Today, I turn 40 and 25….

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Birthday cake candles cake
Today’s my birthday.

I turn 40 years old today.  But more importantly, I turn 25-years old today as well.

Twenty-five years ago today, sometime before noon, I felt called to give my life to Christ through baptism.  It was during a period of time before everyone had cameras on his/her phones, and I didn’t wake up that morning thinking that I was going to get baptized so I don’t have a record of it except my memory.  I might have a bible with the date in it somewhere, but I also didn’t save many things from my youth so I would be surprised if I actually kept that.

I’ve haven’t shared my story of my baptism before, and I want my children to get to know their mama in every aspect, so I’m putting it in writing for the world to know that as I turn forty-years old, I am also turning twenty-five.


I was born and raised a Christian my entire life.

I knew nothing else.  I didn’t attend other churches of other faiths and thankfully, I’ve never known a life without Christ.

Even during some of my dumbest decisions, I know Christ was waiting for me, in the proverbial hallway, waiting for me to open the door I had shut very tightly and was holding closed by my own two hands.

I have a vivid memory of the day I got baptized.

My cousins joined us at church that day, and although we were always, and that’s always, late to church, I remember the Associate Preacher (or pastor) spoke that day.  I couldn’t tell you what the message was about, and I couldn’t tell you what the preachers name was either.  I feel like the Lord doesn’t want me to remember so that I can only give credit to Him for what happened next.

The Church I have attended for the majority of my life has always had a “system” that follows the basic outline:

  • The preacher preaches a sermon until about 1145 AM or so.
  • The preacher then asks the congregation if anyone would like to come forward to give his/her life to Christ or request prayers.
  • There is a song, followed by a baptism if applicable, and then followed by another song and a closing prayer and church is over by noon.

So on the day I got baptized, the preacher completed his sermon and asked if anyone would like to come forward.

The next thing I remember was sitting in the front pew asking the preacher to baptize me.

Just like that. Bible

Later as I recall the moment in time I “chose” to go up to the front of the congregation to ask to be baptized, I felt as if I was being pushed to go up there. I absolutely knew that I was supposed to get baptized that day.  Don’t ask me how, or why, but I truly felt called.

Now because I didn’t plan it, I didn’t have an extra set of clothes, or anything ready to get changed into prior to getting wet.  A few ladies rushed me in this back room behind the baptismal, gave me an adult sized white jumpsuit, and told me to change into it.

I was asked to confess that I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and came to the world to save me from my sins.

After my confession, I remember not being able to breath.

The way another preacher described the moment later in time as I witnessed ten baptisms in a row was exactly how I felt that day:

I remember feeling like I died.


Now listen – I get it.

You may think that’s crazy, and maybe it is.  But that’s the feeling I had.

For the few seconds my body was in the water, something happened to me and the only way to describe it was that I truly believe my old self died.  I was lifted out of that water a new person, still imperfect, but made perfect through Christ.

After I was immersed, and got out of the water, the same ladies that asked me to change brought me a towel and my clothes and as soon as I changed I took my first communion.

I remember my mom crying and hugging me after I came out from the back.  The church had already ended for the day and a few members waited for me to come out from the back of the baptismal to hug me and congratulate me.

My mom, not being prepared at all, took us to Ole Fri-ole for lunch, even though now I know she really couldn’t have afforded it back then.

I remember getting home and calling my dad, and he was sorry he missed the event.  I told him I didn’t know I was going to get baptized that day, and I know he was happy for me.

Overall, I have very straight forward memories of the day.

I remember being tested in my faith soon after getting baptized, and failing those tests.

As I watch people getting baptized now, I recall that day, more than ever, as a time that I didn’t have control of.  If you know me personally at all, I DO NOT like NOT having control.  I can’t stand not knowing what’s going to happen next.

Now that I get to look back at it 25 years later, I realize I wasn’t in control, and I’m so glad.  I feel so blessed to be able to rely on the Lord for those eternal decisions, even when I feel like I made certain choices about it.

Hopefully you don’t read this blog post and think, “Oh boy – D’Andra believes in pre-destination….

