"Well, today is the day! No more wondering what it will feel like. In a little while I will know exactly how it feels..."
Meredith was about to make the biggest step of her life. She had listened to many sermons and attended various meetings like this one which ended with an altar call. But tonight was the night. The hymn being sung seemed to have done something to her heart. She stared into space as the congregation sang:
'Just as I am...O Lamb of God, I Come.'
She quickly wiped the tears as they rolled, so no one could recognise she was crying. She didn't think it was 'cool' for a teenager to be seen in that emotional state. But when the preacher repeated the words of the song it did something to her heart. Then he added:
'Now is the time, don't let another opportunity pass you by. Tonight may be your last chance .'
That teenage credibility went right through the window, as she slowly moved away from her seat and headed down the church isle, where she knelt at the altar.
She closed her eyes as the preacher placed his hands on her head and prayed. Then as he closed in prayer, she joined in with everyone else and said: 'Amen!' She rose with tear-filled eyes and slowly walked back to her seat. As she passed each bench she could see the pleasing look on individuals faces, they were happy she had finally made that step. She reached her seat and sat there in silence. She started to reason:
"I don't know what just happened but I have a feeling it's the start of something new."
She was invited to the new convert's class, where the leaders made sure she understood the step she had just taken and explained the process to follow. That night, as she walked home, she had a mixture of emotions as questions rotated in her head. However, the one question she wanted an answer to, she was afraid to ask:
"Baptism? But I can't swim! What if I drown? I'm only thirteen (13), I have my whole life ahead of me.I can't afford to take that risk!"
Sunday school teachers and youth leaders were congratulating her, the following Sunday, on making the decision to follow Christ. She was not about to show her fears and let them down. They represented authority and she looked up to them all her life, so far. So she kept all those questions to herself. Then as time went by, individuals started to volunteer information about the baptism "Everything will be fine" most would say. Her peers teased her about the decision she made and she started to dread the day itself.
As the date of her baptism drew closer, Meredith daily questioned her decision right upto the moments leading to the pool.
"Here we are in the front row all waiting our turn but I can't seem to stop shaking. What's wrong with me? Everyone else seem so calm? And this net on my head, I wonder why Grandma gave it to me? My hair will still get wet and I'll probably catch a cold as well."
The time had come for Meredith to take that next step:
"Well, today is the day! No more wondering what it will feel like. In a little while I will know exactly how it feels. If I come out alive that is!"
2007 J.S. Ramkissoon
Janice, a freelance writer, lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince and their son, Javin. She uses her gift to encourage others towards a deeper relationship with God, through her inspirational pieces while her travel articles provide general advice for the holiday-maker.