Today is a big day in the Lovejoy family. 4 years ago today, Hannah stepped into a pool of water at MLC, and her dad had the distinct honor of baptizing her and welcoming her to the family of God. We sent out E-vites to everyone we knew asking them to come celebrate the day with us. School teachers were invited. Neighbors were invited. And, family travelled from other states to watch my daughter go public with the most important decision she will ever make. We asked Hannah to write down her thoughts about the whole experience, and we added it to a scrapbook to help her remember the day. And, of course, since we live in the South, we topped it all off with a yummy dinner.
Sounds like fun, huh? It was. We celebrated BIG. But, the truth is that event was simply a declaration of Hannah’s decision to live for Jesus. It’s similar to a wedding – the wedding is simply the event that declares to the world that a couple is married. After the baptism – after the wedding – work must be done. After the baptism, we have to learn to walk with Jesus, submit ourselves to Him, and learn His ways. The baptism is just the beginning; it’s not the end!
So, each March 25, we celebrate Hannah’s spiritual birthday. We go out for ice cream, and Hannah shares what she’s learned about God over the past year. We talk about the various ways she has served God through the church, how she has loved other people, and how she is growing in her relationship with God.
Why do we have this conversation? Because we want to help Hannah see her growth, challenge herself to become more like Jesus, and, maybe most importantly, remember the decision she originally made. In other words, as her parents we are responsible for discipling Hannah. We take that charge seriously. We also make it fun by giving her gifts, leaving her encouraging notes, and celebrating the Godly choices she makes.
So, today we will celebrate. And, because Hannah is getting older (she’s now 12), she is taking on some new responsibilities. Today, she’s giving me her plan for her own spiritual growth for this year. She’s never made a plan like this, but she older now, so it’s time. Sound crazy? Not so much. I helped her out by giving her a list of some creative ways to spend time with God, so she can pick and choose what works for her. She went shopping the other day and picked out a devotional that she liked. And, she’s setting a goal for how many days each week she’ll spend time with God. I’ve encouraged her to start slowly and not bite off more than she can chew. The goal is to help her win!
Hannah is pumped about today. She has already been working the plan that she’ll reveal. She loves this stuff! Why? Because God captured her heart 6 years ago, and we have been stoking those fires ever since. Discipleship starts at home.
Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”