When I first started planning for my eight year old daughter‘s baptism, I thought about all our usual traditions. I had no idea her baptism would be very different from a typical baptismal day.
Essential Preparations for Baptism
Our usual preparations begin with teaching the importance of baptism. Clint and I discussed with our family the covenant Rebekah would be making with God and how He had blessed us as a result of our baptisms. When we were baptized we promised God to keep His commandments, follow Jesus Christ’s example, and essentially obey the law.
We talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost Rebekah would receive after her baptism. This is a special time for us to share our hearts and for the children to ask questions even when some kids are a bit wiggly.
In our church, children are baptized at eight years old as they are then old enough to be accountable for their choices. Jesus taught that little children have no sins so they don’t need baptism. Rebekah has looked forward to her baptism day for years.
So, a sweet children’s song was going through my head while I wrote this post. The joyful lyrics remind me Jesus loves little children’s innocence. Young children intuitively trust the Holy Spirit when it testifies of Christ. I love seeing their faith in Him! This YouTube rendition of I Know That My Savior Loves Me is adorable.
Lovely White Dress
Getting a beautiful white dress is a fun tradition. Rebekah and I looked online to find one. She was very decided that she wanted a long dress with short sleeves. We saw one at White Elegance Rebekah instantly fell in love with. It was Disney princess gown length with lace. I waited to buy it though hoping for a sale.
A couple months before her baptism day, everyone was ordered to quarantine! All churches were closed so we would worship on Sundays in our home instead. Since we couldn’t go to church for the foreseeable future, I wondered if I should buy a special dress for my daughter!
I realized I had forgotten we don’t dress up when we go to church because other people will see what we wear. If we were meeting someone important, like a queen or president of our country, we wouldn’t dress up in everyday clothes. We dress in our best for church as a way of honoring God.
God doesn’t care if what we wear costs much; in fact, I suspect He likes it better when we are frugal so we can be generous with those less fortunate. We wear our best to help direct our minds to God instead of the beach, mountains, or playground. I know dressing up on Sunday, whether at home or in a church, helps me feel more refined. It is easier to remember Sunday is a day dedicated to time with family and worshipping God.
I found a coupon and bought my daughter’s favorite dress. She wears it as we worship in our home, for now, on Sundays. It has been fun to watch her enjoyment. It reminds me how much God loves to give us good gifts too. He sent us His Son as the best gift of all!
Do I Still Get Baptized?
The week of Rebekah’s baptism she met with our bishop online. My husband and I participated in the discussion as well. He asked her questions to see if she understood the significance of baptism and if she had any questions herself about baptism.
Only immediate family and one member of the bishopric would be able to come though we could have a conference call for other family members to join in. (After Rebekah’s baptism, news was released that day that up to twenty people could now attend a baptism.) Rebekah still wanted to be baptized and not put it off until after the quarantine even though her cousins wouldn’t be able to come yet.
I had considered a virtual birthday party previously so was not surprised by the possibility of a conference call during the baptism. We had a lovely Mother’s Day Zoom meeting with all the cousins where we had a Family Home Evening lesson, shared memories, and sang hymns. We opted to not do this with the baptism though. I am very glad we simplified things.
Baptism and the Priesthood
We drove to the church for her baptism Saturday morning. I became aware of the same warm joyful feeling that has attended all our children’s baptisms.
Because of the coronavirus quarantines, my son Joseph had been returned home temporarily from his mission to Bolivia. He will be going out again to serve his mission but now in Riverside, California instead pending the quarantine restrictions. What a blessing to have him with us for his sister’ baptism!
Joseph gave a brief talk on Baptism and played the piano while we sang hymns. My other missionary son, Benjamin, gave a talk too on the gift of the Holy Ghost. My husband baptized our daughter since he has the priesthood. Benjamin and Joseph do too so they were able to help him lay hands on Rebekah’s head to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost with the bishop’s counselor.
Afterwards, we enjoyed taking pictures of together in the beautiful spring weather. I loved the new flowers reminding me of hope and new birth just as Rebekah had been ‘reborn’ to Christ. The pictures turned a little silly and even reminded me of a wedding photo shoot.
My son reminded me that during their enthusiastic selfies session with my phone, it was dropped and the screen was cracked. However it still took pictures the rest of the day. It died a day or two later. I needed to replace it anyway so was not too upset. It may have been perfect timing.
Celebrating Together as a Family
Just because we couldn’t have aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents over didn’t mean we couldn’t celebrate! As we always have family over for a baptism I had purchased some fun treats during a shopping trip a couple months earlier. My children had no trouble deciding what to do with the extra Smashmallows (yum!), cookies, and chocolate I had bought. I made some mini Rocky Road cupcakes modifying an Epicurious recipe to make it gluten free with healthier sugars because Rebekah wanted Rocky Road treats.
I couldn’t find the bag of chocolate chips just minutes after getting them out. I looked all over and finally prayed. My daughter showed up a few seconds later. She had discovered my toddler happily hidden by the side of my bed munching away on the now open bag of chips.
I may be what is called intuitive but I don’t think that is quite right. When I tried going off intuition to add vegetables to my baking recipes, my children were not enthused. I had one attempt that for reals was unappetizing! But when I try to seek God’s help with creating new recipes, they turn out delicious.
I was frustrated while baking because I halved only some ingredients. After fixing that mistake, I moved on to deciding on the dry ingredients substitutions to make it gluten-free.
None of the ingredients I considered felt quite right. I finally told myself I couldn’t do this. I felt God respond “Yes you can!” So I sat down, tried to meditate, and trusted Him to help me.
I received an idea for the flour substitute. The little ones helped me top our treat with cookie dough flavored Smashmallows before putting them in the oven. The results were unexpected but delicious! I would say it turned out like a soft baked edible peanut butter cookie dough instead of a cupcake. It reminded my husband of some fluffy peanut butter candy he had as a child. The treats were happily consumed by my whole family.
Rebekah delightedly constructed her own treat for our family with pineapple Smashmallows, confetti cookies from Trader Joe’s, and chocolate chips in adorable flower cupcake wrappers. The next day when I made some llama-shaped chocolates (inspired by my son’s mission to Bolivia), Rebekah delightedly topped her remaining creations with the llamas.
It’s About God and Family
The kids played some games and we watched several episodes from Season 1 of Redwall. We don’t remember what we ate for dinner that night which reminds me it wasn’t the food that was important but the joy of being together.
None of this was what I originally imagined. It was better! Rebekah says her favorite memory of her baptism day is “happiness”. It is true that “the Lord is in the small details of our lives” as well as the large details.