Why, you may ask, am I celebrating graduating Bible school as a toddler? I am celebrating because I don’t have many memories of attending church or celebrating God’s love. As I was cleaning out my office, I found my baby books that my mom gave me several years ago. I must admit I put them in a cabinet for safe keeping but never read through them.
I have told the story many times about my mother being raised in the church because her father was a Methodist minister. Her family, being a pastoral family would be transferred to a new city and a new church leading her to going to 11 different schools in 12 years. Or was it 12 schools in 11 years? She saw a lot of behind the scene politics and things she felt was unrighteous. She believed then and now in God but pulled away as an adult. This led to our family not attending church regularly throughout my life.
My dad went to church regularly as a child. He was raised by a single mom and his grandmother and developed a deep faith. I have learned much about his faith as we have been taking this walk of pancreatic cancer together for the last year. His heart is very rooted and grounded in God as is my mother’s.
When my older brother was born, my mom wanted to baptize him but my dad said he preferred that he made his own decision on baptism when he was older. This would be the same for any future children. My mom believing a child needed baptism snuck my brother out and had him baptized secretly. This of course cause much tension between my parents. When I was born I think my dad made it very clear that I was not to be baptized and thus was not.
I have struggled mentally and emotionally as a child and as an adult feeling that my brother had some type of favor that I didn’t have because he had been dedicated to God and I had not. I know that probably seems silly to those understanding what baptism truly is but to me it was a deficit within me.
As I now understand that my dad’s decision was truly the best for me, as I understand the commitment decision that goes with publicly announcing you are God’s child and you have accepted Christ as your Savior.
Oh well, back to Bible school. Since I really have few memories of attending church, this baby book really offered me a comfort knowing I had been in church and participating. I was a small 4 year old child learning about Jesus in a religious setting. My parents both must have agreed on this Biblical training at a young age. I felt a small dark spot turn bright that was buried deep in my heart. I keep using the word silly but I could interchange that word with ignorant, foolish, unknowing and many more. My perception of where God is, being in a building surrounded by others is just that, ignorant, foolish, and unknowing because He lives within me in the Holy Spirit.
It’s silly (again, that word) really that I thought less of myself for over 40 years feeling I hadn’t ticked off the proper boxes to be a Christian in every sense. Thinking that one person in my family had found God’s favor because they were baptized and I wasn’t is so not true. I know so differently now.
I was baptized when I was 36 years old along with my daughter, Lexie after my divorce. It was the right time and the right decision. It was when God wanted me to be baptized, not when a parent chose. It made it special, meaningful, as well as peaceful. It made it God’s plan.
If you feel you haven’t fulfilled the checklist to be a Christian, I want you to know there isn’t one. Accepting Jesus as your Savior is all you need and the Holy Spirit will guide you. Don’t waste any part of your life feeling you are not worthy or don’t have God’s favor because you are and you do. Look in your heart and find your Bible school graduation certificate, whatever that may be to you and be healed. My love and gratitude-LoLo.