The post below was written three years ago about the baptism of my niece, Cadence Rose. Yesterday, my family welcomed into the family of God two more babies: my nephew, AJ (Cadence’s little brother!), and my niece, Hailey.
A lot has changed since I wrote the post below. More babies have been born into my family, some of my siblings have moved states, and I’ve graduated college and am now preparing to start a family of my own. But with all that has changed, it’s pretty cool to realize that some things stay the same. However many more babies my family continues to have (and I pray that God blesses us with many more…I can’t even begin to describe the joy that my 10 nieces and nephews bring me 🙂 ), we’ll still continue to bring them to Jesus to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Praise God for our unchanging Catholic Faith!
Baptizing Cadence Rose:
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them, and when the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Yesterday was the baptism of my newest niece, Cadence Rose. It was a beautiful baptism; and so nice to have my whole family together again for it.
My grandfather (an ordained deacon in the Catholic Church) performed the baptism. I love my grandpa. He is so on fire for the Lord and so in love with God that you don’t leave a conversation with my grandpa questioning whether God is real. My grandpa was the one who baptized me and my sister (and all our brothers) when we were babies, and I’ve watched him baptize my little cousins, and nieces and nephews.
We baptize our children as infants. Some people have a problem with this because the child doesn’t have a say in whether or not he or she wants to be baptized. I think these people think that this somehow makes the baptism “less meaningful” for the one being baptized. But I sort of think that misses the point of what baptism really is.
Baptism isn’t just a symbolic gesture that signifies one’s choice to follow Christ. It’s true; that is part of it. But there is so much more going on. Baptism is the moment that the Spirit of God literally enters into a person. It is the moment the walk begins. It is the beginning of a lifelong relationship with God. With the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we can hear the voice of God talking to us. Why wouldn’t I want to give that gift to my child as early as I possibly can?
It is important to note here, though, that a choice does indeed have to be made. When we’re younger, it is a choice made by our parents on our behalf. The parents have to choose to help the child foster a relationship with God. In my family, that meant that my parents taught me how to pray. They taught me to listen for God’s voice and to recognize it when I heard it, because God talks to all of us in the same voice we think to ourselves in. Most importantly though, my family taught me that a relationship with God is normal. It’s not the stuff of fairytales; it’s not the same thing as Santa and the Tooth Fairy. God is real. And I learned that as a child because I saw that my parents believed it as adults.
As I grew up, though, it came time for me to make my own choice. We can’t ride on the coattails of our parents’ faith forever. I had to decide whether I was going to choose to follow Christ on my own. When I made that choice, I didn’t feel the need to go get baptized again to signify my decision. In fact, I’ve found that I have to make the choice daily, sometimes hourly, in whether or not I am going to follow Christ. He already lives in me. The choice lies in whether or not I will decide to listen to Him.
(for more on infant baptism, check out this other old post: Boyfriends, Babies, & Jesus)
A girl I went to high school with joked once that she wanted me to call her when I got drunk for the first time. It was a joke because the thought of me ever being drunk was just that outrageous (I was kind of a goody-two-shoes I guess). It wasn’t that I never had the opportunity to drink or get drunk; it’s just that it has never been something that sounded appealing to me.
This past Sunday was my 21st birthday, and like a lot of people on their 21st, I went out to get a drink at midnight with some of my siblings and friends—just because I could.
Arriving at a local bar, I got IDed, and I’m not gonna lie, I felt pretty cool being admitted. It was like being initiated into some sort of exclusive club—if only what awaited me on the inside of the doors lived up to the hype…
There is a certain fascination with alcohol that a lot of people around my age seem to have. My age group seems almost to live for it sometimes, especially in college. We can’t wait for the weekends to go out and party (in fact, a lot of people don’t wait for the weekends, and getting drunk is something that happens on any given week night as well). I’ve always thought this was stupid and frankly just childish. Because of this and because of the fact that I didn’t drink before I turned 21, a lot of people think I am against drinking alcohol, which isn’t the case at all. I just reject the dominant culture of my age group that says that you absolutely need alcohol in order to have a good time.