No, I really don’t.  I do believe God has a plan.  You can quote me on that.

And I also believe that we as people make choices, whether right or wrong, that the Lord uses for his glory.

It’s my hope that you know the Lord loves you so much that he sent his only Son for you.

It’s my hope that you devote your life to Christ even though you know you are imperfect.  That’s why I need Him.  Because I’m so very imperfect.

I’m so glad I got to be picked to be with Him for eternity.  I hope you make that choice too.  If you have and/or when you do, it’s how you know you were picked too. 😉

Be blessed today.  I’m being blessed because it’s my birthday.  I get to celebrate two birthday’s today and for that, I am eternally grateful.

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Fasting as a Church -Notes on My Experience

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This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

This is the Last Meal I had before starting my fast for 24-hours.

“I used to fast with my mom.”

That’s what I quietly told my husband during church when the preacher talked about fasting the first time in January.

He nodded politely at me when I said it, as he does when he’s trying to concentrate on the sermon.

‘…But I really did fast with my mom.’  I thought. She’s the one who taught me how to do it, but I really didn’t focus on anything or concentrate on anything when we did it.  I just learned to pray, usually about something specific that we had a need for.

Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, when I state “fast” I mean that we skipped a meal, or two, or purposely not eat for a few days.

When I was younger and would fast, it would usually be for something I needed.  Or something that was concerning me.

◊ ◊ ◊ 

The preacher of our church asked us to fast for 24-hours as part of a “Spiritual Arsenal” series he was teaching on during the month of January.

A link to his blog post about the subject and his thoughts are here:

Jason Locke’s Blog: Spiritual Arsenal #4: Fasting

A link to his sermon about the subject is here:

College Church of Christ Sermon – Spiritual Arsenal, 4: Fasting

Essentially what we were to do was to fast for 24-hours, and during the sermon he asked us to fast on a normal work day, either Thursday, January 28th, or Friday, January 29th.  He asked that we consider it worship while we fast, and listen to what the Lord is telling us during that time.  We had a hashtag created for photos (#ccofcfasts) taken during the time and afterwards, and the preacher asked that we break the fast with fellow members (family and friends) and discuss questions about our experience.

Here were his questions:

(1) What was it like to go without food for 24 hours? Was it easy?
(2) Share about a moment when you were tempted to cheat-or cheated.
(3) When you felt hungry, did you pause to pray & listen to God? What was that like?
(4) What thoughts or feelings came to mind as you prayed & reflected?
(5) Do you feel encouraged?
(6) Is this something you’d do again?


My experience….

My husband and I decided on Thursday as our day of fast, and we started after dinner on Wednesday at 630 PM.  This meant that we weren’t going to eat anything until after 630 PM on Thursday.  I considered my running schedule while picking this day, as I wanted to eat the night before running, and eat after my run, and I run on Friday mornings.  See my half-marathon training plan if you want to know more about this.

A photo of the “last meal” (on Wednesday) is shown above, and I had picked pork chops, green beans and brown rice.  I also ensured to have a bit of almond butter as that is my current substitute for dessert.

That evening, although I wasn’t’ hungry, I was consciously aware that I wanted a snack, preferably peanut butter.  I intentionally did not get up to get it, but I found myself acknowledging my craving, yet not being hungry.

I was running late in the morning so skipping breakfast was really easy the next day!

But come 10 AM, break time at work and my time I usually have a snack, I heard my stomach audibly growl.  I took the time to fill my coffee cup, drink some water, write some notes down about this experience and pray.

My husband checked in on me, and here’s how our conversation went:

Conversation for break

The prayer I wrote down in my notes was “Lord, what is it that you want me to focus my prayer on?”

I kept busy during my hunger pangs.

At lunch, I sent my husband this text and as always, he has a quick wit and made me LOL!

Lunch Conversation with hubby

So during lunch, I typed up this blog post, while listening to Jason’s sermon about Fasting.

During the sermon he states the following things that hit me across the head like a brick thrown at me (and I am paraphrasing) –

God tends to show us a real need where we are needy.

The work of the Lord is the real need.

God can speak to us when we are needy.

