When I turned 8 years old, my Dad was away at Basic Training somewhere in the Southern United States! I missed him, and it felt like forever since I had seen him.
We spent most of the summer, while he was gone, in Garrison on my Grandma and Grandpa's ranch! It was magic!! Hours and hours spent outdoors, wandering, exploring, and pretending! Playing with cousins and enjoying the freedom of childhood!
I knew that when I turned 8, it would be time for me to be baptized. I knew this was a big deal and there was still so much for me to learn and understand about the promises I would soon be making.
I was a happy child on one hand, but I was also a worrier, I felt even at my young age, that I had a lot of things to repent of......dark and serious things. A lot of it stemmed from fears and emotions related to things I wrote about in THIS POST. Along with my worries, I also struggled with a lot of insecurity.
I wanted to be baptized by my father, so I waited until he returned, and on a beautiful October day I stood with my Dad, both of us dressed in white. Now, being a Mother myself, I can imagine the feelings my parents must have felt that day. I imagine they felt in awe at how fast the years had gone by and how quickly I had grown.
I was recently asked what I remembered about my baptism day. I know it was a beautiful and important day. I remember feeling so clean and shiny. I remember a feeling of sweetness and satisfaction when I was confirmed. The thing I remember the most though, is how I hid my feet under the pew as I listened to the talks, for fear of someone noticing my funny looking feet! WHAT? What 8 year old child is worried about what their feet look like?
I don't know all of the reasons I felt ugly at such a young age. It breaks my heart to think of my little self carrying such feelings of guilt, and embarrassment about my body. I am still trying to work through those issues, all these years later. The good news is, that on that October day so many years ago, I was touched by the power of the Atonement. I was given a gift of comfort and companionship, a voice of reason in a dark world. I knew without a doubt that I was known and loved by an all powerful and very personal Father in Heaven.
I wanted to be wherever that love was. I wanted to find that place of safety, light, and happiness.
God has been so good to me, because even as I write this, I realize I am there. I have so much to be grateful for!