Yesterday, I had the unsurpassable joy of baptizing my daughter Ashlyn into Jesus.
The joy I feel is difficult to describe.
When I awoke yesterday morning, I had no idea that it would be one of the best days of my life, all because of two events:
- Jesus' death upon the cross almost 2,000 years ago.
- My precious daughter's decision to die with Jesus in order to be forgiven and reborn of the water and the Spirit.
Ashlyn is a kind, loving and thoughtful child.
She is very mature for her age, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
This maturity is frightening to her mother and I, because it is our mission to teach her to guard her heart and there are so many evils out there that a child can fall prey to.
Yesterday evening, my father-in-law's company had an employee appreciation event at a local bowling alley. The company is gracious to extend the opportunity to participate to extended family, which means we get to come.
My son Caleb had a school event so he and my wife Holly went to that while Ashlyn and I went bowling.
We had a great time. We bowled three games plus ate dinner there. It was a lot of fun.
On the way home, about 9:15 PM, Ashlyn started talking.
She is pretty talkative most of the time, but I found myself impressed by the maturity of her statements and questions.
The conversation roamed all over the place—also quite common with her.
Then, suddenly, she said she'd been thinking she needed to be baptized. I wasn't surprised by this because she's heard us talk about Jesus, salvation, baptism, conversion and commitment her whole life.
She said she wanted to be baptized, but was scared.
"Scared of what?" I asked.
"Well... Do you have to be perfect after you've been baptized? Is it okay if you sin...not that you would intend to, but if you mess up?"
"Sure, sweetie. GOD wants us to try our best to not sin, but He knows we are weak and we still sin sometimes, even when we are trying hard not to."
I quoted 1 John 1:9 for her and emphasized that John was writing to Christians—those who had already been baptized.
Then I reminded her of the account of Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8—how he became a Christian and then tried to buy the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit from Peter and John. Peter rebuked Simon and told him to repent and pray for forgiveness.
"Well, I think I'm ready," she said, "but not tonight because I'm tired."
"Okay, sweetie, whenever you're ready, you let me know and we'll go right then."
At this point, I'm thinking she doesn't quite understand because she wouldn't want to delay.
So I let it go. About this time, we pulled up into the driveway and walked inside.
Holly and Caleb greeted us and asked what was going on. Ash said, "Well, I was telling Daddy that I'm ready to be baptized, but probably tomorrow. I'm so tired."
"Oh, okay," Holly said while looking at me.
"I told her whenever she's ready, we'll go," I replied to Holly while Ashlyn was standing beside us.
Ashlyn talked about the sins that she felt guilty of having committed and needed forgiveness for.
After a brief pause, Ash said, "No, I don't want to wait. I want to go now. Can we go now?"
"Why are you changing your mind, sweetie?"
"I just know I need to do this. I'm ready. I don't want to wait any more."
"Alright, are you sure you're ready?"
"Then let's go," I said with a big grin.
By this point, it was nearly 10:00 and my father-in-law (whose pool we used) had to leave at 10:30 to go out to the plant where he works in order to perform some maintenance or repairs. So we had to hurry.
I texted family and church family to let them know and we called my parents who were out of town visiting my grandparents.
Ashlyn was able to speak with my mom and dad on the drive over and they celebrated with us and asked her questions to ensure her readiness. She understood.
"I just can't wait any more. I need this off of my mind," Ash replied. Sounded like the heart convicted of its sin to me.
And so I had the pleasure of connecting my baby girl with the life-changing, powerful, cleansing, healing and forgiving blood of Jesus. What greater joy is there than this?
I invite you to join me in celebrating my daughter's rebirth and entrance to the kingdom of GOD. Praise GOD!