Sunday, I (Chris) had the honor of baptizing our middle child, Abby. It was an awesome day as we celebrated baptism with our church body and many of our friends and family.
Any time there is a milestone in our children’s lives, I am taken back to a particular time and place. But, this is especially the case with Abby.
There’s a long story leading up to Sunday. Our marriage took the hardest blow it could have taken while Suzanne was pregnant with Abby. You can read more here. We’ve written about God’s mercy and grace in putting our marriage back together. But on days like Sunday, our past is firmly on my mind. I had one recurring thought throughout the day. I kept thinking, “I shouldn’t be here.” If it weren’t for the grace of God, I wouldn’t be here.
My mind goes back to those days nine years ago. They were awful. And it’s only by God’s grace that we made it through. We reflect often about how God saved our marriage. But Sunday, when I looked at Abby I thought, I have no business being here. By worldly means I should have little to no relationship with Abby. I imagine that in the best case scenario I would have an every-other-weekend relationship with Sarah and Abby. I imagine that my relationship with Sarah would be strained at best and barely existent with Abby. When I imagine their spiritual lives, I imagine them tattered and confused. How would they relate to God “The Father” with their earthly father as an adulterer and not involved in their lives.
But God, chose to descend on our marriage and our lives in a mighty way and save us from my wretched decisions, my sin.
And so, Sunday, as I shared special moments backstage with my daughter, as I listened to her testimony, as I placed her into the water, and as I rejoiced with friends and family, I couldn’t help but think I get to be here. God had a different plan. God had a plan to restore our marriage. God had a plan to call our daughters to Himself. And God had a plan to allow me to be an intimate part of it.
The truth is I had similar thoughts a couple of years ago when I was blessed to baptize Sarah. And God willing I’ll have similar thoughts in the future if I get to baptize Cooper. Cooper, our son who was conceived years after God restored our marriage, our child who wouldn’t exist if God had not intervened.
Sunday, the day after her ninth birthday, we celebrated new birth and new life in Abby. But we also celebrated what God did many years ago in saving our marriage. I sometimes wonder where I would be if God had not saved our marriage. But I know one place I would not have been — there baptizing my daughter. It’s true, left to my own devices I shouldn’t have been there. But God had a different plan. God, being rich in mercy, had a different plan.