I grew up in a loving church going home. My parents, sister and I attended church every Sunday, and that was very important to us, but that is where we left God. I believed that God loved me, but there was very little mention of God during the week. If someone asked if I was a Christian, I’d probably say “yes.” But, I couldn’t really explain why. I was a “good” kid. I did well in school and was well-liked by my friends and teachers. I would say that my security was found in those things.
But, one day that changed. When I was 14 my dad died unexpectedly while on a business trip. I was heart-broken, lost and my relationship with my mom really suffered. Without really realizing it, I was angry that my dad was gone. I was angry that our family had changed. I realized though that what I was putting my security and faith in wouldn’t last and was really meaningless.
Two weeks later I went on a youth retreat with Young Life. It was there that I really heard and understood that Jesus loved me, died on the cross for my anger and hurt, and only he could fill the void I had in my life. So, I asked Jesus to fill that void in my life, and he did.
I wish I could say that when I came back my anger was gone and that I suddenly had a good relationship with my mom, but that didn’t happen. When I came home from that weekend I had a new perspective on life and death. I knew that God does all things for a reason and that good could come out of my dad’s death. Throughout my teen years I grew in my relationship with Jesus by reading my Bible, attending Bible studies, and getting more involved in church and Young Life, but it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that my relationship with my mom began to heal. God softened my heart towards her and helped me deal with the anger I felt. She died four years ago, but I’m grateful that God allowed us many years of a good relationship.
Another way I can see God working in my life is that I don’t often live in fear that my husband is going to die while he is on a business trip. When I begin to become anxious I can remember that God is in control of all things and he tells me to not fear because he is always with me.
I’ve been attending Grace for over 20 years and as I’ve watched many people get baptized I never really considered it myself. I knew that Jesus has made a difference in my life. That was all that mattered. But, in the past year, especially since one of my daughters has been talking about being baptized, I thought it was time to tell the church that I am a follower of Jesus, and he has made a difference in my life. So that is why I am being baptized today.
— Joanne DiMaggio, Getting Baptized July 2018
Interested in getting #dunked during our July Baptism Weekend?