Adult baptism is a controversial topic, even among Christians. A young international woman in Berlin, raised by an atheist family, in a relatively faithless country, never expected to be lead to the Lord. At the age of 25, she was baptised into the Freie Evangelische Gemeinde in Germany. She shares her journey to self-acceptance.
I have not always been a believer. In fact, I was formerly an atheist and after Catholic high-school, where I felt completely rejected and learnt the cold isolation of bible-based faith, I solidified my atheism. Last month, however, I made the decision to be baptised into the Christian faith. I agonised over the decision for a very long time, and even had cold feet right up to the day of the baptism. I worried about how it might distance me from my family. I saw it as a cleaving from who and what I previously was, but I knew it’s what I needed. Naturally, it was not a decision to take lightly. And it is not something that just happened overnight, like a light being switched on. It is a decision I made through extensive searching for understanding of myself and the world.
I strongly believe that everyone has a God or God-form, be it a religion, your wife, your children, or your hobbies. Everyone has something that they worship. It is natural to worship. However, many people become confused and take God out of his chair, replacing him with something that doesn’t have God’s fortitude. For my younger self, this was my dancing career. It was a dangerous path – anytime you try to put something or someone else in God’s chair, you will eventually become dissatisfied and disappointed. Nothing has God’s endurance.
I found myself in this very predicament, as I began to recognise the limitations of my body and how very little I can do to prevent losing my physical talent. At this time, I was also struggling through significant family and relationship issues. I was feeling abandoned and rejected. All of the things I could fill God’s chair with were fading and I was left alone.
During this dark period in my life, I also experienced what one might define as divine intervention. I sat on a sofa engulfed in depression, when suddenly an overwhelming sense of joy came over me and I began to laugh aloud for absolutely no reason. This was God’s way of comforting me and showing me that there will one day be reasons to laugh again; all I needed to do was pull through. Naturally, not all people come to find their faith through hardship. Certainly faith does heal, but some people go through their whole lives being faithful to God and never experiencing suffering or a divine experience. I do think that I would have found my way to God with or without this experience. However, it was certainly the catalyst that sparked my curiosity, and from that moment on I began to search for a faith that fit.
Through connections in France, a church in Berlin was recommended to me. The community retains highly orthodox practices within a modern setting, something that I had never seen before. I had finally found an open, judgement-free community, and I felt more accepted than I ever had. I also found a basis to work on self-acceptance – a task many never even recognize as necessary. Though I do teeter, I no longer feel pressured to find an external sense of security. God is my security. Jesus is my rock. I can finally breathe. It was this overpowering sense of acceptance, comfort and contentment that lead me to my choice to be baptised. I could have kept searching, kept looking for something to settle my restlessness, or I could just face the reality that what I had been looking for my whole life was to be accepted into the house of the Lord.