Growing up, my parents never really had alcohol around the house. My mom doesn’t much like the taste of it; and when my three older brothers were young, my dad made a deal with them that he wouldn’t drink until they all were legally old enough to drink alcohol. As a result, I’ve never associated alcohol with some false sense of maturity or “coolness”. In fact, it became kind of a turn-off to me when people would use alcohol as a way to fit in or feel more confident in themselves. And when you’re underage, I can’t honestly think of any other reason to start drinking if not to fit in or feel cool.
Alcoholism runs in my family, which is another reason why my parents took the alcohol issue so seriously when us kids were growing up. My mom always said that, as a parent, you might think you’re doing right by your kids by allowing them to drink in the “controlled environment” of the home, but you never know which of your children could end up having a problem with alcohol through no fault of their own. Adolescence is hard enough without introducing an alcohol problem into the mix.
Back to my 21st … I didn’t have the typical drunken birthday that I think everyone expects a 21 year old to have. The drink the bartender mixed for me at midnight was nasty. I could only handle a few sips before I decided it just wasn’t worth the effort. The next day I went out for lunch at a winery with my family and some friends and did enjoy a glass of wine. All in all though, the best part of turning 21 for me was the best part of any birthday—getting to spend it with family and close friends that care about me.
After hearing from our Dad yesterday we thought it would be cool to hear from our grandpa—the father of our dad’s bride! Here’s what he had to say:
What kind of man did I want my daughter to marry?…. In 300 words or less….
- He must love God and God’s will, the Church, and all it’s teaching.
- Is he interested in growing into holiness and will he enter into, embrace and lead his family and my daughter into the mysteries of life as God reveals them each new day?
- Does he regularly receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Tithe, and Live Holy Days of Obligation? Does he respect church authority?
- Does he have the discipline over himself? Mind, emotions, actions, habits?
- Does he use or give to friends? God? If so, he will treat my daughter in the same way.
- Does he exhibit “nobles oblige”, work ethic, self esteem, humility? I.e. Is he the master of his emotions?
- Does he cherish my daughter above all else other than God? Will he DIE to himself in any way necessary for well-being. Eph. “As Christ loved his church.”
- Will he PROTECT his home as his church? Joshua “As for me and my family, we will follow the Lord.”
If the above is truth, God will reveal the journey of life. Where to live, education, babies, work—are joys rather than obstacles. In my office, I keep a picture of musk oxen on the tundra of the North. They are in a circle protecting the young. They are family. All throughout history, families EXTEND… protect, cherish, nourish each other to independence and the cycle repeats itself. It’s God’s way, the Trinity, manifesting their self, in unity & love.
Sound impossible to find in today’s world? You’re right. Only God can provide can such a partner. And He did. Your father, Alan Lane, God found for my heart, Debbie.
So, Katelyn and Mary, start praying for your daughters’ and sons’ partners now.
We received a question from a soon-to-be college graduate planning to propose to his girlfriend, asking “what does a father expect of the man that will marry his daughter?”
We thought we would do a series of interviews to find an answer to this important question. First up on the list is our very own Dad! Our parents have been happily married for over 28 years. Five children and five grandchildren later, our dad reflects on what qualities turn a young man into a worthy husband:
As a father of both sons and daughters, I think of this question – What does a father expect of the man his daughter will marry? – from different perspectives. Obviously, I have hopes/desires/expectations for my daughters. For my sons, I tried to raise them to be the type of men that their fathers-in-law would think of when they were considering this question.
