Today was baptism day for my sweet Jackson! It was glorious! These are the moments that make this mom proud...bring tears to my eyes...provide me with great joy...and make me miss Keith. Joy and pain...happiness and sorrow. That is the stuff life is made of. Praise God that we have ridden the roller coaster of this world with our hands up and our hearts open!
Jackson boldly stepped forward for Christ, and was baptized into Him by our sweet minister, Mike.
And therein lies my last segment of this story.
In our church, it is typical for the dads to baptize their children. It is a wonderful tradition, the passing of the baton of life with Christ in a blood family, and is very moving. For us, it presents a quandary.
But, like all quandaries, the solution can be a joyous opportunity.
My boys have the opportunity to choose who baptizes them. They do not take this lightly, but instead pray over whom they want to immerse them. And both Matthew and Jackson have chosen well.
Matthew chose my self-proclaimed "little brother" in the church, Dave. He is the uncle who wrestles with them, is ready to kick their behinds or have a talk with them if I need it done. This bond was already there with my boys, but has only grown stronger since baptizing Matthew. I guess the best thing I can liken it to what the godfather is intended to be in the life a child...Dave has invested himself in Matthew spiritually, and the dividends to both of them have been beautiful to see. Praise God for His provision!
Jackson knew he would have the same choice, and had been thinking and praying about it almost as long as he had been pondering the question of baptism in his heart. After careful consideration, he decided he wanted our minister, Mike, to baptize him. All my boys have been blessed to spend a lot of time with Mike and his wife Linda. Mike was present for the births of all but Alex, supporting us and reporting the joyous news to the congregation. Mike sat with me at the hospital when Keith had his heart catheterization eight months before he passed away. Ironically, that day we talked about baptism.
Since Keith's death, Mike has often watched the boys for me so that I could attend ladies' functions at church. He gamely played paper airplanes, Legos, Wii, and anything else the boys wanted. He has come to soccer and baseball games each season, often accompanied by Linda. Together, they love and support my boys, getting nearly as teary as I do as we watch them grow into men. And I know that the relationship will be there always. Provision again!
I am blessed beyond measure to have so many fine Christian men speaking into the lives of my boys. These men have taken on the task with the same gusto that they have used with their own children. I have no worries about my boys learning to be the men God intends them to be. They have many wonderful examples...the list is too long to mention.
Today, I was overcome by the beauty of the day, the beauty of friends who have constantly loved and supported us over the past five years. God's church as it is supposed to be! I cried, but not an inordinate amount. The boys were pretty proud of me for that.
In a few years, Tanner will face the same decisions...for Christ and for whom shall immerse him. That will be just as glorious a day as this. He might even choose his brother Alex. Just the thought of that makes me smile.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. - Titus 3:5b-7