“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
My eternity was decided long ago when I was saved as a young girl and accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. Less than a year later, I decided to be baptized in the church we attended, surrounded by immediate family. These two events I credit to the prayers and work of my grandmothers, both born-again Christians, who regularly spoke of the freedom Jesus provided them.
My parents and grandparents taught me the basic principles of the faith: Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, He died for our sins, and He rose again three days later. I believed those principles even as a little girl. And it is without question the Lord has been watching over me every moment since. I was saved, but I wasn’t free, far from it. I lacked biblical knowledge, possessed no spiritual discipline, and had no personal relationship with my savior.
As I grew into my teen years, insecurity ran rampant in my mind, as it does for many girls. Instead of seeking the confidence and love, only Christ can provide a young girl, I sought it in attention from anyone and everyone. Friends, coaches, teachers, and boys. Boys. Boys. Men.
That insecurity followed me into my early twenties, spinning me into regretful decision after regretful decision that filled me with a deep shame and self-hatred that I could not shake in any way. I lay in bed with my shame every night and believed, to my core, that all I ever would be were the bad decisions I had made.
I was spending my eternity in heaven, but in this life, I was chained to my regret and insecurity.
You couldn’t have found an ounce of self-confidence in me. I was utterly broken.
Yet, God was there. When I look back on specific instances in my life, it is clear, without a doubt, that God was protecting me and leading me to him.
When I turned 24, God started reaching out to me. He was soft and quiet. He was slow but consistent. A stark contrast from the loud and relentless noise of my life. It started small. He’d place a popular pastor on the radio or TV; it would spark my interest for a few minutes. I’d end up listening to the entire sermon in my living room. This happened more times than I could count.
Eventually, I felt the Lord call me to attend a church service. I’d been watching them on TV for over a year before I made the move; where was I even to go? My church attendance was limited to Christmas and Easter with my parents. I lived in a different city now, and none of my friends attended church.
I picked a church a girl I knew from college used to work at. She no longer attended, but I’d seen her post about it and decided this was my best option. I walked in, sat in the back, listened to the service, and walked out. Not one interaction with another human. I’d attend service every Sunday for six months before that would change.
Then, God asked me to open my Bible. The problem was that the only Bible I owned was an old KJV and opening that felt like opening a book written entirely in gibberish. How was I even to understand this?
At 25, I sat with my brand-new purple NIV bible and opened it. Where to start? I wasn’t sure. I had never read the Bible on my own. So, I started in the beginning.
God had started something in me, and I would never be the same. It was slow, and I constantly stumbled. Bad decision-making plagued me daily. But each day, I grew more and more stable.
What happened next was a complete transformation of my heart and soul. It took over 6 years for the work to be done and if I’m honest…it’s still being done.
A few years later, I felt God instruct me to create Biblically Blonde. I started leading in-person bible studies for women and served in my church. It was evident to anyone who knew me personally that God had been doing a new work in me. But…I wasn’t free.
Each night, alone and tormented by my mind, the deep insecurity I felt as a young teen overcame me, and every wrong decision I’d ever made replayed in my mind. My insecurity and regret never truly left me, which prepared the way for shame to enter my heart.
The shame was softer than before. It didn’t overtake my days like it once did. I knew who I was, and I knew God forgave me. I knew my soul was safe. God loved me, and I was confident in that. But I hated myself. I hated the girl in the mirror.
Somewhere along the way, I started believing this was the walk God had for me. I’d serve him but still had a low view of myself. Maybe that was the humility the word always talks about…(it’s not). I may have been forgiven but that didn’t change how bad of a person I was, or so I believed.
In the spring of 2023, my husband and I joined a freedom group within our church. I didn’t have high expectations; I was already saved and assumed these groups were for the “new Christians.” I was wrong.
Throughout the 12 weeks, I met weekly with a small group of women, hearing their stories, learning from their walk, and praying with them in trials. We weren’t best friends; some I was closer than others with. I didn’t leave each night declaring the change over me; this was much more gradual. God used this group to teach me to trust and show vulnerability to other women…something I’d seldom done. I’ve always been very vocal about the saving power of Christ in my life but rarely provided specifics about the demons keeping me up at night.
After the group was a conference. Yep, another church conference. I had little expectation, and the night before, I was tempted to not go. Having attended a men’s group all semester, my husband decided we were going, no exceptions. So…I went.
This conference was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Instead of listening to people speak all day, we spent time with God in prayer the entire day. Throughout the day, we’re given points for reflection and repentance and then prayed and prayed. Hundreds of men and women praying to God in one room. The women I’d opened up to in the previous 12 weeks were next to me, holding my hand and wiping my tears as I did the same for them. It was life-changing.
During this conference, I laid it all down to Christ in prayer. He already knew everything, of course…but I surrendered it all.
I couldn’t move on from my past shame because I refused to let it go. I held a firm grip on every memory, refusing to set them down at his feet. This time, I gave it all to him. Every single moment of my life was given to him.
Then, when I gave it all to him, he took it all away.
I asked for the baptism of the holy spirit and received it. (I’ll write on that later) and was prompted by the spirit to be water-baptized again. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward change, and I certainly was changed. When our pastor asked if anyone would like to be baptized, I rose and publicly declared I belonged to Christ.
As I waited in line, songs of praise playing around me as person after person was emersed into the water, I reflected on that young girl who so long ago was baptized in front of her family. This time, not a single family member besides my husband was present. I was thankful for that experience as a young girl; it was genuine and honest for that little girl then.
God had been walking with me for years and years, leading me to this moment. Whereas an adult woman with scars, demons, and strongholds, I recommitted my life to Christ in front of the ones who knew the worst about me and still embraced me, just as Christ always has.
In the weeks since I’ve learned how to truly live in the freedom God granted me. It wasn’t a magical spell or a haze; it required daily commitment and communication with the Lord (still does). If I allow myself to dwell or ruminate on memories or negative thoughts, I can feel the prison of self-hatred return, but it is only brief.
I remind myself who I am and the plan he has for me. I will put on a worship song or repeat memorized scripture. I try to remove worldly or secular influences as best I can and focus on the glory of God. I give the feeling to Christ, ask him to take it away, and continue doing the next right thing. These steps help me realign my mental footing and truly live how God desires for me. Paul’s words in Romans truly make sense to me now. It is when I give it all to Christ I can fully live.
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24