I hope you are well and having a blessed day. I am writing you because I have been greatly troubled. I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve tried to get past the things I’ve done.
To backtrack a little bit, I was first baptized into the church when I was thirteen. I remember sitting in the pew doodling and the preacher ending the lesson with if you haven’t yet repented and been baptized, you can be today. So I stopped what I was doing and thought that I should be baptized because that’s what you do and a friend of mine recently has been. I knew that it’s what you had to do to be saved, but I don’t think I did it because I truly believed. I don’t really remember why I did it.
When I was fifteen, I lost my virginity. I knew it wasn’t right. Sinful sexual immorality was an issue for me after that. Then again at sixteen, I was baptized again at church camp. I thought that I should be because I was living sinfully and had committed sexual acts by that age with a few guys. I also thought that I was too young at thirteen to understand what I had done, and I hadn’t truly been dedicated to God. I saw others getting baptized and decided to go ahead and proceed. I think I was remorseful for the things I had done: cursing, sexual immorality, stealing, not living as a Christian. But, I don’t believe I truly repented of my sins or wanted to change after the second baptism because I continued doing those evil sinful things even after.
Further down the road, I enlisted in the military out of high school. I continued living a sinful life of sexual immorality, drinking, partying, cursing, and not truly repentant. I ended up married to someone I fornicated with. My husband believes in God but grew up Catholic. I knew this and married him anyway. I didn’t know he was on drugs and he ended up with a blood infection, having two strokes, hospitalized, and needing rehabilitation. After he can out of a coma and recovered he went to a unit for wounded soldiers. One of his brothers came to help care for him because I had just had our first child. My husband got caught up with a bad crowd and was encroached by his brother to start doing pills again. My husbands brain was still recovering and not working right all this time so I feel he was taken advantage of. My husband ended up committing adultery and we separated for several months.
I was living at an apartment where a lot of other soldiers and their families lived. I started hanging out with other soldiers off duty hours and drank. I ended up committing adultery with another married man a couple times. It stopped when his wife asked me and I gave her my phone and let her see my text between me and her husband. I knew what I had done wasn’t right, I don’t know why I did it. There is really no excuse. It was ungodly, ugly, sinful. Talking about it makes me sick to my stomach as do all of the others things I’ve done in my life.
My husband ended up finding out and, over a rough few months, we managed to try to mend our marriage. I was eventually honorably discharged from the military and my husband medically retired. We moved to Florida where my husband's family was. It was a mistake because my husband ended up doing drugs and by that time I had two kids with him so I called my mom a year later and moved back home. I was going to a church of Christ there off and on but my faith was so weak and I felt like a fraud going. I believed I was not deserving of God or Jesus in my life. My husband ended up leaving a month later and went to inpatient rehab in the state I was in.
Eventually, we were living at my mom's trying to save and fix our credit. We started going to a church of Christ that was started by a brother in Christ who went to the church I had grown up going to. After living the life I had been living and hating myself for so long, I talked to them about being baptized because I just didn’t feel that I had ever really wanted to live for God in my life. I thought I believe in Jesus and his sacrifice but never lived for him or truly repented for all of the awful things I’ve done. So I repented for the things I’ve done and was baptized again. During this baptism, I felt something deep within that was unexplainable like my heart was ready to change.
I’ve felt unworthy of God but other times I feel good in my relationship with God. I feel my outlook has changed so much toward God and Jesus' sacrifice. I want to live for him and I love him and am so blessed by him in so many ways. I live with so much shame and anxiety though from the things I’ve done that I’ve asked for repentance knowing he’s forgiven me. I wake up at night in fear of the things I’ve done, sick to my stomach, and unable to sleep. I feel tortured by my past so ashamed and disgusted that I could have ever sinned against God in so many ways. I see His love for me in my life in so many ways and how much he’s given to me, the most precious gift being his Son. I don’t know how to live with the things I’ve done. I’ve even wanted to commit suicide, knowing that isn’t the answer and what a shameful thing to think. I know my life belongs to God so I know I would never do that, but I’ve thought it many times. I want to fully accept God’s forgiveness, but I always feel double-minded about it. I pray every day, I read my Bible, study, but why do I feel like this? I desire to serve the Lord with every ounce of my being. I sometimes think it’s the Devil tempting me, telling me I’m not worthy of God's love and promises to me. I don’t want to keep living in fear and depression.
I guess I am just writing to you hoping for guidance and encouragement in this matter. I also want to know what you think about my being baptized multiple times. Have I sinned by doing this? Was my first baptism or second legitimate? I would also like to know what godly sorrow is versus the sorrow of the world.
I also want to add that as a child I was sexually abused by an older girl a few times. I was 6 or 7 and she was in middle school at the time. I feel sometimes that this has some effect on me and how I reacted toward sexual immorality. She used to tell me to act like a boy and touch her. I think she just had been abused or something. I’m not making excuses for the things I’ve done because there is no excuse I can make. I think it messed with me mentally though. I’ve never told anyone this in my life. I’ve kept this secret until now.
I’m sorry this was so long and I thank you greatly for your time.
When a child is sexually abused, it is too common for the child to act out inappropriately when they reach adolescence. Some turn to abusing other children. Others decided that it was their fault and they immerse themselves in sexual sin. I've seen some wanting to prove they are not homosexual by committing fornication. It is sort of like trying to predict how parts will fall from an explosion. As you noted, it doesn't excuse what you chose to do, but it is useful to understand the source of the temptations.
Being baptized multiple times is not a sin. You only enter the covenant with God once. A covenant is a lifetime vow between two parties. While a Christian can fail to uphold his agreement and fall into sin, he doesn't need to re-enter the covenant when he returns to God. Thus, in practical terms, it doesn't matter which baptism made you a child of God. The important point is that you are currently a child of God. It doesn't matter what sins you've committed in the past. What matters is where you are going. "Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). So, stop living in the past and start living for the future.
Thank you, so much for responding. Your words have encouraged me and meant a lot. I will continue the good fight.
I have one more question. My husband was raised Catholic but started going to church with me over the last few years. He has admitted he wants to be baptized into the church. He’s admitted he believes what is taught in the Bible. The first time he told me this was over a year ago, but he hasn’t been baptized yet. I’ve asked him what is holding him back, but I don’t get any real answers. I’m wondering what could I do at this point to encourage him to move forward? Or what could I ask him to understand his hesitation?
Thank you so much for your time and for answering my questions.
When you say you don't get any real answers, I wonder if he did answer but it was so far from what you expected or thought was reasonable that you dismissed it as a misunderstanding on your part. Regardless, the decision to become a Christian is something each person must make on his own. You can be encouraging, such as mentioning that you would like to think that the two of you will be in heaven together after this life. But the greatest thing you can do to help is to continue to be a good example of what Christianity is really all about. "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior" (I Peter 3:1-2).