Yesterday was a big day for my family. Big maybe is not the word. Momentous? Important? I dunno. We will just stick with big cause it was a long day too...
Yesterday my church (New Hope...which you've read about before on my blog) had their annual summer picnic and baptism service.
Dad and Ollie O
Zac and I recently attended New Hope 101. The point of the "class" is to explain the beliefs and practices of the church, as well as it's history. To become a full member at New Hope, they ask a few things of you. One of those things is that you are baptised, immersion style. (You have to be an official member to be able to teach classes.) New Hope is non-denominational, and very focused on families, more importantly, raising children to know and love Jesus. They do an incredible job.
Mom, Pia Girl and Cathy (Kylie's mom)
You know you have a special church when you never hear people complaining. Even when I decided to stop helping in the 12-24 month nursery, and I knew it would be harder on the staff because of service changes, no one was upset. In fact, one of the directors sent me a card and a gift certificate to thank me for my service to the church. They encouraged me to try a "first serve" in a different ministry because they are sure we all have a purpose in our church, it is just a matter of finding the right fit.
After attending the class (it only took us 3 years to do it), I decided that I would really like to be a full member and that I would sign up for the August baptism, and what better time than before Clifford gets here. I asked the family if anyone else would like to do it with me. Annie, Maggie, and Jade signed up. All of us have been baptised before, but our previous churches did sprinkle baptisms.
Everett and Aubrie
I talked to one of the senior pastors a bit about it. He told me that it's not that they don't consider us baptised, but when they were deciding the direction and focus of the church and their beliefs, they decided to do immersions because that's the same type of baptism Jesus had. He said he had done both. He said it was ok if we never did the immersion baptism. They had attendees that have been there from the beginning, that have not. I assured him I was comfortable "re-upping" my baptism as the last time I was 11, and I think it is safe to say I am a considerably different person than I was then.
Jade and Annie
I invited along my best friend because I knew it would be important to her. She sent me a text message that she was "in tears" and that she was so happy that I was gonna be so beautiful with Cliff on board for it. It's safe to say that Courtney is one of my biggest cheerleaders. I can always count on her to make me feel good about myself....especially during this time, when I feel huge. She just stands next to me, occasionally rubs my belly, and says "beautiful."
I told her I was giant, and I now had photo confirmation of that fact. No denying a soaking wet pregnant belly is huge. Again, she said "no, it's beautiful." I just love her so bad.
I talked to Courtney a bit about being re-baptised when I invited her. I told her I didn't expect it to be a huge difference for me, she said "yeah, I get that. For me it is like the difference between living together and being married. When a couple lives together there is that agreed level of committment, but then being married, it's a done deal and you can rest assured." If there is ever an analogy today's young people will understand, it's that.
How many of us know people in that same position right now? Not necessarily the living together thing....but the fact that even with all the right intention in the world, there is a different level of committment...just waiting on the decision to do or give a little bit more.
Caroline "Beans" Daniel.
Zac and I
Joyful little faces
Kolby, Tiffany, and Evelyn (Maggie's in-laws)
Evelyn, getting "chapsticked." She is too funny.
Courtney and I, basically 3 failed attempts with 3 different camera operators...and this is the best we got. Yep Court....beautiful.
You should know that as I've gotten gradually bigger, I frequently use my belly to corner Zac. I push and pin him on the couch, against the cabinets, into his closet, and EVERY time it cracks me up. Recently he has started doing it back...this is a picture of him doing it to me. Again, I am laughing hard at the ridiculousness of it.
Zac and I (37 weeks)
Mag and Penelope
The sisters and I before the service.
I love this picture.
But it is this one, of Dad and his ladies, that makes me cry a little.
Then each of us being BAPTIZED! (imagine that as a sound byte all Southern Baptist gospel-y)
And all of us after.
We make being baptised look good. :)
Now each of us are full members of the church we love. I am happy to have done it. Even if I have done it twice. I think it is a small thing to ask that we be willing to "declare" our beliefs in front of the people that will be and have been, our church family. I think that is is wise to ask that we be comfortable enough in our faith to be able to say "yes" when our pastor asks if we have give our hearts to Jesus, before we play any leading role in church ministry. I like that the people leading my church have committed. And I'm glad to be counted among them.
I did get a pretty good laugh from Dad at the end of the evening. Courtney and I were waiting on Zac to pick us up. Courtney told Dad he was "one lucky Pa to be able to see all of his girls get baptised." (Dad has been both sprinkled and immersed. I had heard him tell Cathy earlier in the night that he had all his bases covered.) He told Courtney he had "been baptised a long time ago because I knew I might have to kill a man over one of these girls one day and I thought it would be wise to be in His good graces" ya know, should it ever come to that. My Dad is somethin else...but I should get the message out to Zac before we ever have little girls :)