For both sons and daughters, we pray that they will find women and men who love the Lord and His Church. This is probably obvious to anyone who knows us, but it is at the heart of who we are as children of God. We have a plaque over our front door that sums it up with the following scripture verse: “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
I also think back to when Debbie and I were considering marriage at a young age. What kind of man was I? What did her dad see in me? As I answer the question of “What does a father expect…”, I will probably flow back-and-forth between my role as a son-in-law, a husband, and a father…
- Love of the Lord: I already said it above, but this is foundational. Without God as the foundation of a marriage, nothing else matters. Might sound trite, but I believe it with all of my being. It’s not my intent to quote a bunch of scripture, but check-out Matt 22:37-40. If we don’t have a relationship with our Lord, we are not prepared to enter into a marriage where our primary objectives should be to help our spouse grow in holiness and to raise children to know, love and serve the Lord.
- Do you have a Plan?: While Love of the Lord is foundational, from my perspective it is not enough. As a father, I want to know that my son-in-law can provide for my daughter and, God-willing, their children! While there are many ways to accomplish this, what I want to know as a father is that my daughter’s husband has a plan, and that he has the means to execute that plan. As I think back on when Debbie and I got married, my plan was simple – it definitely had an element of faith, but it was not faith without reason:
- Trust in God (it always starts here): from the beginning we would trust God with all aspects of our marriage. This meant that we were open to life, even though I was still in college. God blessed us with our first son a little over a year after we were married, and I still had two years of college left. By the time I graduated from College we had two sons – it was awesome!
- Finish College: this sounds simple, but it would have been easy to get distracted here. I was playing football for the community college I attended, and I really wanted to play another year before moving-on – but that didn’t fit the plan. I also chose a state university over one of the UC’s due to a combination of cost and ability to graduate in four years total rather than five. I stuck to the plan.
- Finances: trusting God with all aspects of our marriage meant giving him control of our finances. From the beginning, we tithed 10% of our gross monthly income. I was working while going to college, but the income was meager. 10% of meager is also meager, but we knew that we needed to trust God in everything. This isn’t about giving to God and then waiting for him to bless you (i.e. no “health and wealth gospel” here), but rather recognizing that EVERYTHING we have is a gift from God, and giving our first 10% back to God has always helped us keep this in perspective.
- Work Ethic: I am blessed to have a father whose example of perseverance and commitment in work made a lifelong impression on me. He dropped-out of high school at the age of 17 to join the Marine Corps, but ultimately finished college and went on to get two Master’s Degrees and was working on his PhD when he retired from the Marine Corps as a Lt. Colonel. There was never anything that my Dad couldn’t do. We worked on cars together, landscaped the yard, built wood decks and retaining walls around the house, and built a cabin together with my brothers on some land my Mom and Dad bought in Northern California. My Dad didn’t go to school to learn this stuff, and he didn’t work in a field that taught him this – he just bought books to learn (and to teach me and my brothers). I therefore grew-up with the sense that there was really nothing I couldn’t do if I tried. It might take me longer than others, and I might make mistakes along the way, but I wasn’t afraid to fail. I’m sure that my father-in-law-to-be was looking to see what kind of man his daughter was marrying, especially since I was still in college and wasn’t sure what I was going to do from a career standpoint.
- Family Support: Even with all of the above, getting married young would have not been possible without the support of our families. Debbie and I lived with her parents while I finished college. Some people thought we were crazy, that I should finish college first, get a job, buy a house and then get married. These are all prudent suggestions, and quite frankly, if we didn’t have the option to live with Debbie’s parents, we would have had to wait – but what a blessing it was to live with Debbie’s parents as were starting our own family.
As I try to put all of this in perspective, some things might appear to be missing. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my career, and I didn’t own a home. While these are important questions, they were not completely unanswered. I don’t think the question should be “do you own a home”, but rather, “where will you live.” Likewise, careers can change, but the real concern from a father’s perspective is not “what type of job will you have,” but “can you provide for my daughter?”
I think a father wants to know:
- Will you put the Lord first in everything;
- Will you love your wife (my daughter) as Christ loved the church (Eph 5:20);
- Do you have a plan to provide for her and your children (my grandchildren!)?
My prayer is that my daughters’ husbands will be such men, that my sons will live their marriage vocation in the same way, and that I am up to the challenge! Praise God!