As God is in the mission of drawing men and women to Himself, He waits for us with open arms, accepting us for who we are no matter what.
Enjoy Cyndi’s story of how she learned this truth, love, and acceptance, and join us this weekend to celebrate her baptism!
My name is Cyndi and I grew up in a strong, wonderful, faith-filled family. My parents loved my sister and me and worked hard to make sure we had everything we needed. Somehow though, I struggled with my self-esteem. I never really felt like I “fit in.” I had a few close friends but never a large circle of friends to do things with even into college. One experience I remember vividly is when I didn’t get into a much desired sorority, and I felt so devastated and unaccepted.
I didn’t date much at all, so when I met my husband in college I finally felt “accepted.” We had two beautiful daughters, and I put everything I had into being their mother and being a teacher – the two places I felt successful and accepted. But my lack of self-esteem created difficulties in our marriage, and it ended after 11 years. I was so distraught. I left the church because I didn’t feel accepted due to my divorce. I struggled with who I was and prayed very little.
I ended up meeting someone else and getting married again. Unfortunately, that marriage lasted less than three years. As my marriage was falling apart and I was feeling unaccepted yet again, I knew I needed something more in my life. Turning to people to find acceptance and validation was not enough.
A friend had posted a video of the music group at Grace, and I loved it! It spoke to me and touched my heart as music often does for me. I attended Grace with her the first Sunday of the New Year three years ago, and I felt a flood of love and peace. I knew I had to keep attending. I felt the peace and love of Jesus like I hadn’t ever felt before. I joined a small group, and they supported me through my second divorce. They, along with the music at Grace and the often timely and meaningful messages from Mitchel, showed me that the Lord accepts me for who I am and that He loves me no matter what. Mitchel often says we are all broken people, and I felt like Grace was a place where I was accepted and I began to feel a new closeness to and love of the Lord.
In January 2016, I wrote in my journal one of my favorite scriptures – Jeremiah 29:11 – “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
2016 was a year of ups and downs. I saw my youngest graduate from high school and go off to college, leaving me an “empty nester.” I saw my father’s health deteriorate as dementia overtook his mind and body until he left us to go home to the Lord in September.
When faced with such a difficult time of being alone, I asked the Lord to be my Savior and to walk alongside me as I live my life. I continued praying and singing those beautiful songs and listening to the messages at Grace. I joined Women’s Connections after my dear friend – and side by side partner – Juli suggested it. I found a new way to experience the Lord’s love for me and acceptance of me through Juli and these women. Jesus has become a part of my everyday life, and I know He is guiding me into a new life with Him at the center of it all. I know He is with me through the ups and downs and that I can count on Him no matter what!
Jesus is what was missing from my life. He is my Savior who died for me so that I can be saved and have eternal life. He is the one whom I can trust through all things in life.
I knew there was one more thing I wanted to do for me and for the Lord. I decided to be baptized as an adult to proclaim to Him and to others that He is my Lord and my Savior. I thank Him for loving me in my brokenness and accepting me and loving me where I am. I know now that He is with me. I may still struggle with accepting myself, but I know He has plans for me and I trust in Him and love Him for all He has done and continues to do in me and through me.
Baptism at Grace
During all worship gatherings on Baptism Weekends, we celebrate the very reason we exist as a church: Christ’s mission to make disciples, baptizing and teaching in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 19-20). We share testimonies of how Jesus changes lives now and for eternity. And the best part… we baptize with a joy that’s out of this world!