Wednesday, April 18, 2012

baptizing Harper

Last Sunday was a special day around here. We baptized Harper and we had a big family party to celebrate. It was a deeply meaningful day for us. Josh and I have been so mindful lately of our need to surrender our children to God, to rest in his protection, providence and care for our children. Recently a family in our community lost their two year old son, Atticus, in a tragic accident. Though I didn't know them well, it shook me deeply. As our family prayed for theirs, my mind swirled with questions and sorrow. I was troubled and uncomfortable with some of my own thoughts. If faced with that level of grief, would I be able to cling to the truth of Christ? Would the world just become a cruel, twisted place I couldn't make sense of? I hope I never know that grief but apart from these questions that drifted in like unwanted company, I do know that the God of all truth and life would carry me through the darkness. I kept hearing testimony of the way this family trusted the Lord and their deep faith that this was indeed part of of their son's story and that he is very much alive in Christ. It moved me that even in his death God's glory and comfort was so evident.

This happened right before Easter. Every year at Easter I recall the year that my then two-year-old, Juden, fell sixteen feet from his window. You can read the whole story by clicking here. The short of it is, that after a night spent in the hospital to observe him, he emerged with out a scratch. Every year I think about how different my life could have been and I have these conversations with God that go something like this, "Thank you. He is yours. You write his story. I want to let go and give him back to you. Thank you for entrusting his precious life to me." It is interesting to me how God works things sometimes. Although I didn't plan it when we asked to baptize Harper, it fell on April 15th. Six days to the year since God protected Juden from a tragic accident and also the due date of our first child, whom Jesus took home before birth. He would have been ten. It was a deeply moving day to stand in our little old rickety urban church and witness a physical symbol of water over our baby's head, this Spirit, this cleansing. I have to take a second to tell you how I love my church. It is an ancient building with wonderful light and big arched wooden doors in the back that stay flung open, with the soul sounds of singing wafting out of them. It is full of children and people of all colors and I love that picture of how the Kingdom should be. I take in all these little things because Harper refuses to ever let me sit through a church service. He distracts with all manner of adorable antics until finally every week he goes in the carrier on my chest and I stand outside the back doors bouncing and rocking, bouncing and rocking while church drifts out and seeps into me like water to a weary traveler. Last week we were recognizing our baby as God's child and dedicating him to the Lord. It was beautiful, as Harper looked at our Pastor Jim, a little puzzled with water dripping down his head he turned back to watch the singing congregation. The pureness of that act felt like a cool breeze and my chest hurt with the grace of it. From before they are born we want to protect our kids from every evil and harm the world can throw at them. We do our best to do that, but we can't fully. What sweet relief that our Father who sees even a sparrow fall, loves our children immeasurably. The same God who held Juden six years ago and all of our children, was holding Atticus when he went home to Jesus.

Our hearts were so full on Sunday as we celebrated Harper with a yard full of kids and bubbles and strawberry shortcake. Sometimes the beauty, chaos and wonder of His gifts take my breath away.