What you are going to read is something that not many people can understand. If you think that, at some point, there is something wrong with this story, maybe you should stop reading. No offense. I’m not naïve or arrogant, I just want to share a supernatural experience that I just had. It’s so beautiful to me, and I don’t want to ruin it with never-ending arguments. It is quite personal and I actually didn’t want to share it, but there are probably people out there who are facing the same situation as I did, so I decided to take a risk and hope this could be a blessing for those people.
I: “What if, as your 25th birthday present, you gave yourself to God through baptism?”
Me: “I’ve been baptized before and I don’t want to do it just because it’s my birthday.”
I: “Hey, pause for a moment here. Look back on these past few months. Where are you now in your spiritual life?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m flying with Him. A lot of times, my logic catches up, though. I don’t know what God is doing in me but yes, I see that I have been changed.”
I: “You said to me you had a feeling that this was just the beginning, right?”
Me: “Yes. It scares me sometimes, but I feel that He is leading me to a greater journey that lies ahead.”
I: “Then use this baptism as a milestone. Remember when you started flying with Him.”
Me: “But, are you sure? Is it allowed? I was baptized when I was 17, even though it was just the one where they sprinkled water on me. I don’t care the way they did it, it was still a baptism.”
I: “You didn’t live your life with me back then. You were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but didn’t believe that I existed. But now, we are best friends! Come on.”
Me: “I am sorry about that, but I truly thank you for being alive in me, I’ve grown a lot.” (I started crying and feeling guilty for some reason.)
I: “Yes, but you haven’t only grown in faith. Who you are now is different from the 17-year-old Bebe; totally not the same. Thank you for inviting me and letting me work in and through you.”
Me: “But what will people think of my faith then?”
I: “Just focus on God. Ask Him if He really does want you to be baptized this time. I think this will be a nice gift that you can give to Him.”
Me: “Okay, I’ll ask Him.”
I: “And read the Bible, especially the passage about Jesus’ baptism.”
This conversation occurred after I’d seen the announcement for the September 2012 baptism class for the first time. The conversation above was between me and who, you ask? I think you know the answer. Since that day, I had been bringing this issue into my prayer. After a few weeks, I decided to find someone who could understand.
On Sunday, I found Mrs. Ruth at ICA East, delivering a sermon about a “new season.” After the service, I shared my struggle about baptism with her and, unexpectedly, she prayed over me. It was overwhelming. I had never known her before, but suddenly it felt like we were long lost friends who had just found each other again. A message that I got from her was “go and do what Jesus did.”
I continued to pray about it and met my awesome pastor, Pastor John Taylor. When I told him of my struggle, he said the same thing; that it was not about being baptized twice, but about being conscious of my decision and earnestly wanting it with all my heart. He also said he wanted to be the one to baptize me.
I decided to obey God. I was at the stage of learning to obey Him, so I didn’t care about what people might think because I should respect God more than them. So if they were going to judge me, then that would be their business with God. I was just obeying Him.
The baptism was going to be held in the same week as my birthday. I did not expect a surprise or a gift from anyone, but I expected the unexpected from God – something supernatural that is not for me, but for my soul. I can’t even describe it, but I hope you get what I mean. My soul rejoiced throughout the week, though not for September 5th, which was my birthday, but for September 8th, the day of the baptism. Weird, huh?
On my birthday, I could see how much people cared for me, and I was overwhelmed by their greetings and wishes. It meant one more year had passed, one less year from my time in this earthly body. But on the baptism day, it was something for my eternal life. I believe the baptism was a door that led me to other experiences with God.
My 25th birthday wish was to give myself to God by getting baptized. As I’ve said before, it was a “me and my God” moment and I wanted to use the opportunity to thank the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I thanked the Father for the fact that I had always been able to tell Him anything and everything about my life. I thanked the Son for being obedient and willing to go down to earth in order to die and redeem me, and I thanked the Holy Spirit for making me understand the beauty and sweetness of having a relationship with Him.
On September 8th, 2012, witnessed by my parents and my ICA family, I was baptized by immersion by ICA’s “John the Baptist.” It was a privilege to be baptized by him, by someone who had been watching out for me, mentoring me, and praying for me and my journey with God.
As I went into the pool, Pastor John suddenly gave a short testimony about me. After he was done, I asked him to pause for a minute because I wanted to savor the moment and remember the faces that were there. This baptism was one of the best moments of my life. Thank you to those who have prayed for me, encouraged me, and were there to support and officially welcome me to the body of Christ.
Before the baptism, I asked my sister to write “obedience” on my right hand to remind me that what had happened that day was a part of it – of being obedient to God. The T-shirt I wore when I got baptized was the same one in the picture of me with my birthday cake because, to me, both of these events are connected.
Here is the testimony that I read out loud from the pool just before getting baptized:
“I’ve been baptized before, but that was because I was told to. I didn’t feel anything. I was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but I never gave the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in my life.. You were the One who asked me to get baptized again today as my 25th birthday present from me to You. You are my everything. You’ve saved me and called me Your beloved. As a birthday present from my earthly body to my soul for eternity and as an act of obedience to You, I will remember this day.. This is a milestone in my love story with You; the beginning of a greater journey. I know You’re smiling at me now. I want to be a woman after Your own heart. I want people to see you in me and marvel at Your presence. Here I am. I love You, Lord!”
“Widianti Gunawan Wijaya, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…”
Surabaya | 110912 | written by BeBe | Edited by Sefanya Hiennadi