by Kristine John
***My 4th child will be baptized tomorrow. I found this as I was looking for something I'd already written to post today, and thought it was appropriate for the state of mind I am in.***
You know, it just wasn’t fair. I had wrestled with myself all night to try and work up the courage to walk down the long, sloping hill to one of the gardens in my grandparent's backyard. I knew that I needed someone to baptize me soon, and I decided I wanted my grandfather to be the one to actually baptize me. Making that decision was the easy part, and it wasn't what scared me, the part that scared me was the fact that my mother insisted that I ask Grandpa myself that scared me.
I was never afraid of Grandpa, but for some reason, this was awkward, odd, and yes, even downright scary. My father had baptized my brother just 18 months before and yet, due to my parents divorce, he was now gone, and I had to find someone else to do the job that he would have done had he still been in our home. I was such a shy girl, that talking to an adult about something important was intimidating to me. However, I knew that in order to actually get to be baptized, I would need to get past my fear, and just ask.
I don’t remember that hill leading to the lower garden ever being so long. As I walked down the dirt slope, I pondered on the many thoughts running through my head: What if he said no? What would it be like to actually go under the water? Did I really have to be baptized on the same day as all of the other kids in the Stake? My brother had been the only one baptized on the day he was baptized, could I have my own baptism too? Finally I reached Grandpa, working in the garden, and before I lost my nerve, blurted out the words “Will you baptize me?” I don’t remember his exact reply, but I know he was very reassuring, and yes, even willing to perform this very important ordinance for me.
The evening of my baptism soon arrived. I put on my white eyelet dress and rubbed my fingers on the velvety ribbon that went around the waist. I loved that soft feeling against my fingertips. I felt very pretty with my hair twisted into two braided buns on the sides of my head.
I don’t remember feeling that my baptism night was really mine. The talks at the service were given by friends or relatives of some of the other 9 or 10 children getting baptized that night. The Primary songs were songs I knew, but none of them were ones that I had chosen. My birthday was late in the month, and so I was one of the last ones to actually be baptized. My excitement about the actual baptism ordinance was real. I knew that I wanted to be clean, and never make any mistakes ever again, and I knew that by being baptized, I would have the opportunity to start over with all of my sins washed away.
I loved the feeling I had when I came up out of the water. I felt warm and happy, and I knew that my decision was a good one. I was confirmed the next day, in Sacrament meeting. I never did understand as a child that by renewing my baptismal covenants on a weekly basis, the ordinance of the sacrament could actually help me become as clean as the night of my baptism . How I wish I had been more spiritually prepared for such an important event.
However unprepared I actually was for the event, I do know a few things in regards to the decision I made that day. It was my decision. My mother did not force me, or automatically expect me to be baptized. She actually let me choose whether or not that was what I wanted. I knew that I felt good and right making this choice, and that I wanted to follow Jesus. I knew that no matter who baptized me, it was the same in Heavenly Father’s eyes, and that I would be washed clean. As an adult, I am so grateful for this particular decision I made as a young child, the decision to go forward in faith, and make a positive impact on my future and my life.