I grew up in church and was baptized as an infant. At a young age, I heard the gospel and understood that I needed Jesus. I didn’t really understand what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ for quite some time and spent most of my childhood worrying that something I did or didn’t do would somehow affect my salvation.
Later in life, I went through a series of very hard times. I felt like I was experiencing back-to-back trials without an end in sight. My trials included mental health issues, an eating disorder, physical health issues, and my mother’s diagnosis with breast cancer. During those times, I intensely craved physical and emotional healing and renewal.
I initially responded by distracting myself from resting in what Christ has done for me by becoming very busy. I started putting my worth in what I did. At some point I experienced such a hard time that my functionality was reduced to just surviving each day. I was unable to do any of the things that I valued so much and had no choice but to reach out to God.
My brokenness on a physical and emotional level helped me to realize how much I needed to rely on Christ. And this pointed me towards how Christ’s body was broken so that I could one day be fully healed in heaven. I could experience joy and hope on this earth even in the hardest times. My desire for healing and renewal then became spiritual. I knew my life was full of sin and that I needed a Savior.
Eventually I realized that I was missing out on experiencing God’s mercy and grace by attempting to define myself by my abilities and functionality instead of my identity in Christ. Instead of being scared that my actions would somehow affect my salvation or my value, I finally accepted that salvation comes from God alone. I now know nothing I can do will add to or take away from my salvation. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life,” (ESV). My salvation comes through belief in Jesus, not through anything I do.
Because of Jesus alone, I have a secure hope in one day being fully healed in heaven. Because Jesus died and rose again, he paid the price for my sins so that I am now a child of God. That is my reigning identity. No affliction can ever take my identity in Christ away from me or take away my purpose in life. My purpose in life is to glorify God, whatever situation I may be in, however hard the season of life is, and to worship him.
My friend and mentor Sarah, youth group leaders, Bible study friends, and my parents have all been influential in my spiritual journey. I am incredibly grateful for the many Bible studies they have invited me to and to my parents for helping me to stay connected with a church and youth group while growing up.
Right now, I am trying to figure out what it looks like to be an ambassador for God wherever I am planted. I have an opportunity to serve him and be a witness exactly where I am right now, and in each season of life I am excited to see who he has placed in my life for me to minister and witness to. Now that I am on the other side of many of the challenges in my life, I am sharing my story with the hope of being able to reach out to people with a similar story and point them towards God and the hope that he offers.
I have been looking for a new church recently, and many of the churches I have visited have emphasized baptism as a believer. This was something I hadn’t really considered before, and after thinking and praying about it I decided that I would love to make a public declaration of my faith through baptism as a believer.
— Amy McNamara, Being Baptized April 2019
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