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EDITOR'S NOTE: The Times Free Press is continuing a series of stories from readers about life experiences they attribute to divine intervention. We'll publish another each week as your stories continue to arrive. If you have a God Thing to share, email Life@timesfreepress.com, or mail to Life Department, Chattanooga Times Free Press, 400 E. 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403.

This week, Carole Cohen tells the story of her baptism.

I've had a couple of times when I was sure God was present in my life. I'm sure he saved my life during a robbery, but I want to talk about my baptism.

I moved to Chattanooga about three years ago after living in St. Louis all my life. As a child, I attended a church, which frightened me with sermons about hell and brimstone. I left that church as a teenager and didn't attend a church after that. I married a Jewish man, remained a Christian. In 2001, we were divorced after 29 years of marriage.

In 2010, I told my girlfriend I'd never been baptized, as I never thought I was "good enough," and felt the need to be. She called around to many churches before she found an Episcopal church that would baptize me even though I wasn't a member of the church and wouldn't become a member.

On Sept. 18, 2010, I went to the church for my baptism after meeting with the priest once. He led me to a baptismal font in the empty church. He warned me not to be afraid, as many people reported having strange experiences when baptized. The priest was dressed in a white garment. I faced him, and he instructed me to lean over the font. He said a prayer, and then poured holy water over my head and baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It took seconds.

When I lifted my head, I saw the priest was outlined in solid gold! It was so beautiful, and I knew that God was there. I began crying with happiness and joy on my friend's shoulder. When I looked back at the priest, the gold was gone. My friend presented me with flowers. Driving home, I was shook up, but filled with love.

To this day, I don't belong to a church, finding them either too liberal or not liberal enough. But I know God is with me, and I'll never forget the day of my baptism! I am a Christian, church member or not.

— Carole Cohen

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