When I was talking about baptizing Ely with the Pastor at Santiago Community Church, he asked some questions, among them "Why do you want to baptize her?" My response was something along the lines of "It is our public acknowledgment that she belongs to God. He created her. He blessed us with her. We have her for the relatively short-term, but she belongs to Him forever." I suppose this was my interpretation of Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb..."
Some of you will read that and roll your eyes and possibly think I am a complete fool. Some will like the answer. (Side note: Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am far from a model of holiness, let's put that out there right now ...) Some may have already stopped reading. No matter what, the answer came from my heart.
Despite ALL my flaws, I have been given a tremendous gift called “Faith”. I don’t know if my parents, society or God himself gave it to me, but I certainly didn't earn it. It has been my calm in so many of the storms of life and I am very grateful for it. There have been times when I've really questioned the whole God thing. But, I no matter what, I always seem to come back to the "God-shaped hole" in my heart that only He can fill.
I think it follows naturally that I should share this faith with a certain small child in my life. I don't really think of it as teaching her about God, because, I often think she knows much more about Him than I do. Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, “Let the little ones come to me, and do not keep them away: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Recently, as she has started to use “thank you” appropriately and without prodding, we have been praying together. I pray things like “Thank you God for our family, friends, home and countries. Amen.” At first, she didn’t say much, then, after a few days, she prayed “Thank you 'Malia. Thank you Seba." (Her two best buds). Slowly, she started including other people: Ruth (our cleaning lady who is truly a blessing to our house), 'Buela, 'Buelo, Pop Pop, Gramma. Sometimes, when I am really lucky, she includes me on the list of people she is thankful for.
Her prayers really warm my heart. I love the way she looks at me as if to ask "Is that right?" and, perhaps even more, I love reassuring her that "God is yours as much as mine. You can say whatever you want to Him." And the best part: the smile on her face as she feels accepted and approved of by her mommy and her God.
Her prayers are also enlightening. At an age when Ely can be so darn stubborn, praying seems to be the most natural of acts for her. Her prayers are simple. Her prayers are about people. She has yet to say, "Thank you for my new toy." I am sure she will, but it impresses and humbles me how, each night, she remembers the people that she loves instead of the things she has- and, I feel challenged to do the same, not only in prayer, but in all aspects of life.
I suppose this is another reminder that “While we try to teach our children about life, they teach us what life is all about.” ~Angela Schwindt