May 27th is a special date for me. It's both a birthday and an anniversary of sorts. Let me explain.
Way back on May 27, 1992, I was a young mother. Taylor, my oldest son, was fifteen months old and I was a stay-at-home mommy. It was a Wednesday. Our normal routine consisted of me putting Taylor down for a nap after lunch and I'd take one myself. That day, however, I couldn't sleep. As I lay on my bed, I had a strong urge to read my Bible. Now, today that would not be anything unusual. My Bible is a huge part of my life nowadays, but back then it wasn't, I'm ashamed to say. Even though I grew up in a Christian home, went to church regularly, and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior as a young girl, reading my Bible at home wasn't something I did very often.
My parents gave me the Living Bible for Christmas in 1980, just a few months before I graduated from high school. Mom wrote this inscription: "To Michelle, With our love ~ Mom and Dad, Christmas 1980, Psalms 119:11." If you're not familiar with that particular psalm, let me quote it for you:
"I have thought much about your words, and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin." (The Living Bible)
I like the NIV version too:
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."
My parents understood how important the Word of God is and wanted to make sure I did too.
But back on May 27, 1992, I wasn't thinking about all of this. I was tired and would have rather slept, but God had other plans for me that day. I took out that Living Bible. I imagine I flipped through the pages -- I don't recall specifically -- but somehow I landed in John 6. Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He refers to himself as "The Bread of Life." (v. 35) He talks about those who have seen him and yet still don't believe.
But it was verses 37 through 40 that captured my heart that day.
"But some will come to me -- those the Father has given me -- and I will never, never reject them. For I have come from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to have my own way. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the Last Day. For it is my Father's will that everyone who sees his Son and believes on him should have eternal life -- that I should raise him at the Last Day."
Reading those words that day opened my eyes to something I hadn't understood up until that point. I realized that while I had ALL of Jesus, He didn't have ALL of me! And He truly, truly wanted ALL of me! He didn't want to lose me! He was willing to fight for me. He was willing to die for me!
That day -- May 27, 1992 -- I surrendered everything to my Lord Jesus Christ. I fell to my knees there in my bedroom and wept tears of repentance. Tears of overwhelming gratitude. And tears of pure joy as the Holy Spirit filled me to overflowing in a way I had never experienced. Just as Jesus said in Acts 1:5, I was baptized with the Holy Spirit right there in my ordinary house, on an ordinary day, with my baby sleeping down the hall and my husband away at work.
What an amazing day that turned out to be! My life has never been the same!
Fast forward nine years. For some time, the Lord had been asking me to get water baptized. If I'd ever been water baptized as a child -- and not only could I not remember but my mom couldn't either -- it wouldn't have been by submersion anyway. Our little Nazarene church in Santa Fe, New Mexico did not have a baptistry and I suspect most everyone was either sprinkled with water or taken to another church or swimming pool. So, being that I had no vivid memory of such a special event, it made sense that I should be baptized as an adult.
Problem is...I didn't want to. It had nothing to do with my not wanting to make a public profession of my faith. I was happy to tell the world that I belonged to Jesus! It had everything to do with my vanity. Yes, you read that correctly. I didn't want to get up in front of the whole church and look like a drowned cat.
So I made excuses. For two years.
"I want to be baptized in a river." "I want to be baptized in the Jordan River." On and on. When I finally couldn't fight the Holy Spirit any longer, I went and told my pastor I was ready to be baptized. Knowing I'd been using excuses for a while, he grinned and said, "I'll put some fish in the baptistry for you." (Love and miss Pastor Greg Mills!!)
On May 27, 2001 I was baptized. It felt sooooo good to be obedient to the Lord! (And no, there weren't any fish in the baptistry!) My reward came a few months later when a friend from church who'd been raised in the Catholic faith told me she was going to be re-baptized as an adult because of my example. How cool is that?!
This Sunday is May 27. Don't you know I'll be reliving some wonderful memories of the day I was reborn and the day I was dunked for Jesus!
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to me!!
P.S. If you have never given ALL of you to Jesus or been baptized and need some encouragement to get'er done, shoot me an email at michelleshocklee@michelleshocklee dot com. I'd love to walk through the amazing experience with you!
This week's Prayer Shout-Out countries are:
USA, United Kingdom, Philippines, Maldives, Russia, Norway, Germany, Kenya, Canada, Indonesia, Georgia, South Africa, India, China, Slovenia, Mexico, Ireland