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After discovering how beneficial the Bible could be, it quickly became a friend of mine. The panic attacks were relentless and I needed comfort. The only problem is it didn’t stop them. I would feel better when I was reading, but all the other areas in my life that caused anxiety were still there.
I didn’t give up though. I found the Bible to be a fantastic instruction manual and I liked having answers to a lot of the questions I had.
I actually was getting into reading the stories of the prophets that have lived through the exact same feelings and situations I have been in.
I still had a lot of questions and my faith was still nowhere near what I needed it to be.
So, I persevered and prayed for a way to become acquainted with a church I could start attending. God knew me, he knew my introverted, non-assertive self, would never have me walking up into some random new church on my own. And God answered! Literally! I prayed and boom…. cue Darla!
She owned the daycare I was taking my son to and on a fluke, one day mentioned this crazy new modern church in the area that had just been built. She said I wouldn’t believe how different it was from any other church and how amazing the music was. She insisted that I had to go and see how modern and contemporary they were. So, I did. And guess what……I had panic attacks through most of the services.
OH SURPRISE…CRIPPLING ANXIETY AGAIN
Panic attacks had become my new normal at that time and combining that with an emotionally evoking new environment was petrifying!
I hadn’t been to a church in years. I wanted to run home and hide and never go back. But I didn’t. I kept going and going despite screaming in fear on the inside. I felt an intense pulling to stick it out. Even though I was nervous and uncomfortable, each time I was given an unforeseen strength to make it through and keep going back week after week.
It has been over a decade later now and I still go. Many years I even went by myself.
The music was amazing. It evoked a lot of emotions and feelings. I was getting new insight and perspective I didn’t understand but I liked it. I wanted to learn and soak in as much as I could.
The pastor was so down to earth and relatable. You know you are in the right place when it literally always seems like the preacher wrote his sermon about your life and obstacles that week.
Something I noticed when I looked around in church at the other adults is that they have something. They have joy, you can literally see it! They radiate confidence, a sense of humbleness and genuineness, comradery and fellowship. And I wanted it!
It is strange that I cannot recall this “AHA” moment when I officially felt like I was “reborn” so to speak, but I said the prayer every week when the Pastor would say it at the end of service, out of Romans 10:9 just in case. I felt like I couldn’t say it enough. I did that for years until I felt I no longer needed to say it for myself but for those I love.
Luckily, for me, my Pastor wasn’t one to ever call out for a raise of hands or have us come to the stage or altar and I was so grateful for that. I knew and God knew and that was enough for me.
Skip ahead to a couple of years ago when I couldn’t quiet the voice any longer that I needed to be Baptized. I was petrified, so many people, me being submerged in water, a camera recording it all, those are all like my biggest fears. ….no way!
I talked myself out of it so many times for so many years. Quieting God’s voice when he kept trying to tell me that isn’t what it is about.
I could hear him telling me, “This is about me and you and your faith and you proclaiming it, not ashamed of it or me, letting the world see. Be an example for your son, show him what true love and obedience for God looks like.”
Miracles Truly do Happen
In 2017, God did something incredible in my life! He gave me the most amazing gift of blessing me with a baby.
A baby we didn’t plan because fertility issues don’t let you plan and a baby we didn’t even know was on the way until over 5 months into pregnancy.
Because it was the most perfect pregnancy compared to my first one, with virtually no health issues and I never even gained weight! It is such a miraculous story you can read about here.
Anyway, I was in AWE of this impending gift and what God had done during this time.
I knew it was time for me to publicly proclaim my love for him and get over my fears.
After all, he keeps blessing me with, I owed him at least this much.
I talked to my son, in which I have mentioned before, he is a major introvert just like me, about being baptized with me. I already knew his response, “no way, too many people.” I knew he would freak out with the idea that the spotlight would be on him.
I explained to him I was scared too but we would feel so great afterwards knowing we did the right thing and show God our commitment. Knowing he didn’t have to do it alone, I got him to finally agree.
The day came and there we were, me with a baby in my belly, 6 months pregnant, all our family there to witness it, and my son standing nervously beside me in swimming trunks.
We each took our turn. As my pastor asked me about my commitment and dunked me in the water it was the most peaceful feeling that I have ever encountered. Then a sense of pride washed over me as I watched my 13-year-old prove his commitment to God. It was like sealing the deal to our fate and a huge weight lifted off of me.
To be continued………