Berkeley was baptised into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints recently.
April 18, 2009 was the day. She was very cute about it all. She was a little nervous about the part where she would be in the water with everyone looking at her. She said "...and that underwear thing doesn't really work for me." I had to laugh. At some point, in her anxiety ridden history, I must have told her to think of everyone in the audience in their underwear. :) We came up with something else that she thought would help...and when we were drying her off in the bathroom after the big dunk, she said "I didn't even have TIME to think of everyone getting their forehead licked...!"
She handled herself with grace throughout the day. I was very proud of her. She was such a little lady in her white dress. She felt like a "beautiful princess" and she looked like one. She made sure to thank people for coming that day and she also thanked people when they handed her a little card or present. Thanks to everyone who came and supported her. We wish we could have invited more, but there were fifty people there as it was!
Here's a picture of the dress she wore:
On a very personal note...
I've been pretty religiously conflicted lately. I'm not spiritually conflicted...but have recently learned some things about the LDS Church that I am not sure if I believe. This is something that has been very difficult for me...especially at a time when Berkeley would be baptised. I was really struggling with allowing her to commit to a religion that I wasn't 100% committed to at the present moment. However, I've come to peace with it. I still believe in 80% of the things I was raised to believe in, probably more than that. Being a member of the Church has blessed my life immensely...and I will never deny that. While I am not sure if I belong "in the church" anymore...I am still aiming to be a very Christian human. I believe in God and Jesus. I believe that we are blessed by working to be more "Christ-like" in our lives. I believe in miracles, angels, feeling inspired, prayer, good values, and more.
If Berkeley is taking a moment in childhood to mark a commitment to these things...I'll support it. In my opinion...very few children will KNOW at age eight if the Church is true. They may KNOW it works for their family. They may KNOW that church makes them happy. They may even have had answers to their prayers. But, the reason I feel that "we" make such a big deal out of them being baptised, is to start them on a clean pathway towards being more Christ-like individuals. They can dedicate a day in their young lives..where they can begin to focus consciously on making good choices, being accountable for stupid ones, and learning MORE about their religion and Who/what they stand for. They can strive to be good examples as friends, family, and in society. This is why I decided that this was a good thing. And it was.
I felt the Spirit on this day. I felt joy and gratitude as I was surrounded by my family~in support of Berkeley~who don't even believe in the LDS faith (or even in God, in some cases) They came anyways. Because they LOVE her and they love me. Whether they wanted to be Christ-like or not...this is the definition of true, Christ-like, love to me.
I hope my children, no matter what religion they do or do not choose in adulthood, will always believe in a Heavenly Father. A God above who created them, loves them, and will help them when they are struggling. A God who can work miracles in their lives, and the many lives around them. A God...who sends us angels....to whisper in our ears when we aren't sure what to do. A God who knows them better than they know themselves. This is what I want for my children. Then, they will never feel totally alone. I've felt pretty alone in my life. Had I not known and believed in God...I don't know how much more hopeless things would have been.
Who knows, on my journey through these doubts, of which side I'll end up. I beg the patience of those around me (both members of the LDS church and not). I may go back, choosing just to "agree to disagree" on some things. Despite what the "nay sayers" of the church say...when we truly strive to live what the church's core goals are....it's a beautiful place to raise your children and self. (I don't know which is harder...raising the girls...or raising me! LOL) But..know this...wherever I end up will be the product of much prayer, fasting, and study. If I don't choose "your way", then know that I've chosen a way that I'm willing to answer to my God for. This is what is important.
If I'm wrong...well, I guess "Hell" will have to decide if they can handle me. ;) (Ten bucks says they'll get rid of me after three days of my constant ruminating!) Heaven or Hell - there better be Coke with lime there...and chips and salsa...and guacamole...and bbq'd steak...and Baskin and Robbins Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream...and...Wicked, the Musical.
On the subject of miracles...
Berkeley's baptism marked the first time, since the divorce, that both families (Steve's and Mine) were in a room together. Our divorce has not been one with many fluffy or amiable feelings, much to my regret. It hasn't been one of much truth either, might I add. (Shit, so much for being Christ-like. Repent, repent....) My focus that day was on Berkeley. I hoped their focus would be that too. I was nervous, but everyone was relatively well-behaved. It was fun to see how the children on Steve's side have grown. It's weird to call them your "nieces and nephews" while you're married for eight years...and then suddenly they are not "yours" anymore. You've loved them, watched them grow, enjoyed watching your children form bonds with them, and then "POOF!" They are not yours...or "your business" anymore. Just another part of divorce that bites the big one.
Big ceremonies in life, big moments with family, big "religious" struggles...all these things make me gather myself into my soul and fill me with gratitude. I AM SO BLESSED. I have so many crappy, crappy things going on in my life right now. But no matter how many times I count my trials...there are always INFINITELY more blessings. God is so mindful of me. He blesses me even when I get ticked with Him. He blesses me even when I am a potty mouth. He blesses me even when I don't necessarily like Sunday School. He blesses me even when it's been awhile since I've thanked him for my blessings.
Enough for now. I love you all so much.