Seeing someone baptized is one of the greatest privileges we have as a church. We love seeing someone move from spiritual death to spiritual life in Jesus; we also love seeing people make a public affirmation of their relationship with God, so that we can welcome them fully into our community.
We baptized Maddie Schlichter (soon to be Pascascio!) at Soma Downtown a few Sundays ago, and we wanted to share her story with everyone.
My Christian journey all started with control. Since I was a little girl, I struggled with always needing to feel in control. My father was a gambling addict, which often left our family in unpredictable situations. From a very young age, worry consumed my mind. I fought for control because I thought if I could control a situation, there would be nothing for me to worry about. Although that never actually reigned true in my life I spent most of my years letting worry and control effect my every action.
I grew going to church fairly regularly, but the gospel was never a huge focus in my household. When I was in high school, I got involved with a student ministry. I joined a Bible study and participated in their regular meetings, but the main reason I was there was because they had a connection to Shepherd Community Center. They brought students down each week to volunteer with youth on the east side of Indy.
After volunteering just once, I was hooked. I fell in love with Shepherd’s mission and the children they served. I volunteered there every day after school for two years. Although I loved it, I was constantly overwhelmed by the children’s situations. For a girl who struggled with worry and control, this setting was incredibly trying. I couldn’t help but take each kid’s story home and I became incredibly burdened to the point where it was really affecting my life in big ways.
Then in May of 2012, Shepherd decided to shut down the particular program that I volunteered at. A group of volunteers and I decided to swoop up the group of kids we had be working with to start a program we would call Like a Lion. As we started our program, our relationships with the families we served only grew deeper. The struggles they faced and the situations they were in broke my heart. I wanted to be able to fix everything and protect all the kids from anything that may harm them and became very discouraged when I couldn’t.
Throughout this whole process, I thought I was a Christian. But instead of believing Jesus was a savior for me, I believed that people who were stuck in these incredibly hard situations were the ones who really needed Jesus. It wasn’t until I started Like a Lion that I really began to assess what I believed. I knew that the hope of Jesus was something I really felt the kids needed to hear, but I didn’t even really know what that meant. I was about to start teaching these Bible studies to the Like a Lion kids, and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.
So, when I started Like a lion, I really dove deep into understanding the Bible and understanding who Jesus really was. This process opened my eyes up to the fact that Jesus wasn’t a Jesus for others, but he was my Jesus too. I realized how incredibly sinful I really am. I realized that my worry and desire for control were really me wanting to be my own God and a savior to the people around me. I realized that by seeking to be my own God, I was never going to be able to succeed. I needed Jesus and I needed to let go of the self-righteous thoughts that convinced me that I was able to save myself.
The process of realizing all of this was slow and painful at times, but the joy found in understanding the true gospel and realizing that I don’t need to have everything under control was so incredibly freeing. I started taking my burdens to the Cross instead of feeling the need to carry everything on my shoulders. I let grace cover me instead of feeling like I needed to make perfect decisions in order to control things best. Although I still struggle with control and worry, I can now remind myself that I serve a God who created us, not to go through this world alone, but to rely on his guidance and love. A God who loved us so much that he sent his son to die on the cross for my sins. A God who is good and a God who I need.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:4-5
So today, I am excited to take the next steps in my walk with Christ by being baptized into his kingdom and diving deeper into my relationship with Him.