It’s something I’ve been thinking about for years. I had accepted Jesus as my savior long ago, and for the longest time kept thinking to myself “Why haven’t I been baptized yet?” There were no reasons for why I hadn’t, I just didn’t. Then a couple of months ago I felt the stirring in my soul. It was time. I wanted to do it and it was going to happen. So I emailed my church and asked when the next immersion group was and got on the schedule. For the weeks leading up to it I was so excited. I knew that God had already given me grace and washed my previous sins away when I accepted Jesus long ago, but it felt like more with this. It felt like all the insecurities, all of the guilt I had for them were really going to be gone for good now. I was so excited to tell Nick what I had decided, and after it all spilled out of me he looked and me and said, “I want to do it with you.” Ya’ll. Can you think of anything more exciting and romantic to do with your spouse? That brought the excitement level up about 20 notches.
Leading up to the day I felt like I had to do something to get the sins I was washing away out of my heart “officially.” So I decided to write them down and carry them with me while I was baptized. I filled that sheet up, with some little and some big. The ones that had haunted me for years and the ones that were just from weeks prior. I folded it up small and slipped it in my pocket so the water would flood over those words and erase them from my past and that paper (the words are on the back side, I spared you from reading them). I didn’t know what do to with the paper afterwards, I toyed with throwing it away, but there was something sentimental about it to me, so I put it into my prayer box.
Cut to the day of, and I was so eager, and restless. I just wanted it to be 5:30 so we could go to church and do this! We have an amazing fountain in front of our church, where the baptism was going to take place. When we walked into service I couldn’t help but notice how gorgeous it looked. The sun was beaming down through the clouds, shining over the Jesus statue, and it just felt like all was right in the world. It felt like God was with us and just as excited as me. I even thought to myself how cool it was going to look with those light beams shining down on us as we were immersed into the water.
The service was wonderful, just as so many before it at my church. But this one focused on the margins in our life we leave open for God. The small time we etch out of each day to devote to Him, learning in the word and just allowing ourselves to rest and be still. He spoke of how we fill our days with work, kids, errands, and stress and most of us don’t leave time for God. The words washed over me and visions of all the rest I was going to carve out for Him were already being put in my phone calendar in my mind. As the service drew to a close we heard a crash of thunder, so loud that it bellowed through the room. I looked at Nick and said, oh my gosh, it’s storming outside. Sure enough. It was. But have no fear we have a covered overhang in the front of our church, so they moved the tank there and we carried on! By the time we got out there the rain had stopped. The clouds were ominous, and as we stood there speaking our renunciation of sin and profession of faith I watched bolts of lighting strike behind our pastor. It was surreal. It reminds me of the Old Testament, when God would speak through the clouds, and the sky would rumble and shake. He was certainly there with us!
The baptism was wonderful, I felt so at peace and happy, and was beaming from ear to ear. Poor Nick. His was wonderful as well, but Pastor John and Pastor Todd accidentally bonked his head on the wall on the way down and it made THE LOUDEST sound. You could hear everyone watching go “ohhhhhh.” You can even see it on Todd’s face in the pictures (which made me laugh so hard, sorry Nick). We joked that God had to knock the sin out of him. Minus the mild concussion we were so happy, and ready to celebrate! We had a friend’s birthday party to get to right after and felt like it was the perfect way to celebrate. Which was wonderful, for about an hour, and then true to Marchetti fashion drama came our way. Before I get to that, look at how wonderful the baptism was! My goofy grin 🙂 and Nick, with his closed mouth smiles because he doesn’t like the way he looks when he smiles with his teeth (insert face palm here).
Getting to the next part of the evening. Which by the way I only feel like telling you this part because of what came from it. Another stirring that I felt like God’s purpose was for me to share. So…… we’re at dinner now. I am in the middle of talking to friends at the table, laughing and having a great time when I felt the sharp pains start shooting in my stomach. It was a pain I’ve felt many times before, but I tried to ignore it. Then they came on stronger, with no breaks in between. I looked at Nick and I said, we have to go. I think I just had another ovarian cyst rupture (something I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing multiple times). With no goodbyes to anyone we got up and raced out. In the pouring down rain I begged Nick to just take me home. I didn’t think I needed to go to the hospital and thought if I could just get home to my pain pills (I had from the last time this happened) I’d be okay. 5 minutes later we were in the garage and in an attempt to get inside I fell to the floor. The pain came on even stronger and I looked at him and began to sob and told him there’s no way I could make it, he needed to take me to the hospital. Praise God we had a babysitter there already so he just ran inside, asked her if she could stay longer, grabbed me some PJs, pain pills, and off we went.
I won’t go into all the gory details. I’ll just say, this is about the 4th time this has happened to me. Only one other time did I have to go to the hospital. The others I was able to push through the pain and deal. But this one was different. This one hurt worse than all of those other times combined. And at the risk of sounding totally insane and over dramatic I have to say this next part. I KNOW it sounds crazy, but there is a purpose to me sharing this part. At one point before the pain medicine kicked in, the pain was so intense I felt like I was going to pass out. I couldn’t breath, my heart rate dropped, they had to give me oxygen, and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open it hurt so bad. As I closed my eyes I thought to myself, God, is this your timing? Is this just another cyst, or is it something else? Am I about to die now that I’ve been baptized? And at that moment, whether that was his answer or not (or the medicine kicking in), I felt peace. Peace that if I did die, everything was okay. And peace that if I didn’t, everything was still going to be okay. Like I said, I’m trying not to be over dramatic here, but in THAT moment it’s what I felt. Also, I have to point out, that because I’ve had these rupture before, I knew that you can actually die from it happening if the ovaries become twisted (or so I’ve been told). At that point I didn’t know if it was another cyst, or a burst appendix or something else entirely, but it didn’t feel like something that was going go be over anytime soon and if it was something worse, I was prepared for it (spoiler alert it was the ovarian cyst). The point is, the peace that I had in that moment was only attainable by God himself and following Him in humble obedience.
God’s blessings are meant to point others to Christ, not ourselves, and so I felt like it would be a disservice NOT to share the amount of mental peace I had in that moment. Like David wrote in the Psalms, while his enemies surrounded him and he thought death was near, his love for God and the total peace that came with glorifying Him was enough to have peace in those uncertain moments.
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
The irony in all of this, is that after I got home from the hospital I found that margin we heard about in church service before the baptism. I found my rest, and my time to be still (sure it was forced on me and I could have done without all of the pain, but non the less). In between napping and sleep I sat up and turned the TV on. Before I could choose my Netflix program, I put the remote down and thought, NO. This rest is a gift, instead of the TV why don’t you finish the last few pages of the bible study you were working on this week. Ya’ll. I had about 4 pages left in my week long assignment. You want to know what those 4 pages were about? Baptism. I read Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 28 and more. And each and every verse was about BAPTISM. And how Jesus calls us to do so in following Him. I laughed so hard, called Nick into the room and told him about it. He doesn’t get nearly as excited as I do about these things (but COME ON!). It was almost like God was saying, “Hey! Guess what! If you would just take the time to be with Me each day I’ll keep talking to you.”
So I urge you, if you have felt a stirring in your soul. To learn more about God, to go to church, to take that next step and get baptized, listen to that stirring. Take it from someone who didn’t grow up in a Christian household, or know much of ANYTHING about the bible, there is peace in this life. It’s available to anyone and everyone. No matter how dark your past, how deep your wounds, just take that first step and I promise you won’t regret it.
*Photography by my sweet friend Cassie Canales of Capture Reverie Photography, www.capturedreverie.com