Yesterday our church held Easter service at Qwest Field – all campuses together in one place, plus many visitors. Over 17,000 people was the last count I heard.
At the end of the service Ruthie asked to get baptized, and contrary to what I was probably supposed to feel, I panicked.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Let’s talk about it with daddy later,” I said. “Maybe we can do it another day.”
“Noooo!” she cried.
I texted Bryan, who was in a different part of the stadium. “Ruthie says she wants to get baptized.”
Ironically, he was volunteering on the after service prayer team.
“Ok,” he texted back, and waived us down.
This didn’t come out of the blue. At the ZugHaus we talk a lot about Jesus, repentance, and all the symbolism surrounding our faith, such as communion and baptism. We tend to not make an event about these conversations, but weave the gospel into our everyday life.
My fear surrounding her request is completely irrational and wholly unbiblical, because my first reaction was a resounding, “SHE’S NOT READY!” She doesn’t have it all figured out yet! She’s still so angry! And screams a lot! And throws a fit when she doesn’t get her way! And is really moody toward other people! And….!
Wait a second…
Didn’t I just describe myself?
In that moment I sensed God changing my heart. I realized I was waiting for Ruthie to stop sinning first, and that I have a lot of fear about her not “doing it right” if she were to identify herself as a Christian. It’s old baggage from my days of believing in labels and one-shot Sinner’s Prayer “conversions.”
The truth is, she will never stop sinning. I know this because at 39 years old I still scream a lot and throw a fit when I don’t get my way, and I’m really moody toward other people. I’m a horrible example of Not Sinning, but I have repentance down pretty good, and Ruthie connects with that.
Baptism is an outward declaration of what has already happened in the heart, AND it’s the catalyst for a new life to come. I’m very excited that Christ is calling my big girl to himself, and very honored that he’s entrusted a very imperfect mother to shepherd her along the way.