She stepped into the waters silently and she stood. The pastor began to share, with her permission, of how she came to this place. She wasn't proud of the past or ashamed, it was just the truth of her experience and how she came to grace.
He spoke of the pain medication that was prescribed in her mid-teens to treat a physical problem and how the desire to be without pain led to the addiction that grew to relieve the other pains of life. He spoke of how the desire to numb led to other substances and eventually an expensive cocaine habit. He told how the habit bred desperation and the willingness to sell her body, herself, to maintain the high. Then, he told about the grace that rescues. He explained the process of baptism is not what saves, but is only an outward expression of an inward change that has already occurred, by grace, through faith.
As she was immersed in the waters, buried with Christ in baptism, and lifted from them, raised to walk in new life, my heart leapt.
She could have kept her redemption story private, since it was the first impression that many in this new family would have of her. I hope she knows how glad I am that she shared. How she's not alone in this.
Maybe my story didn't involve the same paths as hers, but who among us hasn't tried to turn to someone or something other than God to ease our pains? Who among us hasn't used or misused our body for a temporary pleasure...overindulgence in food or drink, inappropriate physical relationships, the silent attitude of a prideful heart about the way we appear to others?
May I never cheapen the grace shown me, by comparing my depravity to another. My need for redemption was great, but the love and grace of my God was greater.