I saw a post from Tricia Goyer on Facebook today about a giveaway that she was doing. She said to write a blog post on one of two topics:
- What’s the most beautiful bridge you’ve ever seen?
- Share a special kiss (grandma, child, friend, etc.—it doesn’t have to be romantic).
This started me thinking about my favorite bridge. It may not be beautiful to some. In fact, it’s quite old and rusty. But to me, it was beautiful. It was called “The Old Steel Bridge” and it has sentimental value to me.
Located in an out-of-the-way spot in the Flathead Valley (Kalispell, MT), the Old Steel Bridge has much history. It was built in 1894 and allowed people to cross the Flathead River much more easily. No more cables and boats!
For me though, it’s not the way it looked and wasn’t the age or even the history that made it beautiful. What made it beautiful to me is because it is was a constant reminder of my relationship with God. You see, this is where I was baptized. It is kind of a different baptism story than most, and if you will bear with me, I will tell it to you.
In 1988 I was 16-years old, and I was pregnant. Needless to say, it was an incredibly scary time for me. Thankfully, I had amazing parents who helped me through it and they didn’t toss me out on my rear when they found out. Even so, it was a very hard time in my life. I felt frightened and I felt alone.
It was during this time that I started going back to a church that I went to before. I rededicated my life to Christ, and even though I was pregnant, I felt like God was telling me that I needed to be baptized.
The Pastor was having a baptism down at the Old Steel Bridge one Sunday and even though I was petrified, I knew God was telling me that now was the time. So, there I stood … up to my waist in the freezing cold water of the Flathead River, pregnant, and I heard myself saying, “I honestly can’t explain why I am getting baptized right now, except that I feel like it is the right thing to do, and I feel like God has told me to.”
Not exactly an expert testimony of faith, or even a coherent reason. I just knew.
I wish I could say that I have led an idyllic life since then. Unfortunately, I can’t. For a good 10 years of my life after my baptism, I really struggled. Being a teen mom was incredibly hard. I dated the wrong boys. I had a marriage that failed. I’ve said and done things I shouldn’t have. So many things that I would change and so many that I would take back, if I could.
It was nobody’s fault but my own. I didn’t keep my focus on the Lord like I should have. I didn’t truly understand at that time what it meant to put 100% of my life into God’s hands and I don’t think I understood what trusting Him to guide my life really meant. I was under the “I know I love God, so I am going to try to do the right thing” mentality, when in all truth, I wasn’t actively seeking His wisdom in my day-to-day life. That was where I failed. I tried to figure things out on my own, then would wonder why it seemed my life would fall apart at random intervals.
Luckily, God never gave up on me. His grace and His mercy truly are new every morning and with each day that I strive to know Him more, I can feel my relationship with Him grow deeper. No, life isn’t always easy, but I know now that my God is bigger than any problem. Even when times get tough, He is here with me. His love knows no bounds and His forgiveness is always there.
So, that’s my story.
Sadly, “my” bridge was replaced by a new bridge in 2009. While it may no longer be a precious landmark here, it will forever be a precious landmark in my heart. Thankfully, the river is still there so I can go down and sit on the grassy bank beside it whenever I would like to, and reflect on the day I was baptized. God is good!