Natalie Shipman's story before she was baptized on April, 29th, 2018 in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
God captured my attention at an early age to the Truth of the Gospel. I could articulate the Gospel for as long as I remember. I knew Jesus loved me. But it wasn’t until college that I truly began to be hungry for the Word and eager to grow in my relationship with my Savior—to grow in my sanctification. I thought this meant that I needed to start making myself look more like Christ. I needed to be more faithful. I needed to read my Bible more. I needed to pray more. I needed to do x, y, and z so that my outward appearance looked more like Jesus. I needed to somehow do more works to make me righteous like Christ. But this often left me feeling utterly depressed. My eyes would be open and I could see and then I would within days be “blind” again to the Joy that comes from the Gospel.
Questions started racing through my mind – what is wrong with me? Why can’t I be happy? Where is my joy? Why is my faith not sustaining me and keeping my head above the waters of life? How can I claim to be a Christian but struggle every single day with depression?
Over the past 6 years, since the birth of my oldest son, Max, I have been shown a great grace in the revelation that I. Am. Not. Enough. I will never be enough. I will never be able to sustain my happiness all day, every day. My faith is not strong enough. I will always feel like I’m drowning in my own efforts. But the good news of Jesus is that I don’t have to be enough. In fact, I cannot be enough! I don’t live up to God’s holiness. I can’t save myself. I can’t be everything to everyone. I am a sinner, but Jesus is sinless. I am often depressed. But Jesus is always pure joy. I will never be enough! But Jesus lived, died and rose again for my sins! His sacrifice was, is and will always be enough. He does the saving.
To Max, Piper, Graham, and my sweet niece Ellie – Being a mom and an aunt is hard for me! I ask your forgiveness for not being enough. But I pray that you can see Jesus in me and see that I am leaning on Him for every ounce of patience, energy, and wisdom He gives me. I am getting baptized today so that you can see Him working in me. This signifies me dedicating my life to obeying and following and relying on Jesus! He already took the punishment that my sins deserve when He sacrificed Himself for all that believe in Him.
His blood has washed me clean and is making me white as snow! Today I go under this water and I know that I never have to feel like I’m drowning again. I never have to feel alone. Instead, I go under this water and emerge to signify my changed life in Jesus! Praise be to God!