Faith, Parenting

Unexpected Baptism

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We are never spontaneous. Planners we are. Our plans have plans, and we like it that way. But this weekend I started texting with friends who are like family, wishing we were together having fun. Our friends turned my wish into reality and we threw bags into the van, hit the road, and went to the lake.

We were spontaneous and it felt great. We roasted s’mores and the dads took turns taking the kids out on the jet skis while the moms floated happily in the lake. We killed an entire bag of Sour Patch Kids in mere minutes and we decimated six bags of chips with gusto. The kids jumped and jumped off the side of the boat and we laughed hysterically over wearing life jackets like enormous droopy diapers. Here’s Ana modeling the life jacket codpiece, perfect for floating lazily or staging impromptu Elizabethan plays.

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Our youngest daughter loves Jesus and has been asking us to baptize her for the last few months. We realized, hey, we’re at a lake. We’re being spontaneous. So last night at sunset we baptized Evie in front of dear friends while the silt at the bottom of the lake squished between my toes and I wondered if John THE Baptist ever worried about nippy little fish while Preparing the Way in the Jordan River.

This daughter has taught me so much. I’ve laid my plans down over and over as I’ve learned to parent this one. So a spontaneous trek down to the water was perfect. She has changed everything in all the best ways and my life became an unexpected adventure, so why shouldn’t her baptism be the same way?

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Forgive my momkini. It was such a sweet happy moment with our whole crew in our swimsuits dripping lake water. Afterwards, I realized my belly button was hanging out during a sacrament but it just felt so right, climbing out of the boat after a joy-day on the water. (I’ve never once posted a photo of myself in a bathing suit, but of course Hashtag Baptism Bikini would be my one and only time.)

I had an unconventional Christian upbringing (think house church in my Dad’s veterinary clinic where the dogs joined in howling when we struck up a chorus of “Amazing Grace”). Dad baptized me in a lake in front of our little gathering of friends and then we ate our potluck at the picnic pavilion on shore. When I was in college I had the honor of watching Alex get baptized along with his entire family. All five of them standing in the baptismal water together.

And Alex and I as a couple baptized both our older kids, first Elliott, then half a year later, Ana. The one consistent theme for us in declaring faith in Jesus is family. We always have family in the water and friends cheering from the side and so I can’t think of a better way to baptize our youngest.

I started this blog so long ago when we first began our journey to Evie. She’s been home now for five years, and what a whirlwind it has been. She’s fierce and strong and smart. She’s the tiniest little slip of a human being, but never mistake her for being small. She doesn’t do anything small. Tiny human, huge life. She’s going to take over the world, and yesterday on a spontaneous trip to the lake, she declared that Jesus is Lord.

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  • Grammy

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

  • Kristen

    Beautiful

  • Chantel Adams

    It was an honor to be with you on such a special day! It’s exactly what I would expect from someone named “Unexpected Mel.” :)

    • Melanie Dale

      Ha, true! I’m so glad we were all together for it. It was perfect. Love you.

  • http://jumbledupjoy.blogspot.com Joy Nicholas

    I love this! Sometimes I think we are too spontaneous, and just once I’d like to have a plan! But we’ve never done a spontaneous baptism, and it sounds like it was a beautiful, perfect moment! Also, I love the momkini! ;-)

 

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