It has been an exciting week for our family. My middle child L came to us and wanted to talk about being baptized a few weeks ago. It was something she had thought about for a couple of months. Ken and I were praying for her because we could sense that God was working in her heart. This is something she was dealing with for a while, and we felt that the idea of verbalizing her decision was holding her back.
L has always been an internal person, even as a toddler she let her twin speak for her. She has always needed to process her thoughts for a long time before talking about them. When she first brought up baptism a few months ago she was on board with it until we got to the part where she would sit down and talk to our pastor about why. Even as I was telling her that when she was ready to be baptized, we would sit down with him to talk about it, I had trouble picturing her do that.
At the end of the conversation she wanted to wait. Ken and I began to pray that she would be brave. Two months passed by and I began to wonder if she had decided that she wasn’t ready after all. When she came back to us I shared that we had been praying for her to be brave and her whole face lit up. She said that she did want to meet with the pastor and that night in our family prayer time she prayed that she would be brave.
I’ve never really associated L’s timidity with fear before all this. She just seemed less extroverted (which I can completely empathize with) than her sister. But looking back I can see that fear had a lot to do with it. Within a week she sat down with our pastor to say that she definitely wanted to be baptized, told her Sunday school teachers and even talked about it with other adults in our church.
It was like seeing her break free from restraints. I don’t mean that her personality has changed. She will probably always need that extra time to process her thoughts. However, the fear that kept her from saying what she wanted has fallen away.
After over thirty years of following Christ I tend to forget the scope of the freedom at my fingertips. I can lay my burdens at his feet at any time, but many times I forget. When L began to pray in our family prayer time that God would help her to be brave, and he answered her prayer, my heart melted. It was such a special thing to see the revelation that she can take ANYTHING to God and he will hear.
Let the Chains Fall Away
I will never forget her face as she stood in the baptistry with her dad as he asked her to profess her faith to the church. My introverted child was beaming with joy and practically dove under the water herself. I wonder if the Ethiopian eunuch had the same look of joy when he spotted the pool of water on the road to Egypt and asked Philip to baptize him.
There’s nothing magical about the water. It doesn’t save or change us because it is special in some way. All that baptism serves to do is to show that a person wants to give their heart to God, a way to show his Lordship. But it is so important! For L, if we had pressured her into it she would have done it to please us. In our first conversation she asked if we wanted her to be baptized. We would have stolen this freedom from her if we had let her see that we wanted her to do this.
How has God shown you freedom in an unexpected way? Leave me a comment!