What I hope to teach her about faith someday
Mya was baptized on Saturday October 29th. She looked like an angel in her jumpsuit and dress. In the moment, I felt a million emotions, and only now after a few days have passed am I able to articulate my feelings of that day.
We had been preparing Mya for baptism for over a year. We'd teach her an aspect of Christ's gospel and ask, "Does that make sense? Do you have any questions? Would you like to follow....(honesty, tithing, chastity, etc.)?" Sometimes she'd say yes. Other times she'd say no. Oddly enough I was never discouraged by her occasional no. I felt each answer led to more teaching and more understanding, and I believe becoming a disciple of Christ is a lifelong mission so I was very accepting of every step she took that led her to her decision to be baptized.
Of course as the months ticked off the calendar and she watched more and more of her peers choose to be baptized, her desire to be baptized grew stronger, and she finally asked to be baptized. The days leading up to her baptism were filled with innocent and hopeful questions like "Mama, what if I mess up? What if I don't know everything? Will I feel Him?" Each query resonated in my pondering heart, and I reflected on how I felt all those years ago when I too chose to be baptized. I think the biggest memory I have of my experience was returning home from the church and sitting on my bed alone. I remember thinking how I wanted to do everything right so I didn't have to say I'm sorry to anyone, especially God. I think I made it to 6pm that day without making a single mistake, and I thought that was quite the accomplishment.
As I shared my story with Mya, I reminded her that baptism is just a step, albeit an important one, on our faith journey. And I told her that I was proud of her for wanting to be like Jesus and that no matter what He and I would always love her, even if she made a mistake. I could've told her a million other things that I've learned about faith and Christ, but I kept it simple. Time will gift me the opportunity to teach her what I know as she grows and matures.
What I hope to tell her someday is that faith in Jesus Christ is more than an institution or a religion. It's more than words or hymns in a book. It can't be proven with facts, but it certainly isn't fiction. Faith in Jesus Christ isn't (or at least it shouldn't be) passive or dormant. It isn't something someone can convince you of no matter how hard they try. It is something you have to want--want so badly that your body literally hungers and thirsts to know Him and then to be like Him. Faith will ebb and flow. There will be years she will feel so close to God, and then there will be years she'll wonder where He is at all. Faith will feel like a light in this somewhat confusing and dark tunnel we call life.
I will also tell her throughout her life that I believe in Jesus Christ. I know He is real. I felt His presence as she gracefully entered the waters of baptism at the hand of her father. I know of Christ's love. The very thought of his love makes my heart feel joy, even and perhaps especially when life doesn't feel very joyful. Becoming like Him is my ultimate goal. It's a bit of a challenge in my current life situation because I don't always have time to read His words, and I often fall asleep during my prayers at night, but I'm trying. And I absolutely believe He knows that.
Someday I will tell her all these things, but for now I will keep theses feelings of love and gratitude close to my heart because it truly is a remarkable thing to help God's children on their path back to Him.