I’ve said in my About Me that I think some people have had a hard time dealing with my new found spiritual voice. But really, they shoulda seen it comin’.
I’m a wear-my-heart-tattooed-on-my-forehead-so-I-can-read-it-in-the-mirror kinda gal. What the heck does that mean, you ask? I know how I feel but sometimes, it seems backwards to those looking at me. If you look long enough, you’ll get it. I’m an open book.
This Saturday, at 5pm, I’m getting dunked Jesus Style. No, not a few splashes on my noggin and a wipe of a washcloth. I’m holding my nose, closing my eyes, and letting go of my inhibitions by being fully submerged. Jesus Style. I’m gettin’ baptized. Again.
I pulled out my trusty Book of Common Prayer (ok, I cheated and used The Online Book of Common Prayer) to see what had happened on June 21, 1980. (I was a year and six days old). They stood before God and were asked the following:
- Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?
- Will you by your prayers and witness help this child to grow into the full stature of Christ?
Their answer: I will, with God’s help.
I can say, with complete confidence, my parents did their jobs.
I was a difficult child. There is no explanation besides God’s gracious hand steering and comforting my parents when I was throwing a tantrum to beat all tantrums. I was going for gold. I *always* go for gold, even in my fits.
If you are reading this and have known me (the *real* me, not the me you think you know), you would have seen my spiritual voice gaining ground for much of my life:
I knew the entire Amy Grant In Concert Volume 2 album backwards and forwards by the time I was 6.
I wanted to BE Amy Grant for Halloween (pre-Baby Baby years)
I wanted to BE Amy Grant.
My sixth birthday surprise was an Amy Grant concert (I still remember not knowing where we were going, having my sister cover my eyes as we pulled up, only to have Amy Grant’s name in lights before me when she took them away. Incidentally, my Hubby was at that concert too.)
I gleefully went to Christian summer camps every age from 7-years to 19-years old. The longer the camp, the better. When I got too old to be a camper, I staffed.
At one of the camps in particular, we received caritas (a gift, no strings attached). My parents probably don’t know it, but I would pull out my box of caritas when I was feeling alone, attacked, scared, or in need of a spiritual connection and read them over and over. Often, the readings came with candles and tears.
I was confirmed at 14 and cried a single tear at the gentle touch of the Bishop’s hand on my head.
I sang in a rock band in church and took it very seriously. I was spreading God’s word through music. I’ll never forget the band meeting we had when my
bandleader priest mentor friend pointed out that our talents were gifts from God. I took it to heart and have never looked back.
When I strayed from the church when I was in my early 20s, it wasn’t because I didn’t believe anymore. It wasn’t because I was angry with God over one thing or another. I needed to find my spiritual voice.
I’ve found it.
WIthout my parents, I wonder if I ever would have heard of Amy Grant. I wonder if I ever would have met the incredible people I did at the dozens of camps I went to. I wonder if I would have understood what it meant to have a gift from God.
I thank them for standing up on June 21 (oh my word. I just realized that that is TODAY. God Moment), 1980 and proclaim their intent for my life. I thank them for raising me to feel safe in the church and for reaching to attain what I know is possible for me as God’s child. I thank them for accepting the choices I have made, for supporting me in the paths I’ve taken, and loving me through them all, even if they weren’t where they would have gone. I thank them for helping me find my spiritual voice, even if they don’t always like what it says.
When I told my mom that I was getting re-baptized, she asked “why?”. While I may be getting dunked Jesus-Style (read: WAY different from my Episcopal upbringing), my reason for Baptism still stands true:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.”
And I will live this, teach this, and pray for this daily. I will, with God’s help.