The Scripture That Saved My Son's Baptism Day

Some people might call me mildly obsessive, Type-A, controlling, or bossy.  I prefer organized, assertive, intuitive, and “The Enforcer,” (to borrow the title given to the late former First Lady, Barbara Bush).  It’s true that I like to be in control of a situation, although I have learned quite well to multi-task and change plans spontaneously, thanks to my years as a 5th grade teacher and as a mother of three boys.

Some of these characteristics surfaced (for better or worse) while preparing for my middle son’s baptism.  Setting the date was tricky.  The “traditional” day just wouldn’t work.  Originally, we planned on the Saturday after my son turned eight years old.  Then, we discovered that one set of grandparents was leaving for Israel a few days before that.  We couldn’t wait until after they returned, as the other set of grandparents, who would be traveling to Texas from Utah, could not leave work during those busy weeks of college graduation.  We did not want to make our son, eager to be baptized, wait over two months to participate in this important ordinance.  Thankfully, I started planning months before the baptism, and we were able to find a day that would work.

That major task accomplished, it was time to think of all else that would need to be prepared before the big day arrived. 

My son asked specific people to participate in his big day, a suit was purchased, photos were taken, invitations were designed and sent, the pre-baptism interview was completed, a program was approved and printed, decorations were created, and refreshments ordered.   All this was finalized with a week to spare before the baptism.  I wanted my son’s most special day to be as stress-free as possible.

The Sunday before the baptism, we searched the church closet to find a white jumper small enough to fit my short-in-stature child.  (My husband already had his own, which was good, as the church didn’t have his size.)

For the rest of the week, my soon-to-be eight-year-old would proclaim, “I can’t wait to be baptized! I’ve waited so long, and I wish today was the day!”

Before we knew it, his wish had come true.  The day had arrived!

Going over the checklist in my mind, I remembered that it would be nice if my son’s, as well as my husband’s, white clothes were ironed.  The little one was easy. I only had the big one to go.  However, when I grabbed the bag where his clothes are normally kept, the clothes I was looking for were missing!

This was one of my biggest worries for the day---something that was somewhat out of my control.

I was never in charge of these clothes; they were my husband’s responsibility.
I had no reference point from which to start searching, no memory of when the jumper was last used, or where it could be.
If it were lost, there’s not a corner store in town that would carry a replacement.
Since my husband doesn’t wear an average size, finding something to borrow could become tricky.
My husband is at work for most of the day, so I’m going to have to solve this problem by myself.

As these frustrations flashed through my mind, I began to feel upset.  I didn’t want anxiety to ruin my day!  I had planned ahead and worked on so many other things to make this baptism come together, so that the actual day could be free from apprehension, not filled with it!

Thankfully, my husband wasn’t feeling those feelings.  He calmly reminded me (through text) that his father, who lives in town, wears the same size as he does and most likely has something he could borrow.

Problem solved!

Crisis averted!

One would think.  But, “one” would not be me.  I still could not let go of that anxiety over where my husband’s clothes had gone.

When did they disappear?
How long had I not noticed?
Had I actually moved them and couldn’t remember?
Were they left at the cleaner’s because I forgot to pick them up?
Did we loan them out and never get them back?

I even stressed about the fact that I could not stop stressing about something that had already been resolved!  This was not how I wanted to spend this special day, feeling troubled.

Then came another text:

“I do remember loaning my clothes out to the
 missionaries for a bigger guy to use for his baptism.”

That was it.  THAT was an answer I needed, one that could calm my mind and allow me to let go of trying to solve this mystery alone.  I did remember missionaries from years ago calling to ask to borrow my husband’s clothes, as they were running out of options for this brother to wear to his baptism that day.  It was as if we were their last hope.  Of course, we let them borrow them. (We must have forgotten to check in to pick the clothes back up.)

Once I had an answer, my perspective changed, allowing true comfort to fill my mind.  There was most likely no hope of recovering what had been lost, but I no longer felt hopeless.   Our “sacrifice” of these clothes helped (in an almost insignificant way) someone else to receive the blessings of baptism.

“And if it so be that you should labor all your days…and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
And now…how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me.”
(see D&C 18:15-16).

This scripture changed everything.  It was time to put aside worried or angry feelings. Instead of frustration, I could focus on the joy of helping bring souls to God.  Perhaps the clothes were used again and again on this Elder’s mission, only adding to our joy.  These thoughts were somewhat silly and simple, but they worked.

That scripture coming to mind during a troubling time allowed me to truly feel the joy in the rest of that day.  It saved me.  Instead of frustration, I felt love.

The baptism was nearly perfect, and I was able to be feel the true spirit of it, free from frustration.  A calm reassurance from above reminded me to rejoice in my son’s choice to be baptized.  My joy that for that baptism was truly great, for this time I had done more than just loan some missionaries some clothes.

Melodee Cooper is a Texan by birth, an Aggie by choice, the wife of a fellow Aggie because “he loves her more,” and a mother of three boys by a combination of time, modern science, and divine intervention. She has taught both 5th and 6th grade math and science, and is now able to be a stay-at-home mom, an amateur decorator, a crafter, a blogger, and a holiday enthusiast. She is battling Stage 4 cancer while remaining optimistic and grateful for the blessings in her life.

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