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Water, Baptism, and Healing

"Karly, watch this!" she said as she did a twirl underneath the water and emerged with a smile that had, for a moment, had forgotten the words foster care that normally hovered over her. The water gathered into droplets at the tops of her box braids and dripped down her face. The sun reflected from each droplet; she was shining, her beauty unhindered by burdens, free to be fully loved, fully happy, fully free.

Years later, I bore witness to the same joy as her father dipped her into the water and she rose up, not just free, but new. Her smile broke through, even before her head hit the water, when she proclaimed, "yes," to the determining question, "Have you decided to follow Jesus with your whole life?"

Photo by Akira Hojo on Unsplash

The water has a way of holding our sorrows, burdens, and struggles for us as we return to child-like play. Playing in the water releases us from the expectations, responsibilities, and anxieties of our day-to-day lives. In the water, we cannot escape through screens. In the water, we cannot feign productivity. In the water, play is the only option, and we happily succumb to it. We splash and swim and ride on each other's backs. We do handstands and front flips and cannonballs. Momentarily, the water rids us of the worry that so easily entangles us and replaces it with faith. Healing happens in the water.

There is so much joy in the rising, but simultaneously so much sorrow. Eventually, we realize that the sin, struggles, and trauma do not get left behind in the water. Droplets of brokenness, sin, and trauma cling to our skin, even in the rising, reminding us of our ever-dependence on Jesus' strength and grace to continually heal us, to bring us back to the water.

Jesus shows us at the cross that his power does not necessarily rid us of pain, struggles, or suffering. But his power ensures us that pain, sin, and suffering no longer have power over us. There is a new, divine power in us, one that reigns victorious despite any circumstance, any sorrow, any trauma. Death no longer has the power; Jesus does. When the power of the living God lives inside of us, who can be against us?

Every day, we must return to the water, asking God to clear not just the external dirt but the internal. Every day, we must return to the water, remembering how our child-like faith was what brought us there in the first place. Every day, we must return to the water and relinquish control, giving Jesus the power over the sin, death, and worry that so easily grabs hold of us and steals our joy.

The water frees us, cleanses us, makes us new. The water brings us back to the fundamental elements of our faith. The water makes us children again, safe in the arms of a Heavenly Father who makes us his son and daughter.

Let us return to the water.

Some Truth to Cling To:

1 Peter 3:21

And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:1-11

Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:31-34

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

Need More Support?

If you are in need of some more one-on-one coaching in order to learn how to manage difficult behaviors in your home, managing relationships with biological family, or starting trauma-informed ministries, I can help! I offer coaching for foster and adoptive parents, ministry leaders, and teachers. Click below to learn more!

I also am hosting an online 10-week coaching group for adoptive parents. We will be using the book Reclaim Compassion to guide us through a discussion about caring for our nervous systems, our relationships, and our children.

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