I guess there's nowhere on earth I would've rather been, yesterday, than at your church, watching your baptism. I love you. I love baptisms. I love that you were the one being baptized and that you're on this path with me.
We came to Christ early, you and I. I guess there are close to thirty years between us, but I haven't forgotten the girl I was and have spent a fair amount of time talking to her, lately, as a matter of fact.
Like you, I wasn't a brand-new follower of Jesus when, at twelve, I was baptized. It was a pivotal moment, nonetheless, and I've spent some time thinking of a few things I wish someone who loved me would've said to me upon my baptism. Those are the things I want to say to you, here.
There will always be three kinds of people in your life: the ones who just sort of happen to share space and time with you; the ones who show up for you; and the ones in the wings. Think about yesterday, and you'll see what I mean.
Some of those folks just came to church and happened to be where you were. Those people, for the most part, are just going to watch and see what happens. If you crash and burn, they might be available to provide a little aid.
Then there were folks, yesterday, who knew what was getting ready to happen and showed up with hearts full of glad expectancy. Those are the people who want to see you fly and will help you if they can.
Finally, there were a handful of folks in the wings: your parents, Julie, Sydney. Noah (with his busted-up leg) counts, as do your godparents, and there may be others. It's not a perfect system. But I think it's important to recognize who you have in your wings. They're going to be with you--really with you!--no matter what.
Who's who matters because pretty much everyone is going to talk to (or at) you. You'll be amazed at how many words people can have even when they're only in your space by accident...and even when they're far away (not really in your life at all) and just sort of talking in your general direction. Be cautious: it may not be in your best interest to receive what they have to say! Figure out who wants to show up for you and watch you succeed, and invite those people along on your journey. And take care, always, of the handful of folks in your wings. You need them more than you know.
Neither your salvation nor your baptism will turn you into a saint in an instant. You'll do well to spend the rest of your life trying to both figure things out and overcome sin, and even so, you won't experience complete triumph until your life here is over. Do your best, but give yourself grace. Don't hold unrealistic expectations for yourself. God loves you just as you are, right where you are. He has begun a good work in you, and He will complete it. Absolutely!
Your journey is your own. Value it as such, and don't underestimate the power you have and will have as an agent of Jesus Christ. Don't try to be who any other person has been, is, or will be. It is in being Abi for Jesus that you will make a difference in this place. He made you who and how you are for His pleasure! Experience the freedom you have, in Christ, to live as Abi and into your specific callings.
Yesterday was an awesome day. Thanks for inviting me to be there with you.
I love you so much, Brandee