Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sophie's Baptism

If you read my last post, you know that the last couple of weeks have been difficult and sad. But there have definitely been sweet moments that I know God orchestrated as a way to shine some rays of sunlight down on the storm. One of those moments was Sunday when Sophie got baptized. How perfect that the timing of this event was so close to the year anniversary of my mother's death! Such a picture of redemption and of being able to celebrate life during a time when death is so on the forefront of my mind.

There were many beams of sunshine this week in regard to Sophie's baptism. For one, on Tuesday, the actually anniversary of my mother's death, I went to my hometown where my brothers and sister live to spend the evening with them. I got there in the afternoon. I went to visit my mother's gravesite and then went up on the town square where the gymnastic studio is that my sister runs. I was going to go in and see her. As I pulled up, I noticed the little jewelry store, Hutchinson's, right next door to the gymnastic studio. Seeing it brought back so many childhood memories! This is where my mom bought any jewelry I was given growing up. My first necklaces and bracelets came from this store. I suddenly had an idea. How special it would be to buy Sophie something here for her baptism! When I walked in the door, it was a comforting sight. Everything was exactly as it had been when I was growing up. The front room had all the display cases of jewelry while the adjoining room contained greeting cards. I can remember as a child looking through the greeting cards while my mom shopped. It appeared that the same man who had worked there when I was growing up was still chugging away in the back room, wearing his magnifying glass over one eye as he worked with the delicate jewelry.

Only a week earlier, Sophie had been admiring my charm bracelet. She loved the idea of adding charms based on what you enjoyed and where you've been. So, it seemed only fitting when I ended up buying her a charm bracelet and getting a charm with a cross on one side and the date of the baptism on the other. The first of many charms to come that will tell the story of her life. As my first charm bracelet was also bought from this store by my mom, it felt as if she was a part of this purchase too and made it all the more special.

The morning before church, we gave Sophie her charm bracelet. Of course, she was thrilled! To complete the specialty of this gift, the Lord did one more thing that just made the purchase and giving of the charm bracelet seem 'just right' and seem so full of Him and His love. The last song we sang as a congregation before the baptism was 'Come Ye Sinners'--a beautiful old hymn about our neediness and sinfulness and the power of Jesus. Here is the chorus:

I will arise and go to Jesus, He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior, Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Wow. I thanked Jesus at that moment for being so involved in the purchase of Sophie's charm bracelet. For letting it be a symbol representing her inheritance that is waiting for her in heaven. Yes, dear Sophie, while your charm bracelet we--your earthly parents--gave you is exquisite and beautiful, dainty and sweet, it is just a very tiny picture of what is to come. One day you will be in the arms of your Savior beholding innumerable charms with untold beauty--beauty beyond human comprehension.

The baptism was so very special and honestly, there are just not words to describe this moment for us personally and for our church. You see, our church just began two years ago and we are currently meeting in a hotel. This was just our second baptism service. The first baptism service was also special in a completely different way. Mostly because it marked the beginning, the first of many more to come. This one, though, was evidence of God's hand upon us, growing us and guiding us. It was a celebration of seeing God work in people's lives. As friends and family surrounded the pool it put a new meaning to the bible verse '..being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses..' It was intimate. It was personal. But most of all, it was Spirit-filled. Ten people were baptized. If I close my eyes I can picture a multitude of angels rejoicing over this. After the last person went down in the water, our song leader led us all in one more song around the pool:

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand, And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land, Where my possessions lie.

All o'er those wide extended plains, Shines one eternal day;
There God the Son forever reigns, And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

No chilling winds nor poisonous breath Can reach that healthful shore;
Sickness, sorrow, pain and death, are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

When shall I reach that happy place, and be forever blessed?
When shall I see my Father's face, and in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land,
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

Sophie's sweet friend Maddie bending down to congratulate Sophie.

Sophie's sweet friends! It warmed my heart to see her surrounded by her precious friends on this day...but whoa, they are looking way too old--quit growing up!!!
One more thing I have to include. There was a bridal show going on that day at the hotel in a room right across from where the pool was located. As we filed out of the pool after the baptism, there was an orchestra playing Canon in D. You know, the song that is traditionally played as the bridal attendants come down the aisle. The one right before the bride arrives. The song that makes you tear up and gives you chills. The song that represents the bride is coming, and the groom is preparing for her. Once again, God is in every detail. It was as if he wanted these ten newly professed Christians to know how very pleased He is with them...how happy He is that they made a decision to be the Bride of Christ. So happy that He announced it with trumpets. Another reminder that He is preparing for us and our arrival--another small picture of what it will be like someday in heaven!


Cathy said...

What a beautiful story and I am sure Sophie will love reading it for years to come. I should not be surprised, but I never cease to be amazed at how God works out all the details.

God's Girl Pearl said...

What a special day!!! Tell Sophie we love her. God is so Good!!!