A Baptism Story (Part II)

This post has been on my mind for a long time and for a lot of reasons. Mostly because I want it to be the best thank you I can give to Amy for the amazing job she did on the Baptism party and for being the amazing person she is. Today is her birthday and I cannot postpone any longer.

On the day of the Baptism, I walked in the back door of the church with anticipation. I knew Amy had been diligently planning this special day and she was very excited about it. She had asked me months before if she could put on the party and I was so happy and relieved that she wanted to. I wanted to really celebrate this baby (Adam nixed any baby showers this time around), and Amy was just the gal to make it happen.

This is what I first saw when I walked in! It was beautiful and festive and gorgeous; beyond what I could have imagined. Amy enlisted a few people to help, but not too many because she is a doer and gets things done even with her six kids running circles around her! The cupcakes had Matthias' name on them and were so elegant and delicious. They were made by a friend Amy affectionately calls Steena. Most of Amy's close friends have nicknames and her kids as well.

Here she is, the Baptism Planner, making the punch. Do you see the framed picture behind the cupcakes?  It's Matthias' full name spelled out in Scrabble letters. That was just one of the special gifts Amy made for Matthias and for me. That's just part of who Amy is. She's crafty and almost all of the gifts she gives are made with love by her.

Here is another gift she made. I'm using it now to hold our Christmas cards.

The table decorations were beautiful along with many other special touches...

A banner to bless Matthias...

The festive atmosphere, carefully planned and executed, was practically perfect, but not to be outdone by the food.

It was delicious and celebratory as well, and plenty of it! That's Adam's mom holding the newly baptized boy. See how impressed with the food she is?

At one point, when Amy finally sat down, she asked me if it was everything I had wanted. I told her it was everything and more. The very best part was seeing her satisfied and smiling face. It was clear that she had enjoyed being the Baptism Planner and was happy with her work. That's just another thing I appreciate about Amy, she is able to recognize, without apology, that she has done something well.

Now I want to tell you the back story to this unique and special friend. Our friendship did not come easily.

Amy, and this may be understated, has a strong personality. She's the boss-the grand madame. I tend to be drawn to personalities like Amy's because I prefer the back seat. However, if someone comes on too strong, I usually walk away quickly because I don't like to fight. 

We met almost seven years ago at Amy's sister's house. Sarah, lived just down the block and we spent a lot of time together. Interestingly, but probably not surprising to those who know me, Sarah and I had many long discussions about faith. Amy and Sarah were raised in the Four Square Church. It's a non-denominational, evangelical, pentecostal, charismatic church (hope that describes it right). Needless to say, with that upbringing they both had strong bible backgrounds and a deep love for Jesus.

Amy's sister was interested in Catholicism and over the course of a couple years, her interest turned into a desire to join the Church. In the meantime, Amy was appalled, again that may be an understatement. She, in no uncertain terms, let Sarah and I know that the Catholic Church was "stupid" and we had a few rather intense debates where voices were raised and emotions aroused. At this point if I could have, I would have run away.

But I couldn't. Amy was my dear friend's sister and she was attacking what I loved most, my Catholic faith. It was impossible to back away from either, especially the latter.  So, with dread in my bones, I trudged on and so did she.

Amy took on the Catholic Church, and me, with a vengeance. She was determined to prove to Sarah what a crazy idea it was in order to save her from sure destruction, possibly even from hell (I'm not sure about that part, but maybe..and it sounds as dramatic as it was). Our discussions got pretty intense. I would squeak out my defense like a little mouse in front of a lion (maybe not quite that dramatic), then run under cover and pray while my heart pounded in my chest. At times I really had to resist the urge to run away. There were even times that I would be brought to tears. She is one tough cookie. 

Eventually, that cookie started to crumble and it was such a humble and beautiful thing. I don't mean she crumbled, but her arguments against the Church did. Over the course of four years, our friendship grew and our discussions started to be fun. She tried hard to resist the truth, but as she says herself, truth was calling.

Now, in just a few short weeks Amy, her husband and children will be joining R.C.I.A., a program for people interested in joining the Catholic Church, and I will be her sponsor. As a Christian who did not use to believe in infant baptisms and had never celebrated one, you can see why this baptism was special for her.

There is no other word to describe Amy's conversion but miraculous. She credits her desire to prove her sister wrong, as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the transformation. I see myself as the very flawed and terrified messenger.  Only God could have planned this unlikely turn of events. Her nickname for me: The Converter.

These days Amy loves all things Catholic and especially enjoys feast day celebrations. In the above photos we were were hiking at Cape Perpetua on the Feast of St. Perpetua. 

This year for the Feast of St. Nicholas, her kids got icons that she modge podged onto painted wood. She has also embraced Advent in a way that would shame most life-long Catholics. Only yesterday, less than a week before Christmas, did I finally see Christmas decorations up at her house.

Our friendship is one forged in fire, but now shines like gold. Amy is a loyal and loving friend and even though she may seem like a lion, when she rests a for a moment, her children flock to her loving arms because she is one special mama.

Thank you, Amy, for the awesome Baptism party and for your friendship. What a journey this has been. Happy Birthday!

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I've been getting weird comments. One guy was trying to save my soul since I'm Catholic! So, thanks for the comment, but I'll have to check it before it gets posted. And, I have to add, THANKS for commenting. It supports my blog habit.