On July 14th at approximately 7:50 in the evening my eldest daughter London Jane Gerhardt committed her life to God, welcoming the rescuing power of Christ in the crisp, clear, cleansing water of baptism.
She wore a new white dress. She lead a prayer thanking God we don't really ever have to die. She held my hand. She pinched her nose as her dad leaned her back into the sun-kissed water. She disappeared.
I held my breath.
I watched her rise.
I saw her splash through the surface, her face lit up like a sparkler.
Later that night her sister, six, would give a toast--to new life.
Praise the Lord.
Praise Him for taking the hand of a little girl, leading her out of a fog of too-soon guilt and shame, shining light and lifting, bringing lightness. For restoring my child's, His child's, innocence.
Praise Him for welcoming all who come to fight, even the ones still too small for armor, for equipping them, empowering them, using them.
Praise Him for the option of a less bumpy road, for straight paths bringing peace, paths I've been blessed to walk, now doubly blessed with this courageous, precocious companion.
Praise Him for loving London Jane more than she loves Him. And that is so much.
Praise Him for easing a mother's anxious heart with answered prayers. For assurance.
Praise Him for a family of friends, for brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers in faith, all eager to walk beside her in the way. Praise Him for filling them and calling them and placing her beside them for safe keeping.
Praise the Creator for a cool lake, a quiet evening and still water.
Praise God for a perfect moment, the longest second, just one deep breath and in it a world-- shouts of angels, cheers from the witness cloud (delighted David, approving Paul, a proud, teary-eyed Uncle), a glimpse of joy in Jesus, Jehovah--in it, that one breath, the whole of the gospel, eternity alive.
For seven years I've prayed God would lead my daughter close to Him. I've prayed He'd shape her in His image. I've prayed He'd fill her with His Spirit. And while it came sooner than I expected, tonight, remembering that moment only days ago, embracing the changes happening in her heart, welcoming the transformation promised my daughter, more His daughter than mine, I have only gratitude in my heart.
Gratitude welling up and lapping over into praise.
Praise Him. Praise Him. Praise Him.
Our Rescue, Light, and Love.