I could sit up all night writing about God's obvious hand in my life, as it pertains to my family... but, tonight I'm just focusing on prayer. This is something that I have really struggled with over the years. My confession: The only thing I'm consistent with is NOT praying on a regular basis; while I try to focus my prayer time interceding on the behalf of others, my prayers always come back to me; it's quite remarkable if I can start and finish my prayer time without veering off track.... by making my mental shopping list for the next grocery run or constructing the "To Do" list for the following day. But, despite all this, there is one thing I have consistently prayed for over the past 10 years... that my husband would openly accept and acknowledge the authority of Jesus in his life. And after a decade of prayers and countless tears that prayer was answered. And just like everything else... God's timing was perfect.
Raised Catholic, my husband was baptized as an infant. He was raised in the church, but like many others, regardless of doctrine, he became jaded by religious tradition. To make things "worse," my husband is simply amazing. He is a man of integrity. His moral compass points north. Frankly, he's quite annoying.... but I say that with an abundance of love (and just a smig of jealousy!). Over the years, it's been particularly trying for me. I would often read 1 Corinthians 7:14 for encouragement... but, more times than not, it led to frustration. I didn't understand why this prayer wasn't being answered. My intentions were good: I wanted a spiritual leader for me and our children. Isn't that the way it's suppose to be? Doesn't God want that for all of His children? But, what really troubled me was "my part" in 1 Corinthians. I was always aware of the fact that Jamie was watching me... acknowledging the fact that there is NO WAY IN THE WORLD he would want to trust Jesus with his life if it meant enduring the sometimes painful pruning process that he often saw reflected in my life. Walking with Christ isn't easy and the past two years of my life is a strong testimony to that. But, thankfully, I'm not responsible for my husband's salvation. And the moment I realized that... everything changed.
Over the course of the past few months, our eldest daughter started asking questions about baptism. It finally got to the point that she wanted to talk to "Mr. Scott" about it... which happened one Tuesday afternoon over ice cream at a local shop. I wish I could express the simple beauty of that interaction. Sydney has grown up in our church. "Mr. Scott and Mrs. Beth" are considered to be more than our pastor and his wife. They are our friends. The people with whom we have spent Christmas morning. The ones we call in an emergency. One of two brave couples that have agreed to raise our children if anything should ever happen to us. They are more than friends... they are our family. So, I just naturally assumed that Sydney would want Scott to baptize her. But, God had other plans... and he used Sydney as the seed. For you see, Sydney wanted her father to baptize her... a request that no one expected... the catalyst for what was about to unfold.
Overwhelmed with such a request, Jamie was forced to make a decision. His faith in Jesus was never in question... but an open proclamation in front of complete strangers was something completely different. My husband is immensely private. He shares his true self with few. His intimate moments with even fewer. Being baptized in front of hundreds of people, in a way, was a violation of that privacy... but it was also a "point of no return." I honestly can think of no one that has taken this decision more seriously than my husband... and I think this is where all my struggling comes into play. Jesus isn't limited to Sunday mornings in our house. Accountability is HUGE... almost to the point of a liability at times. Experiencing the freedom of Jesus got lost somewhere along the way. My inability to experience and rest in the joy of Christ has often been the battle cry of my testimony... it has spoken louder than my love for Jesus. And for his, my repentant heart grieves... and is thankful for the grace and mercy of Jesus. Jamie knew that being the spiritual leader of our house would be no small task, especially in light of our plans for going to Providence. We often use the term "being all in." This step for Jamie was a huge proclamation that he was "all in"... and the coy wink he gave me right before Scott dunked him under the water assured me of the fact that this was always the plan... God's plan.