It’s official: I am a 2019 graduate of the Radiant School of Worship.
This past weekend, on the day after I graduated, my friends took me out to Gull Lake and baptized me. Baptism symbolizes the death and burial of the old life and the resurrection of new life in Christ, and I can’t think of a better way to sum up what God did in me at RSW this past year.
When I arrived in Kalamazoo 8 months ago, I was a completely different person. I wasn’t interested in opening up to anyone. I actually prided myself in my cynical sense of humor and excessive sarcasm. I used my introversion as an excuse to intentionally isolate myself. I humble-bragged on social media constantly. I recorded and released music just to prove to the world that I could. I was obsessed with my image. I could go on… I was extremely selfish and prideful, to say the least. My expectations going into RSW were to get better at studio production (so I could release more music, of course), learn from Cory Asbury how to write really great songs, and make connections that would move me forward and get me noticed in my music career. That’s it.
God’s plans for the year were vastly different. Right off the bat, he started revealing ugly stuff in my heart. I began to realize how much of a sinner I am and how much I truly need Jesus. He started showing me how much he loves me like a kind father. He allowed a lot of stuff to go wrong in my life, which forced me to lean into him for strength and peace - and because of that, through every tough circumstance I experienced his love and goodness so much more than I ever have before. He taught me that I am infinitely loved, regardless of how well I’m performing or how good my music sounds or what I do. As a bonus, through it all, he surrounded me with people who became like family. I was supported, encouraged, and prayed for all year. I learned how to open up to people, ask for help, and receive love. I also learned how to love selflessly, pour myself out, and serve others wholeheartedly.
Above all, I got to know a God who has been the greatest Father and friend. I learned his voice and heard him speak to me over and over again. I felt a love and a grace that I could never earn or deserve. And what blows my mind the most is that He orchestrated things perfectly to break chains and strongholds that I assumed I’d have to struggle with for the rest of my life. He is so worthy of everything I have, because he gave everything to set me free. He is so good, so kind, so incredibly personal and loving.
Getting baptized this weekend was my proclamation that the old Alanah is truly dead, and the new Alanah has been raised to life in Christ Jesus. The cynical, insecure, depressed, anxious, isolated, hopeless Alanah has passed away, and a confident, joyful, free, colorful Alanah has come to life.
As this season comes to a close and I step into a new one, I look back on the past 8 months with tears in my eyes (literally, I can’t stop tearing up as I write this). I never expected any of this to happen, but it ended up being better than anything I could’ve asked for or imagined. I’m so, so in love with Jesus, and I’m so excited to walk hand-in-hand with him into whatever the next chapter of my life holds.
“When I was at my lowest, You still were on your throne.
When I was still a long way off, You ran to bring me home.”
- “Egypt” by Cory Asbury