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1 of 1614 Lives Saved.

On October 1, 2023, 13 days before my wedding, I was invited to church. I had been dodging the invitation. While I loved Jesus, I avoided church at all cost. I struggled a lot with the construct of church and how I felt leaving it. Prior to this invitation, I had attended service at one location my entire life. For 26 years, I voiced my opinions on church.

"I hate it."

"There's no point in going if God is everywhere." "God knows I love Him. He doesn't need me to show up."

"What's the point?"

"I'll only go if I get to eat the bread of Jesus."

I avoided service at any and all costs.

Even after the initial invitation, I was hesitant. I bailed. I told her I would catch her next Sunday. When the next Sunday rolled around, I had two options:

#A. Come up with a lie and bail again.

#B. Go.

So, I went.

Growing up in Catholic church, my perception of church was very narrow. I had to dress up. Jeans were maybe okay, not really, but you'd only receive a few side eyes. It was important you knew when to stand up, when to kneel, when to offer peace to others, which book we were reading from…the list, to me, was endless. I would often leave mass with a heaviness, a sense of guilt for not living enough like Jesus. I knew the feeling was wrong, that I should be leaving feeling light and closer to Him, but I didn’t know how to say that then. Instead I always said, “I hate church,” & that was enough to skate by without many other questions. 

I’ll admit that sometimes I felt shame for feeling that way. I felt like a fraud a little. How could I say I love the Lord, but hate to worship in His Home? My rebuttal: He’s everywhere. He doesn’t need me in church to know I love Him. But, on the edge of my heart, no matter how much I wrote off church, I felt a tug that asked me to try somewhere. Being asked October 1st was a 26 year old answer in waiting. 

Stepping foot in the Church of Eleven22 was different. It was warm. A lot of people dressed up. A lot of other people did not. There were no pews, there was no altar, no tabernacle, no statues. The staff of the church hugged people when they entered. It felt…homely. I felt nervous.

The service opened with 3 songs of worship. Young adults took the mics with a live band behind them playing songs I’d never heard. They were newer, fresher, more relatable than the hymns I knew. Words projected on big screens in front of us, the church made sure you weren’t left to fend for yourself. After the first song ended, I wiped at tears I did not know were falling. This was the first time I recalled crying at church. I was overwhelmed with a presence I had not experienced in my childhood church. I'd later tell my brother that it was the Holy Spirit that washed over me.

The scripture of the day was Ephesians 5:22-33. When taken out of context, they're arguably some of the most controversial verses. They speak of wife and husband submitting to one another. I'll admit that prior to this service and prior to reading more scripture, I fell into the category of "angry women" when hearing that I had to submit to my husband. Honest truth? I didn't understand what I was reading. I interpreted the text incorrectly...which happens far too often. Pastor Joby broke down word for word, verse for verse what God meant when He spoke through Paul to write that letter. There were no opinions thrown into the mix, no sublimes, no "you're not good enough to be here" moments. He was funny, but remained honest in preaching the Word. I took notes, something that I'd never consider doing in my old, Catholic church. When I left the service, I knew two things:

#A. God put me there 13 days before the wedding because I needed to hear that sermon.

#B. I would go back the next week.

See, He is intentional. He knows exactly what He's doing, why He's doing it, and when He's going to do it. I needed to go to Eleven22 to rebuild my trust with the church. I needed to go to that service that day to hear what God said about being a Godly wife. I then needed to keep going to continue growing and strengthening my relationship with Him. For the first time, with no hesitation, I found myself wanting to go to service and wanting to start my Sunday in church.

At this point, you may be asking why so much backstory to get to my baptism and what any of this has to do with the actual baptism itself. It matters because it was God's will be done in my life and not my own. I had the choice of listening to Him when He tapped my shoulder last summer and surrendering to Him or ignoring Him and living life to my own standards. One simple invitation altered my life and my gratitude for it is immeasurable. Without the invitation to Eleven22, I'm not sure I would've strengthened my relationship with Jesus as quickly as I did. I'm not sure I would've been led to a Bible study group, let alone led to being baptized again. All I can continuously say is, "Thank you, Jesus!"

beach baptism

On May 5, 2024, I was one of 1,614 souls who was saved. I don't think I can articulate how absolutely beautiful that was to see so many siblings in Christ publicly devote their lives to Him. Jesus says in John 3:5: Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. and He says again in Mark 16:16: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. When I publicly proclaimed my faith in Jesus, that He died for me AND instead of me, that He is my Lord and my Savior, it meant that I went from being dead to alive. It meant that I know how the story ends, that I am not of this world, that I have a place in heaven. It also meant that with this new found saving, I'm called to spread the Word and tell others of Christ (Mark 16:15). So, I will.

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. He is my rock. He is my firm foundation. He saved my life more times than I can count, and this time...I understand why.

I love you, but Jesus loves you more. 


Reading not for you? Check out my visuals on YouTube: #ACheyMoment

beach baptism vlog on youtube

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