A heat wave along the Canadian prairies, our church gathers for a drive-in service. We walk over to the beach for a baptism service.
We were all tempted to enter the waters that morning.
It takes me back to a day in the past, walking along a dusty path, carrying my infant son on my back, with my 4 year old hopping alongside. She looked up at me to ask, “Mommy, what’s baptism again?”
It was a very special morning.
A morning to celebrate God’s faithfulness, his grace, and the goodness of the gospel- the first local baptism of believers from an unreached people group.
I told her about how going under reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection. how the water represents the washing away of our sin, and how when we love and follow Jesus we become clean. We talked about how much they were giving up to follow Jesus, how his love made them strong and the Spirit gave them courage.
In all my rambling, the one thing she did grab hold of was the sweet anticipation of the celebration.
Slowly, the Lord was answering our prayers, expanding his kingdom. In his timing and by his grace, this coupled declared to forsake their old ways, old forms of worship, to follow Christ. Observing immediate changes in how they lived was a humbling reminder of the power and grace of God; they were new creations.
Standing with them on that beautiful morning a spark was light inside me, reminding me of the pressing importance to disciple these new believers, walk alongside them, and teach them the truths of the Word, not just out of my own western understanding, but in a culturally appropriate way.
I held the contrast with tension, the internal glorying in Christ, for what he had done in their lives, with a heaviness of responsibility to teach them well.
Since those days in Africa, baptism has always been a very special event in our family, our local church baptisms are always an event of excitement, as we remember what it has meant to us in the past and how it shapes the lives of those in our present.
Then, it was my daughter wading into the water.
It felt just as hot that morning as any one in Africa, the sun beating relentlessly, sweat dripping onto my sunglasses. Joining her dad and pastor deeper into the water, I watched the glow of her shy smile as she plugged her nose and went under.
Joy in the Lord filled my heart. Gratitude that he saved her, that he opened her eyes to the light of the gospel and softened her heart to submit to his leading.
It's all his work. Not mine.
Then, that familiar nudging, the heaviness of responsibility.
From the day they’re conceived, a God-given role to teach, pray and serve her along every day of her journey. I pray for God’s grace to lead me as I mother, that I’ll be humble enough to confess my own sin, demonstrate repentance, and model a godly example to her-and my others. But the work of Christ is the only work that saves.
The joyful celebration and the stewardship role are ever before me. There seem to be moments in life when they hit a little harder; a prompting of the Spirit to spur me on, when I'm sitting at home, on my way, lying down or getting up to give them his word and teach them truth.
It's a day to be grateful for all the Lord is doing, in the life of my family and in the world.