faith like a child

Monday, January 16, 2012


Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday.
Yesterday my daughter was baptized.
Birth and rebirth.

Maggie has been asking to be baptized for over a year. True confession: I really didn’t want her to be baptized. We had put her off time and time again. Seven years old (still) seems too young to me. Does she even realize what she’s doing? What will it even mean to her at this age? Isn’t she well below the so-called age of accountability? Are we taking this too lightly by ‘allowing’ her to do this?

Here’s the problem with that thinking: she understands. As best she can.
God doesn’t require complete adult intellectual understanding to work in our lives. He definitely doesn’t require that of us in order to follow Him.

She wants to follow Jesus with all of her little seven year old being.
She wants other people to know that she wants to follow Jesus.

Who am I to quench that spirit in her? My hang-ups are exactly that, my hang-ups. Jesus works in all of our lives individually, including my children. I want to manage their lives, their behavior, sometimes, unfortunately, even their relationship with Christ. But it’s their relationship with Christ, not mine. Fortunately for me (and others), I’m not the judge of other people’s relationships with Christ. Not even my own children’s. I remain faithful to teach them, to guide them, to pray for them, to love them with Christ’s love. That’s my part. All the rest of it – well, that’s God’s part.

God’s been doing His part in my daughter’s life.

We came home from a day-long event, beginning with her baptism, celebrating her birthday lunch, and spending the evening with family we see far too little. When we got home, a news story awaited us of a family in our community involved in a car wreck. The mom was high, crashed her car with Maggie’s little classmate in it. They are physically ok, but immediately a dozen other stories pop into my head. Ones where other kids make fun of this little girl, where others don’t want to be her friend, where my daughter, my impossible, stubborn, fit-throwing, seemingly self-involved daughter comes home to tell me that she doesn’t understand why these other kids are mean. That she is friends with this little girl. That they sit together at lunch. That this little girl gets ‘moved to yellow’ nearly every day, but “I still like her.”

Disclosure time? I’ve met this little girl. I totally get why other kids aren’t nice to her.
But not my Maggie.

God’s presence in her life has helped her see the intrinsic value of others. God’s presence in her life has given her compassion, a voice for the oppressed even in her own little community.
She knows who she is.
She knows whose she is.
She knows that she wants to follow Jesus all of her life.
She knows the God we sing of in her favorite song, “You Never Let Go”, is real. She knows He’s never gonna let go of her.
She’s learning to show that to others, and for her, that includes her desire to be baptized into and in front of the faith community that helped teach her these very truths.

Even a child shall lead them. Yesterday, as she was dunked into a feed trough from Tractor Supply by her father and her grandfather at the front of our little sanctuary, I learned afresh that even a child, my child, can lead me into a deeper understanding of and love for the God who won’t ever let go of me either.

His gifts are many and beautiful:
616. small hands within my own
617. clasped arms around my knees
618. my head on a strong shoulder
619. becoming uncomfortable. first step to change.
620. the promise held at the beginning of starting something new
621. the supper table, full, with plenty of room for more
622. sunshine through snow-covered branches
623. fresh lemon scented soap for the kitchen
624. mounds of shredded cheese, ready for our baked potatoes
625. giant white flakes falling through the sun-lit afternoon
626. fleece lined slippers
627. the warm body of my dog pressed up against my feet
628. the screech of school bus wheels
629. the squeak of the front door, causing children to run from all over – “papa??”
630. the hum of the furnace, filling my heart with the security of warmth
631. the warmth of knee socks and tall boots
632. pressing a bill into the hands of a needy traveler
633. sharing a night of music with my husband
634. celebrating seven years with my daughter
635. celebrating new birth with my daughter, watching her hair drip with baptismal waters
636. God working in my life through my daughter, opening my heart to see her fresh commitment to follow the God who never will let her go

Death By Great Wall

1 comment:

  1. LOVE IT!! We, too, struggled with the "does she understand question?" Finally, my husband said that exactly what you did - she does have to understand as an adult does. But she knows that she is loved and has accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Who are we to judge whether it is "good" enough? Blessings to you. Thanks for sharing.


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