I was baptized as a baby and then confirmed at 12—mostly, I think, because that’s what people of my parents’ generation did. At my confirmation, I said, “Yes,” but I didn’t really know what I was saying “yes” to. It wasn’t my choice. Right around the time of my confirmation, however, I started exploring faith on my own. I went to a variety of youth groups, camps, and activities. I read a ton of books. I fell in love with this Jesus who changed absolutely everything for me.
At fifteen, I went to a summer camp. Almost every student who went was baptized that summer. I didn’t want to just go along with what everybody else was doing. Plus, it felt weird to be baptized without any of my people there—no family, no close friends. I held back. The next year, I was baptized. It was time. I’ll never forget the feeling of choosing baptism for myself—of choosing Him for myself. It meant so much to me!
When my husband and I married in 1986, we both had strong faiths. He’d been baptized as a baby and confirmed in junior high. (And he knew exactly what he was confirming!) Still, about twenty years later, he chose baptism for himself at Willow Crystal Lake. He was so excited by his choice that I was tempted to go in and get baptized along with him. I didn’t. I cheered him on from the shore and let him have that moment. I was so proud of his choice to publicly declare his faith! It was the beginning of a whole new journey of faith for him. He’s never been the same.
Fast forward to 2013—our second round of baptisms at the Willow Creek Huntley lake. I was absolutely BURSTING with joy following the baptisms. God was so, so good! Everybody was heading back toward shore. I couldn’t move. My legs had turned to cement, and I was shivering—but not with cold. I could hear God saying, “Stay. Get baptized. Get baptized now. This is your family.”
I remember Andrew looking at me and saying, “What? Are you okay?”
I told him that I needed to be baptized—right then. We called the staff back into the water, and I was baptized. It was the beginning of a whole new journey of faith for me. I’ve never been the same.