Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Special Day


Even though it was Saturday, I set my alarm so as to get up early.  I woke Tessa and reminded her that we were going on a special outing.  We pulled on our sweaters and I drove us a couple of miles to the greenbelt near the American River.  We walked along a little footpath and into the woods, just Tessa and I.


We found a little clearing inside a grove of trees and knelt down on the cool earth.  In the almost-quiet, a chorus of birds welcomed the morning.  It was the perfect accompaniment for what would be a lovely day.

I took Tessa to the woods because this was her baptism day.  In our faith, baptism is an ordinance that is considered a stepping stone in life.  When a child reaches the age of eight, and are able to more fully understand that their actions and decisions have consequences, baptism is a first step in a lifelong journey of service to others and dedication to Jesus Christ.  

I will admit, eight is young.  It is a tender age to make such an important decision, but as I have with each of my kids when they have reached this age, I wanted to make sure Tessa understood what today would mean in her life.  I wanted her to know that this was her choice, and not just something we do "just because" she reached some magical age.  I want her to look back at her life and know that she is the captain of her own ship, young though she may be.  Some might say that she still didn't really have a choice, as most children would do anything to please parents or other respected adults in their lives.  Well, I can't answer to that, but I do know that children, even very young ones, can be trusted with important choices, and should be taught how to listen to their inner voice.

So, wanting to give her an opportunity to test her sapling faith, I took her to the only place I know where there is peace and quiet.  We sat and read in the bible in James 1:5, that explains how if we ever lack wisdom, the answer is merely a prayer away.  That if we will ask with faith, God will answer our prayers.  We talked about the choice to get baptized, and what that would mean in her life, then I invited her to find a quiet little spot to go and have her own prayer.  She walked a little ways off, and knelt down.  I glanced for just a moment so that I could always have the picture in my mind of her in the dappled morning light, kneeling among the trees to pray.

When she was done, she came over to me and we chatted.  I asked her how she felt about being baptized, and she said a simple and cheery, "Good!".  It might seem as though I were almost trying to talk her out of it, but I wanted only to be sure she truly felt the desire in her heart to take this step.  Would I have cancelled the service if she had said she wasn't ready?  You bet I would.  Ask any of my older kids, mama don't mess around with important choices.  To my way of thinking, you value and protect most those things you hold most sacred, those things you feel strongly about.  If the kid isn't ready, those things should not happen.

She said she was ready.  We visited a while longer and then slowly left our little Sacred Grove.

***

A few weeks ago Tessa had an interview with our bishop in preparation for this day, which I was blessed to be a part of.  I sat across the room from her as she swung her feet several inches above the ground from her perch on the blue seat cushion.  She was at ease with our new bishop, and answered his questions cheerfully.  She understood that her baptism is a promise to keep her heart in tune with her Creator, to seek a life of service to those in need, and to stand as a witness of God wherever she may go.  Her answers were simple, not rote, and she surprised me at her understanding of principles like faith and forgiveness.  There is a very wise old spirit packed into that little body.

I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given to shepherd this powerful little being. 

Ah, the white dress.  Not part of the service in any way, but it just so happens that Ellie had a white dress when it was her special day, so Tessa wanted to be like sis (love her little turned in feet).
*****

Daddy and Tessa
For the actual baptism white is worn as a symbol of purity.  
Guy was bummed that the Elvis suit, as he called it, was the only adult clothing in his size.
  


Photos are not taken of the actual baptism as we consider it to be a sacred ordinance. 
 It was sweet, though.

After she was dried and changed, Tessa sat as her father placed his hands on her head to impart the gift of the Holy Spirit.  She is encouraged to always seek guidance in her life through this gift, and to rely on the comfort and peace it brings.
***

We were so happy that dear friends could surround us on Tessa's special day.  
We missed our family who were not able to join us. 


***
Can't believe she's eight.
(oh, wait... seeing all that white hair, yes, yes I can believe it)


***
Our first family portrait in, um, one, two... six years!  
What can I say?  I have been a little busy.


***
Shadow Dancing


***
Sweet angel girl.


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