Did you get hit across the head too?

Jason also goes into how sometimes we don’t like being quiet and needy (and not busy). Sometimes – we’re too scared to find out the problems we have inside.

My confession – I stayed busy.  I admit it.

I was scared what the Lord would tell me.

◊ ◊ ◊

I got through the rest of the day, asking the Lord what to pray for.

As my stomach systematically reminded me that I haven’t eaten since the night before, I closed my eyes and put my head on the back of my chair in my office to focus and pray.

My answers came in waves as I prayed, and I wrote them down in the order I got the thoughts about what and who to pray for.

Pray for Sebastian (my new supervisor);

Jim (his supervisor).

It’s not about me.

My friends.

Being thankful.

Giving Him glory.

After work, I left with a co-worker and we walked together to the parking structure I park in.  During that time, we somehow got into the conversation of how I was surprised how I liked my forced hour-long lunch.  My exercise now consisted of running in the morning even though I couldn’t go to a personal trainer anymore, and I enjoyed the time in the morning with my children that I didn’t have before because I left so early with my previous schedule.  I told him that other than the complaints everyone else has about the work environment, I really couldn’t complain about the change for me.

I said “Good bye”to my co-worker and walked to the car in the parking structure.

When I got settled into the seat of my car, ready to go …

It hit me.

That’s what The Lord was trying to tell me.

Pray for those supervisors and the work environment.

It’s not about me.

Be thankful He’s in charge.

Give Him the glory for knowing what’s best for me and my family.

Everything in the last hour and a half or so before I was ‘scheduled’ to start eating again was what I was I needed to hear/feel/pray for.  I felt the clarity of my situation and what He has done for me really set in.  What I told my co-worker was what I needed to hear.

The meal after the fastbreaking the fastMy husband cooked tri-tip beef cuts in the smoker and we ate a delicious meal after thanking the Lord for it.

As far as the questions, I think I answered some of them in this post.

Would I do this again?

Yes. But – My longer answer is this – I really like doing things like this with other believers.  That’s the part that made this special to me.  Other people I knew were praying during their hunger pangs and not eating at the same time I was.

I felt very encouraged by the preachers personal posts on Facebook, and several others who were going through the fast on the same day we were.

I was also encouraged the next day when we saw many of our personal friends at a house gathering to discuss what happened to us.  Hearing their stories made me feel like we are were all bonded through this and I don’t have the vocabulary to describe how that feels.

It’s just awesome.

I hope this post encourages you to try something new for the Lord, even if it’s not fasting.  Worship can come in many different shapes, sizes and forms, and this was definitely a time to get closer to Him and listen during those tiny times of peace and reflection.  I can’t believe when it “occurred” to me in such a small window of time and after I had to hear myself explain it to someone else.

But that’s just me.

I’d love to hear your story!


My Prayer for January

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Dear Lord,

The thing about being a follower of Christ is that seems so easy is to rely on you.

Yet, the thing that can be hardest for me, a follower of Christ, is to rely on you.

May this year, I rely more on you and not myself.

My January prayerIn a recent sermon, the preacher used a passage (shown in the photo) that I was unfamiliar with because it doesn’t seem to be applicable to me today.

But I was wrong.

I’ve been relying on me too long and it’s not working.

I want to give it all to you Lord.

I’ve been in the church my entire life so I would think it would be easy to consistently renew my mind, but, nah.

I have been and I will be working on getting out of my own way and to put more intentional focus on You, my precious Savior.

The key for me to understanding 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 was this:

My spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful….  I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit but I will also sing with my understanding.

Whoa.

I get it now.  Some people don’t understand what I’m saying when I praise you, the Holy Lord for everything.

I “get” that you provide for me, everything.

I “get” that it’s your possessions I’m taking care of the short while I’m here.

I “get” that your Son is to be glorified in everything.

I understand now and I feel blessed.

It is my prayer that someday I will speak in a tongue that someone else understands.  That someone else will be able to understand how much you, the Lord loves them and only wants the best for them.

Thank you for providing that wisdom my Lord to Jason to pass along to me.

In your Holy and precious name I pray,

Amen.