Today was a unique day for us. Sad and special at the same time.
Sad, because today would have been Lily’s due date. I know that my sadness would seem little compared to others who have suffered losses of children.
First, I have the blessing of other children who are a comfort to me.
Second, Lily has been my only loss. I know some dear mommas who have lost as many as four sweet babies.
Third, as hard as it is to admit this, I am relieved that I never got to meet her. Losing her was so painful, but I think if I had actually seen her, held her in my arms… I can’t imagine that I could bear it.
Most importantly, as I wrote in Remembering Her Short Life, I have the promise that I WILL SEE HER, someday. She is in Heaven, and will greet me when I get there.
Even so, and though I don’t dwell on it daily, I do still think of her often. I feel strange sharing this because I know so many others experience losses, and I wonder if it’s ridiculous that I still grieve sometimes. Every month when I realize that my womb is still empty, when I should (or at least I feel I should) have had a gradually growing belly, that is hard. I get weepy. As my due date crept up on me, I thought of her more. Today was the date that has been strong in my head for nine months straight.
I have no new, profound insights about this, but I feel that the date is worth remembering for us.
But now this date will also be remembered for another reason.
I was reading my Bible this morning, and came across a passage about baptism.
(Another passage about baptism.)
I always get alert when I read a passage about baptism, because for years I’ve questioned whether I should be baptized.
I was baptized when I was nine years old. I had some basic idea of Jesus dying on the cross for me, and as a child who had “asked Jesus into my heart,” I thought I was a Christian.
But looking back, I don’t believe I was. Following Christ doesn’t mean asking him into your heart; it means… Following Christ. The way people loyal to a king would follow a king. Their loyalty is to their king. They identify themselves as members of His kingdom. They pledge their lives to serve their king.
As a child I had belief, but in most ways, I was living for myself, not for Jesus. He was not my king, and I was not part of his kingdom.
Early in my marriage, my heart slowly began to change. I don’t know exactly when I fully committed my life to Christ, as I took gradual baby steps, but it was likely around fourteen to sixteen years ago. Since that time, I’ve loved him, followed him as the King he is to me, and tried to live a life that is pleasing to him.
One thing was missing, though. I had never been baptized after my conversion. I debated with myself as to whether my first baptism “counted,” had lengthy discussions with my husband, went back and forth for some time. I could go on for pages about this, but I won’t. :)
Then I read that passage this morning. And I looked outside and saw that a beautiful, sunshiny day awaited… almost 80 degrees! I glanced over at my husband.
“How cold do you suppose that swimming pool is?” I asked.
“Pretty cold! I wouldn’t want to jump in.” he answered.
I paused. I don’t like cold water, but I was willing.
“Do you think you could baptize me today?”
He paused. He knows I think about this from time to time and wasn’t surprised. I think the pause was in considering what to do about the cold water.
“I don’t want to put this off anymore. I feel like I’m walking in disobedience by waiting so long. Can we do it today?”
“I could heat up the spa…”
So early this afternoon, we gathered all the kids outside. We are currently still on our church search, so this family of mine is our little church family for now. I shared my short testimony, which my children are already well familiar with. And there, at forty-two years old, in a spa, with our children all present, my husband baptized me.
But that’s not the end to our unique day!
After I was baptized, Happy (10) and Strawberry (9) both asked to be baptized. They have expressed a commitment to Christ and have asked before. We had planned to hold off until we found a church, but… why not? They shared their testimonies and together, my husband and I baptized each of them.
Then Conductor (7) spoke up and asked if he could be baptized. We hesitated a moment, because we were not entirely sure that he really “gets it.” We asked him why he wanted to be baptized, and he answered, “Because I believe Jesus is the Savior of the world, and He is the King of me.”
While his answer was awesome, we still aren’t completely certain if his conversion is genuine, mainly due to him being so young and still immature. Yet, we both had on our hearts how Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
We decided to baptize him. We will, of course, watch for fruit in his life to see that his faith is genuine, and if he has any concerns in his future, he can choose to be baptized again when he is older, as I did today.
So this day, the last day of November, a day of sadness at missing our Lily, we also celebrated four souls who will be ushered into Heaven someday, where she is waiting for us. Four souls who have committed to living for Christ and his kingdom.