hadn’t prepared, that I had written anything down or gone through this moment in my head over and over again until I knew what I was going to say, I just got up there and spoke. The words just came, from where I still don’t really know, but they were there and in front of a couple of hundred people, I confessed my downfall and my addiction, it felt like a weight was being lifted right there and then.
It really didn’t matter whether I got wet that day, because I received the most glorious drenching of my life, a moment in time that I will never forget, a moment in time to treasure and when everything seems like it’s all too much, a moment I can look back at and know that I was called that morning, I was called by God, he knew I was ready when I doubted myself, he believed in me, then I should believe in him.
There was just one more stand out moment that morning, one more memory that holds so fresh, one I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned to anyone and it happened right at the end of the service, just before the actual Baptism took place.
As always our services ends with a worship song and usually one previously one sung at the beginning of the service, this song I had sang along with many times and even had a version of on my iPod, but as we sang the song, I came over with an amazing wave of emotion, at the part of the song with the lyrics “You caught my soul when I was struggling to breathe” I just broke down into tears, happy tears I think, I still don’t understand why, why that song, why that lyric, but even to this day, when I hear that song and that lyric, it brings tear to the eye with the amazing memories of that day, one year ago.
I BELONG TO YOU by LINCOLN BREWSTER
You light my way everyday
You help me see what I can be
I cry to You my Spirit song
Come use my life for You alone
You caught my soul when I was struggling to breathe
You made me whole and now Your majesty I see
I belong to You
Yes I belong to You
I hear Your voice it leads me on
Into Your arms where I belong
I cry to You my Spirit song
Come use my life for You alone
I know You’re everything
You’re all I’ll ever need
I know You’re everything to me