I was uncomfortable when this was suggested to me. Maybe that is just part of my ongoing struggle of anticipating perfection. I certainly couldn't have imagined standing in the locale of the picture below just a year before. On January 11, 2008, things were very different. A year later we found ourselves celebrating Lauren and Lindsay's baptism together, not in the perfect glow of every member of my family that I wanted there. But certainly embraced by our church family, surrounded by loving friends, and the best was getting to celebrate with my sister.
In our church, baptisms happen during the regular service so that our congregation can welcome and pledge their support. The parents read a letter they've written:
Dear Lauren and Lindsay,
Daddy and I are so excited for both of you. We know that you will both achieve things in your lives that we can barely imagine today. You will grow up to be wonderful women in part because of the love that binds us together as a family, you together as sisters, and the faith that we are coming to learn about together. Today is a signpost on your path, on your journey of faith. It is a day, as you have heard, that God says “yes” to you, as He always has. It is also a day your family – those who are related to you by blood - your church family - those who are your family in Christ – get to embrace you as their own.
Lauren Elisabeth, Daddy and I sometimes wonder whether we are guiding you in your faith journey or you are guiding us. Your faith is so deep and your love for Jesus is so strong that it heartens us that we have our church family to support us in guiding you. There are times when your understanding is much more profound than mine or Daddy’s. It continually amazes and inspires us. We stand by amazed at night when you read the bible to your little sister and then explain the moral of each story to her. Your nickname around the house – Pastor Lauren – was not given lightly. We are looking forward to see your faith grow as you do, and Daddy and I will always do our best to encourage you to keep learning and asking questions. You will achieve great things with Jesus as your friend and guide.
Lindsay Alexandra, you entered this world kicking and screaming. You are tenacious, demanding and determined, but you know what you want with enviable clarity. We know you’re not old enough yet to understand what’s going on today and that your faith is only beginning to take seed. You get to see so much that goes on here because of the things Mom, Lauren, and Daddy do, and as you get older you will find your own way – which no doubt will be different from your sister’s. Although you may be Lauren’s little sister, you are never in her shadow. You will find your own path, and you will learn to turn to Jesus for guidance and strength in your everyday challenges even as you shout defiantly at whatever obstacle has the misfortune of finding itself in your way.
Today is an important day for you as well as for us as a family. Your baptism marks just the beginning of your faith journey, of God saying “Yes” to you, and our church family opening their hearts to you. You have Mom and Daddy to rely upon, each other, our family, and our church as we all our journeys separately and together in learning, knowing, and striving to be more like Jesus in our lives and relationships. We all love you very much.
Mom and Daddy
Pastor Seth and Lauren
Pastor Seth and Lindsay
I look really happy here
Jules sang for the girls to end our portion of the service. Jules has an amazing voice, and the song she chose was "Blessed Be Your Name", which was just perfect. I didn't manage to make it through without crying after all, and thankfully a friend handed me some tissues...
Pastor Seth's sermon was about why Jesus and his followers cared so much about baptism. She is listening intently.
Lauren got to sing a solo during our time of prayer it was: "Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me". She sang it perfectly FOUR TIMES with Brian playing the piano.
We returned Chez Stoll for brunch with Karen and Chris. Jessie, Nick, and Amina joined us later for brunch.