I was a headstrong child. When I wanted to do something it was hard to stop me. I don’t remember why I decided it was time for me to be baptized but I remember telling my dad that it was time. I figured if baptism was something you had to do to follow Jesus, then I wanted in. I was nine years old and we were sitting at the kitchen table, Dad at his spot at the head of the table and me across from him. “I want to get baptized.” I told him. “Getting baptized is a serious thing, Crissy, are you ready for that?”
I don’t remember my exact answer but I remember him kind of trying to talk me out of it, implying that I wasn’t big enough. Whatever I said must have convinced him because come Easter Sunday I was in the second row of baptism orientation. I was the youngest one there, and the most excited. No one else seemed to share my enthusiasm. I volunteered to be the practice example for crossing your arms. I raised my hand to answer the questions. I was ready.
As we filed to get our white robes, the deaconess ladies struggled to find one that would fit me. They finally settled on a modified version of a robe. It had big wide pant legs and a zipper up the back. I felt disappointed that it wasn’t an official robe but trotted off to suit up anyway. Then the time came for the baptism. It was a Sunday evening service and all the baptism candidates sat in the front rows. I sat patiently, swinging my feet as the others took their turns. I don’t remember looking for my parents. This was very much something I was doing on my own.
When Pastor Wood called my name I eagerly went up to the baptismal tank. He asked me if I understood that by choosing to be baptized I was making a public statement that I wanted to live my life for Jesus. He stuck the microphone in my face and I boldly declared, “Yes!” I understood. I crossed my arms like I had been oriented and went under the water. I stood for a minute, waiting for something to happen, expecting to feel differently. But I didn’t. Next thing I knew I was ushered out, being covered with towels by the dutiful deaconess.
While nothing dramatic came over me, I felt happy and satisfied, like I was somehow one step closer to being who God intended me to be. As I think back on this overly confident little girl standing up to her father, insisting on being baptized, I wonder where the drive came from. What was this deep desire to take a next step in faith? What compelled me to this public moment of surrender? Was it the strong will of a little girl, a desire for attention, or the Father calling me to Himself?
Crissy Brooks MIKA CDC, Costa Mesa, CA