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There's no life apart from You...

I really think sometimes that God just like messing with our stuff.

He’s kind of like that annoying younger sibling who sneaks in your room while you’re not, just to rifle through your stuff and leave behind traces just to further drive you batty.  He’s that third wheel on the date that you want to be alone on.  He’s the one telling you to have manners when you just want to fall face first into the Ben and Jerry’s.  Sometimes that’s what I think.  What it feels like.  

Like He’s just all up in my business.  My stuff.

A couple Sunday’s ago we got to the van after church service and I literally flounced into my seat, slammed the door with some unnecessary force and sighed loud as I fastened my seatbelt.  As we pulled away, Aaron made a benign comment about the service being good and I snarled, “Yeah, it was great.  But I’d really like God and Pastor Stu to stop hounding me.”  I smiled a little to show I didn’t hate church or my pastor or my God.  But seriously.  Stop nipping at my heels.  Stop fanning that flame over here.  Can’t I just go home and have a nice nap?

See, here’s the thing.  Apparently God thinks it’d be fun to have me on a roll of opportunities to say, “Yes!” to Him.  It’s been the theme lately and I am finally lolling my head around to notice.  Yes, to joining the choir.  Yes, to trying out and singing a solo.  Yes, to venturing out in a business ministry in order to encourage women.  And even before that - yes, to encouraging my husband to quit his job when I was very pregnant and yes, why don’t we just pack up and move as soon as I give birth?  I mean, I’ve been saying, “Yes!” a lot.  But instead of laying off and rewarding me with a popsicle, it’s like, “Okay, that’s great!  Now.... this!”  

Hence the hounded feeling a few Sunday’s back.

I was baptized as an infant.  I grew up in a very traditional Reformed Presbyterian church and was baptized within a week or so of taking my first breaths.  I’ve never really considered baptism since, because I felt I had that one under wraps.  And here comes God, making me all uncomfortable and causing Pastor Stu to unknowingly glance my way when he spoke of the invitation to be baptized in the pond out back and how, “Hey, maybe you were baptized as an infant....”  

Oh come on.

So, now not only does God send the worship arts pastor after me with a seemingly knowing, “Are you sure?” when I’m trying to escape and play the avoidant game... now God’s got the head pastor in on it all and I’m getting called out at the start of first service and the thing is, nobody knows it.  Except God.  And me.  I knew He knew and He knew I knew and that’s all that mattered.  I started fidgeting.  

I thought about it.  I sighed about it.  I tried to ignore it because I’m a Christian and a vocal follower and in a text to a friend I stated the truth that it felt like, “Hey, why should I have to do that?”  She said she got it, but the answer was simple, “God said so.”  Fine.  Okay.  That makes sense.  And I’d commit to it and then backtrack. I even walked up to the welcome center to sign my name on the dotted “Please immerse me in two weeks” line, but quickly swerved and headed straight to service.  The service that I left all huffy and feeling like God was not going to leave me alone on this.

And I know it’s because He loves me. So much.  That’s why He won’t let it go.

And I love Him.  So much.  And that’s why I can’t let it go.

To top it off, out of the blue, after a weekend of discussing how I’ve been battling this “baptism thing” with a friend, on the drive home I was listening to Chris Tomlin.  Which, that’s no big surprise, because I’ve been listening to that album since it released and very little else for months.  Literally, months.  So, when, “LAY ME DOWN” came on, I just started singing along.  Auto-pilot.  

And then I started crying.  Crazy, involuntarily, sobbing. And my brain didn’t even know why.

The words hit my heart before my ears and mind realized what I was singing.

“It will be my joy to say: “Your will.  Your way.” 

Wait, what?!  What did I just sing?  My JOY?  To say, what?  HIS will?  HIS way?

His way with following Him?  His way with trailing Him into baptism?

And then... then!

“I lay me down, I’m not my own, I belong to You alone... lay me down, lay me down...”

Lay me down.  (In the water!)  Lay me down.
I was going to have to get baptized.

You would think I came home and phoned the church and screamed with joy for someone, anyone, to add my name to the list!  You would think that.  After all the conviction, all the confirmation, all the stars aligning... I’m still shifting in my seat and watching the days pass and knowing I need to step up.  The spirit is willing.  The flesh is weak and it’s hard to move out of chin-high sludge of fear and “good enough”.

I finally at least go to my calendar.  Start writing the date and time in the little box.  And the Sharpie freezes.  Wait, what weekend is this?

Sunday, August 25th.

W a i t.  

Just wait one stinking second here.

You mean to tell me it’s the weekend that is six years ago TO THE DAY, the anniversary of the very first time I ever sat in that church sanctuary?  

Now, how do I walk away from that?

I’m pretty OCD about things.  I don’t hide the fact that I’m a little neurotic and crazy.  I’m an artist and musician, so I think automatically you should just assume I’m a little odd.  But I am crazy about dates.  Crazy about them.  I don’t love numbers (hate them!) but I love dates.  And anniversaries of dates.  And paying attention to how things match up and add up.  I’m even OCD enough to want to make sure we have another baby by 2014 so all my kids can be born in even-numbered years.  

I told you.  A little weird.

Anyway, who would know that I’m so crazy about dates and that I find things like that so incredibly significant but the God who created me?  Who else would care so much about making the day of my baptism matter in more ways than one?  

Who else would know to tie it to the weekend that I first met my future in-laws?  The same weekend I was first told, “I’m not just in love with you - I love you!” by the man I would end up marrying just over a year later?  And the first time I ever walked into that sanctuary, sat in those chairs, sobbed during that welcome video and felt like I had come home in so many ways?

Who but You, oh God.  Who but You?

So yes.  I’m getting baptized in that pond out back. 

Lay me down.  Lay me down.

You are not a god created
by human hands.
You are not a god dependent
on any mortal man.
You are not a god in need of
anything we can give.
You are God.
That’s just the way it is.”
~ You Are God Alone


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