Because of John Paul’s baptism this weekend, Mike and I have had a lot of wonderful friends and family in town. Some have been staying with us, and many have been coming and going in and out of our house. All week our tiny living room has been filled with energy and love, and every bed and futon and coach has been filled with a warm body. The laughter, tears of joy, and love that has filled our house this week has been a beautiful outward manifestation of the way Mike and I have been carried by family and friends throughout these past seven months.
Unfortunately, one of my faults is that I’m a bit anal. I like things in their place at all times. I even recently stopped keeping anything on our coffee table in the living room because I so hated when the coffee table books or coasters weren’t in their proper place. And keeping the coffee table bare guarantees that no one will move around any carefully, obsessively placed items.
So, despite how wonderful it has been to have so many dear friends and family members in our home the past few days, there have been a few times when I’ve had to remind myself how unimportant it is for my home to always be perfectly neat. It’s much more important that my dad is sitting on our coach than it is that the pillows on our coach are perfectly fluffed. And it’s much more important that my sister and her son are napping in our bed than it is that the bed is perfectly made. In short, I’ve had to face my fear of not having the “perfect” house – to let go of my need for constant order – and instead embrace the beautiful chaos that comes when we open our hearts and our homes.
After a wonderful week, we were blessed with an incredible day today. This morning John Paul was baptized by a dear friend of ours, at a church that has become a loving home to us. In baptism, John Paul was welcomed into a faith that has shaped Mike and me, and into the Church that is the mystical body of Christ here on Earth. Today, Mike and I saw grace poured upon our child through blessed water. We saw John Paul die to himself in order to completely follow God’s will.
At John Paul’s baptism, Mike and I renewed our own baptismal vows, and vowed to raise John Paul in the ways of faith. We also acknowledged that John Paul is now a child of God, and although we will mother and father him here on Earth, it is God who is truly his Father. For as Pope Benedict XVI said, in baptism, “we restore to God that which has come from him. The child is not the parents’ property, but is rather entrusted by the Creator to their responsibility, freely and in an ever new way, so that they help him to be a free child of God.” Today, we acknowledged our responsibility to raise John Paul in the ways of the faith, but we also let go of him as our child alone, and gave him back to God, his creator.
It was hard to let go today, for letting go forced me to face many fears I have about John Paul’s future. Letting go forced me to acknowledge how little control I have over what difficulties and trials John Paul will undoubtedly encounter. However, seeing John Paul put on Christ brought me great peace, as well as the knowledge that no matter what chaos he encounters in life, God will be with him. How beautiful!
My prayer for you today is that you let go of a need to control with grace. Acknowledge that you cannot always control everything, and that this lack of control is not failure. Rather, accept this lack of control as an opportunity for growth-an opportunity to grown stronger in faith and deeper in trust. You never know what beauty you might discover hiding within the chaos!
Thank you for joining me on my 31 day challenge!
Day 1: Be Not Afraid
Day 2: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Day 3 Keeping a Faithful Heart in Light of Suffering
Day 4: Facing Fears with Laughter
Day 5: Listening to My Heart
Day 6: Daring to Love Myself in Order to Love Others
Day 7: Opening Up My Idea of a Remarkable Life
Day 8: Giving Voice to My Fears
Day 9: Being a Bearer of Joy
Day 10 & 11: Give Everything
Day 12: Switching My Focus
Day 13: Reaching Out
And click here to read all the other wonderful blogs joining in on this challenge!