If you have been following our blog posts for a while you may already know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
In our church, children become official members when they turn 8 years old and decide to be baptized.
By the way, if you are not into religion, don’t get discouraged of reading this blog post just because I mentioned the words ‘church or baptism’ on my very first paragraph. I promise you that if you keep an open mind even my own best wishes to my daughter might apply to some of your own family.
Time really does fly. It may not seem like that on a regular basis, with all our rutine duties: school runs, after school activities, family weekends, birthdays, celebrations and so on, but if you just stop to think back on all of the years that have gone by you can really see how time moves forward in the blink of an eye. I can recall struggling with breastfeeding her, my first child, like it was yesterday, and now I am here writing a few words and feelings about her baptism.
So to you, my not so little one: 10 things I want you to know before your baptism.
#1 It will always be your own choice
You have grown in a family where we love God and strive to live our lives according to what we know about His teachings. You know we love you ALWAYS and NO MATTER what. We encouraged you to read the scriptures, the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and we challenged you to ask God about how you felt. You will always be the one that decides what to do, what to follow, what to believe. You will always have that freedom to choose for yourself and for us to respect your choice. Even after you get baptized, you will be the one making decisions in different aspects of your own life: your friends you choose, your attitude in school, your disposition to accept challenges. We’re here to guide you but you will always be the captain of your own ship.
#2 Faith takes courage and actions
To have faith means to believe in something or someone that you cannot see but you know it’s true. We believe in Jesus Christ even though we have never seen him. You know deep in your heart how you feel towards God and his Son. You have come to realise that not that many people around you actually share that belief. Be not discouraged, having faith and showing that faith will require a brave soul to always choose what you think it’s right regardless of what others choose to do. It will mean that sometimes you might be the only one, or not, but trust me when I tell you this, you will see the rewards in your life for standing your own ground.
#3 You are making a big promise but He is also promising something to you
Baptism is a sacred promise, it is sacred because it is only between yourself and Heavenly Father, that is why it makes it so important. You know your part of the promise: to always try your best to follow him and his gospel. But I want you to remember what He promises in return: that we will never be alone, even if we are the only one, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit will be there for you to comfort you, guide you and cheer you up. To help you overcome your fears, to help you choose the right. That is the most precious gift he could give us all, because that will be the only way we can be together forever as a family.
#4 You will make mistakes, even after you get baptized
Baptism will leave you like a new born baby, you know how it says in the scriptures ‘all your sins will be washed away’ So that means you will begin a brand new life but this time with the help of the Spirit to guide you at all times. But because we are human, we are not perfect and we make mistakes, almost every single day. You will too, but don’t get discouraged, remember that we have the power to REPENT, to CHANGE, every single day, every morning when you wake up you have a brand new opportunity to make things right. If you have hurt someone, say sorry, if you have done something wrong, fix it. You can always change and decide to do things in a different way. The best part is that when we repent, we grow and become stronger for the next challenge.
#5 Be teachable and humble
People usually mistake ‘humility’ with ‘submisiveness’ and they relate it to something negative. Be humble means being strong enough to accept that you can always learn, that you may not know everything. Be humble means that you accept that God has an even better plan for your life that the one you can think of. In a few years time when you enter into those ‘teenage years’ when you think you know everything, please, remember, be humble and teachable, open to feel God’s love and his light.
#6 If you don’t know something ask God
You have learnt enough to know that you want to be baptized and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. But your journey doesn’t end at baptism, that is just the beginning of a long-life process of conversion. In your path you will encounter doubts and questions about what you learn at church, what you read or what you hear. As Elder Uchdorft said ‘Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith’ which doesn’t mean follow blindly what everyone does and says in the church.
It means that when you can’t understand something or is not clear enough, then go the main source and ask your Father in Heaven to help you answer those questions. You may receive the answer through the words of a good friend, or through something you read in the scriptures or that you hear. No matter what and no matter where Heavenly Father will talk to you through your feelings and thoughts so always trust what he tells you. You will recognise the difference between false and true because whatever comes from God it will make you feel right, it will bring peace to your heart and to your mind.
#7 Live the gospel cheerfully
Being a member of the church doesn’t mean to be recluded in an everlasting boring bubble. It means that you can live your life cheerfully, knowing who you are and what you believe. It means to have fun in a way that you won’t regret your choices. It means to show your talents and the light you have by being an example and showing others that despite the challenges in our life we can still be happy, we can still feel peace.
#8 Be a light to others without judging
Always be brave to be the light in a room full of darkness but don’t use that light to point out at others flaws and weaknesses. Remember we are all in our own path towards Heavenly Father and you never know what is inside of other people’s hearts. So when you see others making not so good choices, be that light they need and care for them without putting in risk your own standards and values.
#9 The Gospel is true, church is true, people are just people
On this journey you will meet many, not a few, but many people in the church, even your own friends and family that will make the wrong choice at some point or another. They might even hurt you on purpose or not, but despite that, remember the feeling that you had when you were baptized, that feeling you had when you where reading for the first time the Book of Mormon every night. Remember why you chose to become a member and stick to that feeling of assurance that Heavenly Father and his Son are perfect even though we are not.
#10 We love you more than you can imagine
You will only be able to understand a mother’s love when you become one or care very deeply about someone as we care about you. Know my little one that you will always be our little girl, loved and care by two parents who are trying their best to help you achieve your full potential. Remember that above all we will always love you more than you can imagine just as you are now; an amazing person that loves and cares for others, fun to be around with and humble enough to change when you do things wrong. We promise you that our love for you will never change and only increase day by day as we share with you this mortal journey.
We love you forever,
Mama y Papa