Pictured above: Gabrielle and Alice embrace after Gabrielle is  

Pictured above: Gabrielle and Alice embrace after Gabrielle is  “raised in the newness of Christ”.

I spent my life in church, but did not understand what the Gospel was. Starting in my fifth grade year I suffered from extreme depression, to the point of cutting and suicidal thoughts. Constant fear, heart-pain, anorexia, self-induced sleep deprivation, and even my self-loathing were all awful, but compared to the feeling of being alone they were nothing. In an attempt to feel closer to the Lord and change my life I decided to be “baptized” when I was 12. Although I made an outward profession of faith, my heart was not changed and I did not have a relationship with the Lord.

Several years later, on Easter of 2013, I was at a church in Bend, Oregon at the end of my rope. I decided to pray, “God either you are going to do something or I am going to kill myself.” I was not expecting an answer, yet I found myself on my knees bawling, overcome by the presence of the Lord God Almighty. He spoke telling me I was actually loved and was far from alone. That I was His. With that one encounter, my life was entirely changed forever. By God’s grace I have not suffered from depression since and rather rest in the gracious love of my dear Father in Heaven.

But though my life was changed and I was saved, I still didn’t clearly understand the Gospel. So God in all His infinite mercies, shortly after I was saved, brought along Benjamin (my now-husband). Through our relationship and conversations he naturally discipled me, explaining the Gospel in depth and teaching me of the Lord’s character. In the past 8 months I have also been able to develop a deep friendship with Alice. Also through natural discussion she has discipled me. By opening not only her home but her heart as well, she has shown me what it means to love and be generous like Christ.

In the past few months I have felt the presence of the Lord more times than ever before. I have had moments of elated, euphoric joy and also stinging, burning conviction. As I witnessed our fellow Hallows member Andrei go into the water and rise again, I rejoiced with him, feeling the excitement of watching someone publicly profess their dedication to Christ. Simultaneously the conviction grew as I felt embarrassment and guilt flood over me. For the past 3.5 years plus I have shrunk at the mention of baptism, wanting to ignore that conversation. I got dunked in a tub when I was 12, I’m covered I thought, yet could never fully ignore the gnawing feeling of disobedience. Part of me longs to hide from this shame of blatant disobedience. But yet more of me longs to run into my Savior’s sweet arms and cry to Him.

And so here I stand, proudly proclaiming I am His. I publicly profess my deep need for Christ and wish to die to myself that I might live for Him. I acknowledge God is Lord over my life and Christ is my Savior. I am so excited to be able to not just say that, but back it up with my actions!