The Weekend They All Got Baptized

As a mom of three kids who are so close in age, there’s not much my kids don’t do together.  When they were little, because two of them have birthdays a week apart, we often did birthdays parties, together, and in this current season of our lives they are learning how to drive together, exploring colleges together, and this fall – all three will experience high school tgether. 

When the sum of all your parts equals less than three years, we tend to do a lot of things together. CJ and Tyra were born 12 months apart, and there’s an 18-month difference between Tyra and Jada. And yes, I would probably still put them in matching outfits if I could.

Recently, I wrote about how  I’ve learned the importance of consulting God in everything I do, and then obeying His directions for my life. One of those things has been our new official church community – a place we had visited on and off for 18 years – but just chose to make it an integrated part of of our lives in 2017.

My word for this year is miracles. I’m believing in them, I’m creating them, and I’m sharing them. With help from a few books and bible studies, the past five months has been nothing short of the miracles that have manifested in my life. If I were to sit and name them all for you right now, we’d be in the middle of 2018.

One of those miracles was the decision by all three of my teens to accept Jesus Christ in their hearts as their Lord and Savior. Sure, I had done my best to raise all three in a Christian home understanding the importance of God in our lives, but something happened this spring.

First Jada (the youngest I might add), then CJ, and eventually Tyra all came to me individually and initated conversations about grace, salvation, sin, and peace. Our church does youth baptism on the 5th Sunday, and that led us to the last Sunday of April.

For one of the few times in my life, there are no words that described the fluttering in my heart that weekend. I had already discovered that in addition to miracles, God had orchestrated a series of events that let me know that this year, our lives would be about faith, community, and friendship.

When I think about the baptism weekend, I reflect on love, the support, and encouragement that we felt. I finished this book by Lisa-Jo Baker that weekend, and it was right on time. (Disclaimer: As a B&H Publishing blogger, I sometimes receive books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.)

We are part of a community of friends in Dallas who love us so much they couldn’t bare the thought that we almost moved to Mississippi last fall. We are part of a church community that may be large in numbers, but small and close-knit in biblical teaching, acts of kindness, and authentic relationship-building. We are part of a new neighborhood where I can rattle of the names at least five neighbors in a famliar suburb close to work and school. We are part of a  community in life that is so rich, I don’t feel the need to constantly document every aspect of our lives on social media, and I’ve decided to savor every moment of authencity and keep it hidden my heart and memories.

And that community supported us like no other on baptism weekend. I was speechless.

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I wasn’t speechless because I didn’t know we were loved. I was speechless because one of the few times in my life, I slowed down enough to look around and appreciate the beauty of life as it happened around our family. For the first time, I wasn’t worried which camera and which lens I would shoot with. For the first time, I invited people over to our house and made sure I sat down and visited with our guests. For the first time, I let myself lived loved – even when we had to start our day at 5:00 am and the last person did not leave our hourse until 9:00 pm.

 

Our morning began at 5:00 am. By 10:00, we were a little tired but relishing in the joy of our family and friends. (Photo credit: Cheryl Rischer)

When our family joined the church in January, I instantly signed up for a class that would help me explore my own spiritual growth and make our large church feel smaller. This group has become an extension of our family and as one of them said during the baptism service, “The Holloway kids belong to all of us.”

After the service, I hosted brunch at our house for friends and family. By the next morning, deflated balloons were in the living room, confetti was everywhere, we had enough leftovers for the whole week, and I was facing three exhausted teens. It was a good weekend.

Jada and her friend Ally. These girls have been friends since 1st grade, and it has been fun watching them grow up together.

My boy. (Photo Credit: Kevin Mondy)

The excitement of the day. (Photo credit: Kevin Mondy)

Moments before the dunk. (Photo credit: Kevin Mondy)

Because it’s not a party until there’s dancing…even on a Sunday, even if it’s a baptism celebration, and even if it’s only 1:00 p.m.

Happiness is when your college sorority sister who lives about an hour away drives in to the baptism and puts up with your silliness during church.

Tyra’s friend Jenna and her parents have been in our lives for the past four years. Our relationship became even more special this year because we are next-door neighbors.

You can’t help but have a full heart when you witness your kids, their friends, and the youth pastor have a rap session about life struggles, academic issues, and life goals.

Smiles for everyone – even the boy who has mastered the art of not smiling in photos. (Photo credit: Cheryl Rischer)

This is a screenshot from my homescreen the Monday morning after the baptism. Any other day, the 731 unread emails would have caused me to hyperventilate. That day, even though I didn’t like the large number of unread emails, I didn’t care what they said because but I had just spent the past 24 hours with the people I love the most, and I knew I wasn’t missing anything by not reading those emails immediately.

The weekend ended with intense beauty and reflections on my love of God, my family, and my friends. It taught me that everyday I want to be the kind of friend who:

  • Draws us closer to God
  • Draws us closer to others
  • Helps us become the real person God created us to be
  • Is available
  • Does not care about the size of my house or the things in it, but the amount of quality time I spend with those who we love.

And by keeping those things in my heart, I am #NeverUnfriended.

For more information about Never Unfriended or Lisa-Jo Baker, visit her website here. Subscribe to her email list and you get access to cool resources and memorable graphics like this one!

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