So, I have the same story as quite a few others. I went to bible school in elementary school and did the ABC's of accepting Christ and "became a Christian." Sure, I've always believed in Jesus, no doubt about that, but accepting Him into my heart at 8 or 9 years old? I don't even think I really understood what I was doing. So that is what leads me to today, June 4, 2017, over 10 years later, being baptized for the first time and rededicating my life.

Of course, I wanted to accept Him at bible school because that's what I was supposed to do right? I had gone to church all of my short life so far, and now was time to make that next step. But what did it even mean? Okay, so Jesus is in my heart, now I have to mind my parents and be good and I'll go to heaven? I don't think I even began to understand what it really meant. And that's no one's fault because, I mean, how do you begin to explain faith to an 8- or 9-year-old when some adults don't even fully understand it? But I accepted Him, and I went home and told my parents and grandparents and everyone was so proud of me. And I really thought I was doing good, praying before bed every night, reading my little children's bible, going to bible drill and Sunday school, I mean, I was the perfect Christian right?

Well, it all seemed easy until I got older.

Faith is so innocent and pure as a child. It just seemed so much easier as a child. But then came middle school, and even worse, high school. It became easier to miss church and sleep in. I felt as if I had too much homework to try to read my bible. Kids started cussing, going to parties, drinking, and the list goes on. The kids who went to church instead of the parties got picked on and called "goody-goodies." If you read your bible in class you got weird looks. It just became easier and easier to drift away from Christ and follow the norm. And I did. I didn't read my bible very much, I hardly ever went to church, I only talked to God when I was questioning Him by asking Him why. I tried harder to be one of the cool kids and tried less to maintain my relationship with God.

But God doesn't let you get too far for too long. He sent some things my way that finally woke me up. From abusive relationships to major health problems to loss of family members and a lot of disappointment and regret, God brought me back. It was slow, but He brought me back. I'm now back in church, I now do my devotional every day, and I pray A LOT, and not just to ask for something, but to thank Him. Am I the perfect Christian? Absolutely not, but I am trying. I see what's important now. In my older mindset, I now am beginning to understand what faith truly is.

So it is perfectly fine if you became a Christian before you really even knew what that meant, and yes you can still call yourself a Christian. But what would that innocent little 8- or 9-year-old say about the way you're living today? That's something I had to ask myself recently, and I came to find she wouldn't be too proud because God deserves so much more. He deserves so much more than a lukewarm follower.

So today is the day that I make that little girl, and Jesus Christ, proud of me again. Today is the day I get baptized.

I know God appreciated that 8- or 9-year-old that tried to her best to follow Jesus so very much. But I know God is smiling down now without a doubt because after stumbling through life, trying to do things without Him, that little girl is back, and now truly beginning to understand why I need Him so much.