Last week you turned eight. I remember the day you were born, and I had a some quiet moments there in the hospital room with you all to myself, and I looked into your little face and daydreamed about all the special days of your life: Your blessing day, first days of school, your baptism day, graduation day, your wedding day, etc. I looked at you and wondered to myself what those days would feel like for you, and what they would feel like for me. Well, Monday was one of those special days, that I was able to witness and be a part of. You made the choice to enter the waters of baptism on your 8th birthday!
We were able to arrange your baptism date for your birthday, since you are the only birthday this month. A small service was arranged for 9am on Monday morning. Although most people were out of town for the holiday, Bishop Porter, the Campbells, the Snells, the Thompsons, Brother McCain and Nana and Papa were able to be there. Grandma and Grandpa weren't able to travel, due to Grandmpa's poor health, and your dear primary teacher Sister Breyman was witnessing her son's temple marriage in Utah! They all so wanted to be there, but all wrote beautiful cards, and Grandma and Grandpa sent along a brand new set of scriptures, which you treasure!
I actually really liked the small, intimate group, and as we met in the Relief Society Room with the morning sun streaming in the windows on a perfectly beautiful day, and you and your dad dressed in your whites, it felt just about perfect.
|Not nervous, just excited and happy!|
Due to our small group, all hands were on deck. Yaks was asked to give the prayer. I worried as he stood up there he would make it super-short or bless the food. But, he gave a very thoughtful prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for this Baptism day, blessing that we would all "feel the Holy Ghost", and that this would be a special day. It was the sweetest prayer, truly! I gave the talk on Baptism. I had a hard time even writing it without getting emotional, so I ended up just reading the whole thing! There's a reason they don't ask moms to give talks at these types of occasions! It sure is a special day for a mom.
Eight years ago today, on a beautiful late-summer day, you left Heavenly Father’s home and were born into our family here on earth. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and especially Dad and I, were so excited and grateful to have you join our family! You were beautiful and clean and new and perfect. It is a day we will never forget.
And now, eight years later, today is another very special day. Not only your birthday, but also the day that you have chosen to be baptized! Jane, you are about to participate in your very first saving ordinance, and make your first covenant with your Heavenly Father! Baptism is the first step to returning to live with our Father in Heaven. John 3:5 reads, "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
We named you Jane Marie, after your two great-grandmothers. Jane Dibble Farrer and Borghild Marie Paulsen were strong women in the gospel. They were women, who made good choices and stayed close to Heavenly Father and followed the Savior. You have been given a strong name to carry on this earth, and wonderful examples to follow.
When we make a promise to Heavenly Father, He makes one right back to us, and those promises are called covenants. Heavenly Father never breaks His promises to us, and we need to try every single day never to break our promises to Him.
Just as you were given a name as a baby, today when you are baptized, you will take another name upon you. Do you know whose name that is? (Jesus) This does not mean you will be called by His name, but that you will try to keep the commandments and follow Jesus’ example. Today your dad is going to baptize you. He has that Priesthood Authority, which blesses our lives every day.You will come up out of that water today, perfect and clean and new, just like the day you were born.
But, what will happen if later today or next week, you make a mistake? What if you tell a lie or say something unkind to your sister or brother? Well, we aren’t perfect. None of us are. We ALL make mistakes, and Heavenly Father knows that. And so today, Heavenly Father makes you a promise right back, that He will forgive you if you repent or your mistakes, and also that you will have the gift of the Holy Ghost to help you return to live with Him again. Papa will be talking more about the Holy Ghost after you are baptized.
Every Sunday you have a chance to remember the covenant you made this day when you take the sacrament. Now when you take the sacrament and sit very still, you can remember the promises that you made to Heavenly Father and the promises He made to you. You can think about the kind of person you were that week and how you can be a little better. But most importantly when you eat the bread and drink the water, remember that Jesus died and was resurrected for you and for me and for all of us, so that we can return again to live with our Father in Heaven.
Baptism is a very important ordinance, and I know Heavenly Father is so happy for the choice you have made to be baptized today. (Testimony)
|Nana and Boo|
After the talks, your Dad baptized you and then confirmed you. I know your Dad and I felt The Spirit in the room, and I hope you did too, as you were immersed in the water. I felt like your Great Grandmothers were able to be there to witness it as well, and that made me so happy. Sister Mertes congratulated you on your baptism and quoted the scripture in Alma 29:1 "Oh, that I were an Angel", and she wondered if she were an angel, what would she tell people? She said she would tell people to look at and follow Boo, who is "a bright, quiet little light shining in our Primary." Bishop commented that when he asked you if you were nervous to meet with him you said simply, "No." He's such a dear Bishop. We love him!
We've been preparing together as a family all year for this special day. Our family home evenings since last year have been dedicated to learning the principles of the gospel, understanding the articles of faith, and reading the Book of Mormon. You wanted to read the whole book by your baptism date, but our busy summer of moving and family trips has us still wading through Alma. That's okay. We're doing it! You did meet your own personal goal to memorize all 13 of the Articles of Faith. The Primary President said you are the youngest one to ever complete them. That's pretty awesome.
This year has been one of flexing your independent muscles, and experimenting with consequences of your choices, both good and bad. It's been a good year of learning for all of us! At times during this year, I felt overwhelmed as a mom - like eight was too young for you to make such important covenants with our Father in Heaven, and I worried that I hadn't prepared you enough for this important day. But, then I realized that you are just at the very beginning of that path back to Heavenly Father. There is so much more to learn, experience and understand. I am so thankful that you have another even better teacher to teach you. You now have the companionship of the Holy Ghost to help you make those important decisions, to learn and to help you in ways that I maybe can't. I'm grateful eight is the age for baptism.
For the closing song you chose "How Firm a Foundation", because you "love that song". One of my favorite verses is:
“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My gracious, omnipotent hand.
After your baptism we had a little brunch with our guests, followed by presents and a spaghetti and meatball dinner, followed by cake and ice cream later in the day. But, more than the pretty presents or the delicious dinner, or the sweet cake, I hope you remember why this birthday was such a special one. I hope you never forget your eighth birthday when you were baptized and wore a pretty white dress, felt the delicious feeling of being washed clean and new, and felt the sweet feeling of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
We love you, Boo! Happy Birthday and Baptism Day!