My name is Madeline Faith Harder and my parents are Merlin and Lori Harder. I grew up in a Christian household, and identified as a Christian for as long as I can remember.
It wasn’t until High School that I begun to develop struggles with emotionalism. I relied on my feelings for validation and security. It lead me to some struggles with anxiety, but it also deeply affected my relationship with Christ. Every time I would open my bible or I would begin to pray I just wanted to feel something – as if my feelings were God. I had no distinction between the two.
I was also deeply into the “find yourself” culture. While God makes us individuals with unique strengths, I pursed my own heart and happiness above all else. I was, as it’s said in 2 Timothy, always learning but never arriving at a full knowledge of truth. The thing is, I was always left unfulfilled despite my deep desire to know who I am and what I’m made for.
Looking back, there wasn’t really a specific moment when I shifted my perspective and personality—it was more of a process. God placed into my life new influences that utterly shocked me, and made me realize how much culture had influenced me more than Christ. I also just started consistently reading my bible, and pushed away feelings of doubt, boredom or uncertainty.
It was there that I began to build a foundation where my feet were firmly planted in Christ. He became the anchor that I relied on heavily. It was such a relief to no longer rely on my own feelings and strength, but a joy to draw from His strength, His love, His peace, His self-control, etc. All good things are blessings from the Lord, and I truly started to see it that way.
Every time I’m worried about my future I give my anxieties to Him, and instead become so excited about His plan for me and how He might use me. Christ renewed me and continues to renew me every single day. I am so in awe of how He changed me and most importantly how He changed my perceptions of Him.
I’ve decided to be baptized because it is the next step in obedience to Jesus, and to publicly declare my allegiance to Him. It is my hope that I will be held accountable for my actions and glorify God in all that I do.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“That God would provide me with a community of strong believers… who would challenge meas well as support me… For spiritual growth, that I would continue to cultivate my relationship with God and that he would use me for His glory..”
full baptism service