My Testimony & Baptism

November 17, 2014

Yesterday was a really special day for me. I was baptized in front of my family, friends, and church family. God's love and grace is simply unparalleled, and has truly reshaped my life. His desire for me, for all of us, to be in His kingdom is so humbling. And it was an honor to share my testimony with those at Blacksburg Christian Fellowship Sunday morning. I couldn't ask for a better community to call my church home. 

After a pre-church breakfast with my parents, sister, and husband, my baptism, and lunch with friends and more family, I spent the rest of Sunday relaxing and cat napping with husband by the fire. We rounded out the night with our House Group and a milkshake. I'd say it was a beautiful day. If you're interested, I have shared my testimony below. 

Hi, I’m Astleigh Hill. I write and design at VCOM, I’m married to my best friend, and in my spare time I enjoy blogging, baking, and all things creative. But, first and foremost I am the Lord’s and although it took me many years to figure that out, I am so thankful I did.

My story starts as a little girl. I grew up going to church, singing in the children’s choir, and attending Sunday school.  From an early age I knew about God and His son, Jesus. And I thought that was all there was to it. So I didn’t seek more, tucking Jesus away for good keeping while I went on with life according to my plans.

Then a few years ago I was told what it meant to be “saved”, a word that had been foreign to me my entire life. To be saved was to be spared from an eternity apart from God, and in knowing this, I knew being saved was what I wanted. So I prayed for Christ to come into my life. However, I didn’t search for a community of fellow believers, and I didn’t attend church, nor even look for one. I simply didn’t understand that I could have a relationship with Jesus and that He wanted one with me.

But, God kept calling me to Him, and a couple of years later He brought me Pete, my husband. Life as I knew it completely changed. Pete shared with me what it meant to walk with the Lord on a daily basis, often quoting Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Pete and I talked a lot about God and one of the most important moments in our discussions came in the form of a question. Pete asked, “If you died and were standing before God, and He asked you what you did to deserve to go into heaven, what would you say?” I told Pete that I would tell God I had been a good person and had tried to be nice to others, kind and loving during my time on Earth. Pete then explained that nothing I had done would guarantee me eternity in heaven, but that it was believing in what Christ had done. From that moment my perception of the way to heaven was made right.

To help sustain and reinforce my new understanding of Him, God used His people. Time spent with my dear friend Holly and sister-in-law, Amy, delving into the Bible and openly talking about our walks with the Lord really solidified my faith. And I craved to know Jesus more.  It was attending Bible Study Fellowship last year and studying the Book of Matthew that made everything finally click. And for the first time I truly understood the good news. That Jesus lived a human life on Earth to take on all sin of the past, present and future when He died on the cross. That He covered my sin too and in Him I was made new. After years of struggling with my own mistakes, I felt the weight of guilt dissolve with the forgiveness and love of the Lord.  Knowing that He wanted me in His kingdom for eternity, regardless of my failures or good works, gave me purpose to live for His glory.

Today, I have the relationship with God I longed for. He’s always been there, working in me in only the way He can. It is His grace and love that renewed me. Whereas I could not before, now I see His presence daily, whether it’s working through my struggles or rejoicing in a blessing He’s bestowed.

Out of my great love for God and a desire to please Him, I am choosing to obey him through my baptism today, to live a fulfilled life in Him and through Him. And I couldn’t think of a greater joy.