On 04 June 2023 at Caringbah Baptist Church, Ines was baptised. This is her story.
How graciously God always looked after me although I didn’t know Him.
I was not born a Christian, nor did I know God or have any faith.
Growing up for me was filled with endless love I got from my parents. I had a very sheltered up bringing, I didn’t miss out on anything. I was baptised as an infant, went to a Catholic school, had my confirmation, and my family would go to church for Easter and Christmas services. My parents gave us a good set of morals and my understanding of sin was confessing it to a priest twice a year in a small wooden chamber. Prayer only happened at church. That all didn’t look bad on a religious resume that I thought for sure would get me up to heaven one day. After all, I always tried to follow God’s commandments that I learnt at school.
It turns out there was a lot more to it than I thought.
Although I didn’t know what it meant to have a personal relationship with God, I always felt a spiritual pull in my heart, especially during my twenties when I was travelling around the world. I was exposed to the concept of karma, but this was not as inviting as it seemed on the surface. I always believed and felt that there was a God somewhere around me, but I had no idea how to get close to Him – or maybe I didn’t feel I wanted to because my life seemed really good on the surface.
I believe it was God who pulled me in the right direction and never stopped stirring that feeling in me. I finally questioned if there is more to this life than the world makes us believe there is.
After the sudden passing of my father six years ago I really started to question where we go after we die and if there is a heaven after all. I also started to struggle with anxiety about death and losing loved ones.
It was around this time that I met my beautiful friend Sammy who introduced me to Caringbah Baptist Church. At first my husband and I just wanted to find a church for our family so that my kids could learn about God and would get the same moral compass we got as children. Never would I have imagined the plans that God had for me and my family. I still remember Sammy asking me if I saw Jesus as my saviour and I had absolutely no clue what she meant. But my curiosity grew and the pull in my heart became bigger and bigger. I was excited to learn more and more about Jesus and God.
It is hard to put into words or explain what it is like to really feel the Holy Spirit in your heart. He makes you so humble and the Word of God suddenly makes sense and becomes so true to you.
When I found myself at the start of 2023 really sick and in hospital, there was nothing left other than God’s presence. I was too weak to talk, get up, walk, or even have my kids visit me. But God was right there. He was the only hope. I felt every single prayer prayed by so many beautiful friends. This was a time when my heart really changed and a deep trust in God sunk in. I realised that He is the only one who can take all my anxious fears and worries away.
When the Word of God becomes real to you, you start to understand how everything written in the Gospel reflects on your life. I now understand Sammy’s question of if I see Jesus as my saviour. God is the only one who forgives all your daily sins with so much grace. Before I was very quick to become angry and impatient, and I was always striving to achieve a certain perfection in my life. I didn’t feel worthy enough based on outside factors.
It’s as if I had to carry a full backpack of rocks up a steep hill until Jesus came asking me to hand it over to Him. I don’t have to carry that backpack of mistakes, shortcomings and limitations. When you stop chasing superficial things in your life, a sense of contentment sets in just by being in the moment. I realised that only through and with God could I truly enjoy anything in life. This is a trust that can take any fear away. My fear of death since my father passed away is gone because of Jesus’ promise of eternal life.
Praying has a new meaning to me. I don’t have to be at church to pray, I can do it anytime of the day – with my kids in the car, at work, in the shower – He listens. God guides me in my marriage and relationships with my kids, He gives me patience, He makes me humble when I’m walking with others, and He gives me empathy and compassion. God made me realise that He knows what is best, as hard as it is sometimes. So even when things don’t go as I want them so badly to go, I can trust in Him. Whenever I worry about my kids or loved ones, I know that God is already walking in their tomorrow. This trust is hard to explain but it will free you.
Today I pray, God, that I will always seek You first in everything I do, every decision I make, every joy I feel, every smile on my kids face, every moment with my husband, every sunrise I see, every gratitude I feel, and every worry I have. Thankyou God for everyone in my church, and for their prayers and faithfulness. Thankyou God for Sammy always being by my side and being my shepherd so I could find my faith. Thankyou God for the ladies in my bible study group and how they are teaching and inspiring me with their wisdom.
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
People responding to the game changing news of Jesus is at the heart of the Gen1K vision and our ‘why’ as Baptists, which is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, sign and deed, together. As we head towards National Baptism Week on the 15-22nd October, there are a few things we want to share with you! Visit https://nswactbaptists.org.au/national-baptism-week-2023/ to find out more.