We are baptising you on Sunday, January 26, 2014, and I want to write this to you for posterity sake as you obviously won’t know or remember what in the world is happening to you at the time. But we’ll be telling you about it and maybe 10 years from now or sooner, I’ll be reading this here letter (ok it’s a blog post) to you. I want you to understand a few things about what this baptism means to me and your dad and I can only pray that by the time you can hear these things we haven’t messed up your head too much for you to listen to them. (Dear God, forgive us and help us see and repent quickly of the ways we may sin against Naomi, and give her and us the grace to love each other well!!!)
So first off, you are the most precious gift I’ve been given outside of life itself and your father, and you wouldn’t be without either of those so let’s just say you’re up there on the list. I sometimes think there is no way you could be any more beautiful than you are and then you go and do something or smile at me and I think ok this is nuts. I’m trying to not be unbalanced in being a mother – in many cultures we tend to elevate moms to this crazy high god-like status and I know that we are important in the development of a child, but I also want to also recognize that you are in God’s hands alone and not mine. I’ll try to remember that as you grow up and let go when I need to. But I also promise to hold on when you need me to and to never choose to leave you, no matter how rough life may get. I promise to choose you every time, to show you unconditional love like the parent-God shows to me, and to endeavor to always teach you and care for you and encourage you in the darkest parts of life and the brightest.
Of utmost importance for this day, I also want you to understand why we are baptizing you. There will come I day, I hope, that you will wrestle with your beliefs about stuff and things. You will question why we do what we do and you will come to your own conclusions about how seriously you will take it all. I want you to always question and to always consider every side of an issue and to be smart and diligent in seeking your answers.
There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t have baptized you. I can’t wait until a time in your life when we can sit around the dinner table and talk doctrine!! How fun will that be 🙂 But I want you to know that your mom changed her mind and can see a deep beautiful truth reflected in the practice of baptizing an infant. I now know how God chose me from long before I was even born, just as he chose you now. I now know that my salvation is not earned, not even through baptism, but that salvation is through the work of Jesus Christ alone and that before I can even choose to follow him, God had to grant me the grace to see my need to follow him. I now know that baptism is a symbol of that grace poured out on us, without any effort or even decision on our part, but a direct representation of God’s divine providence in placing you into a covenant family. And I know that years from now, your dad and I will talk with you about this day and what it meant to us, and what you think about it all, and it will be a blessed conversation and I pray now that you will clearly see God’s hand on you all those days of your life from now until then.
Naomi, we also want you to know what a joy and blessing you truly are to us, your parents, and to so many who meet you. There are many who comment on how beautiful you are, and more than this, the people who know your mom and dad rejoice in your life because of all that you represent. Some day we’ll tell you about how we met and dated and realized how God made these paths for us to take toward each other. We’ll tell you about the sad, difficult times of our lives and how God used everything we’ve been through to make us rely on Him more, to trust Him more. We’ll tell you about how we failed and sinned against God and others. We’ll tell you about bad decisions we made when we rushed ahead of God or rejected wisdom. And we’ll tell you about the blessings God poured out on us any way, the good, beautiful things that happened in our lives and how nothing we did or could ever do would separate us from the love God has for us. We’ll share how God was merciful and good and carried us straight toward each other in the year 2012 and how He blessed us, and rather quickly, with YOU! We’ll tell you the story of how you were born and how beautiful you were from the very first breath you took. We’ll tell you about your first and middle names, how it was a good thing you were a girl because that’s the only name we had picked. And we’ll talk about how you are an interracial baby and how very cool that is. We’ll tell you about your mom and how I am adopted and don’t know any of our blood relatives. We’ll tell you how you won’t be able to answer medical history questions at the doctors’ office and how they will keep asking you for the rest of your life and it’s totally ok to say you don’t know and won’t ever know. We’ll talk about adoption and what it means to be part of a family not through blood, but by choice, and what it means to be adopted into God’s family and how you will get to see how both of those families work in real life. And we’ll talk about how that makes you special and beautiful to us, how you make our hearts rejoice in your very existence.
And through all of this, from this day and throughout your life, we want so very much for you to not just come to love us as your parents – as great as we will attempt to be – but that you will come to truly love the God we serve, the One we will always strive to point you toward, the One who loves you more than you can ever imagine and the One who will be the perfect Parent to you. We look forward to the day when you will read this and understand, maybe soon, maybe not until long after we are gone, only God knows what the future may bring. But we have every confidence that the One who created you knows you, loves you, fights for you, protects you, sanctifies you, preserves you, and will lead you to the way everlasting. We love you and we lift you up to His saving arms every day of your life, our dear sweet girl. To the praise of His glorious grace.
Mama and Dada