Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sprinklings and Soakings: A Baptism Story

The memory is hazy but the impression lingers to this day.

Sitting in my parents' bedroom as my mom stood before their closet.  Two piles of clothes on the floor, one for her and one for my dad.  She was trying to figure out what they should wear for their baptism that night.

My parents decided to leave the Catholic church when I was a few years old.  We landed at a charismatic church, quite different from the traditional liturgy they'd been raised on.  My first memories of church are Sunday School at this new church, my only knowledge of Catholicism amassed from family get togethers.

I knew that I had been baptized as a baby.  There were pictures to prove it.  My mom explained that she and my dad had been baptized when they were babies as well.  They were realizing this was not enough.

Tonight they would stand before their church and proclaim their faith.  I don't remember mom's exact words but can still picture her shining face, alive with her beliefs, alive with her love for God.

She stood among the piles of clothes, weighing the wisdom of a bathing suit and t-shirt or perhaps a garbage bag with holes cut for head and arms.  But it wasn't the wearing that mattered so much, as the wording of faith made public.  Even as ones that had been sprinkled as babes, my parents saw this as a step to grow and a way of owning their relationship with Christ.

I don't know that I was present for their baptisms.  For whatever reason, mom explaining their decision mattered more to my memory than the action itself.

Several years later I would choose to be baptized at another church.  My moment of owning my faith.  It is no coincidence that my parents' decision planted the seeds for my own.

When it was my turn, I went in with a t-shirt and workout shorts. Though soaked with the weight of a robe, I left the baptismal with a light heart.

This post was written for the Remarkable Faith link-up at Giving Up on Perfect, a series of memories and posts as we approach Lent.

Do you have any memories of baptism?  What are your thoughts on baby baptism vs. adult baptism?  I have many friends across the spectrum on this.


  1. I had linked up to Mary's blog too today. I'm all for both baby and adult baptisms and after reading Mary's post about her being baptized three times, I think I'm all in favor of multiples too! Thank you for sharing today. Blessings.

  2. I think it's great that you and your parents all decided to proclaim your love and faithfulness to God MORE THAN ONCE!!! I was baptized as a baby, but I was never able to see the beauty and meaning of baptisms until a certain one when I was 13. I posted that on my blog today.

    Blessings to you!

  3. It's amazing how those quiet conversations with our parents can make such an impact, even now. Thank you for sharing this, Leigh!

  4. Thanks for sharing Leigh! I love how the memory of your mom talking about the baptism was so important to you. As a mom of two little ones it makes me realize the potential influence I have, even in seemingly small situations. I found your post through the Remarkable Faith series over at Giving up on Perfect. :)

  5. P.S. Love how you traveled from the midwest to the south (Specifically TN!), and I traveled from Tennessee to the midwest. I miss Tennessee so much, so I hope you're enjoying it! :) And, I heart fried pickles!

  6. I got baptized with my parents when I was five. Them getting ready for baptismal the night before stemmed on a conversation about Jesus that changed my life forever. But when I graduated the 12 step group at Celebrate Recovery I knew that I had to do it again. I was a new person, closer than ever to God, because of that group, and I couldn't wait to proclaim my new relationship with Him again.


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