Yesterday was a big day for me, after 2 years of attending a local Pentecostal Church – The church that Peter grew up in; I made the decision to be baptized. It was a difficult decision for multiple reasons. The first, being that I do not like being the centre of attention in any situation, public speaking is difficult for me, and the thought of standing in front of a whole congregation was scary. However, that was the easiest obstacle - because part of declaring your faith is knowing that at some point it will be uncomfortable, people tend to react in very specific ways when the subject of faith is brought up. It’s part of the deal.
A slightly more difficult obstacle was sharing the news with my family. I grew up in a Catholic home, so the foundation of belief is the same, but there are some major differences. Also, it is intricately tied up into my culture – the women in my family for many generations before me have all been very devout Catholics. My decision to be baptized was not so much about leaving anything behind – I wasn’t unhappy in the things I was taught. I am so grateful that I had a family who spent time and effort teaching me about God, about real Christian love and kindness. I know that my time spent in Catholic schools helped to keep those teachings front and centre in my mind. I feel an emotional bond to the rosary that we would pray as a family in the evenings.
Despite all of these things I found that as I grew up, I learned how to divide my life into separate entities. One reserved for God and his teachings, that I reached for on Sundays, or when I had a specific request and one for everyday. My everyday life was based on doing things that I wanted, I never asked if they were right, or good. I drank too much, partied too much and cared far too much about fitting in. Eventually, I gave up Sundays as well.
One day something shifted for me. I was at work and the topic of Christianity came up, someone asked me if I was religious in a mocking tone – and I denied it. I denied being “too Christian” whatever that means – “just my family is” I think is what I said. I didn’t want them to think I was going to start spouting bible stories to them right then and there. I was embarrassed by it. I realized in that moment that I had gotten pretty far off track.
So I began going to the Pentecostal Church with Peter, to read the bible and to find out for myself what I believed. I knew this was the right place for me because of the way that Jesus' presence came flooding into my life, over the last two years, I have forged a real relationship with him; he has worked on my ability to share my beliefs, my pride and my self-dependency and continues to work in many areas in my life – every day.