Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How Great Thou Art

I wasn’t raised in the church. We were holiday attendants…. Mother’s Day, Easter, Christmas.

In college, I felt like something was missing. I explored churches of various denominations, but nothing really ‘stuck’. I began to feel disconnected and curious.

Living in San Francisco, my curiosity found a home at GLIDE – a wildly liberal church with a committed faith base and radical involvement in counter-culture community. While I could sway silently to the Gospel Choir, I could be sharing the pew with a homeless man or someone with evident ‘track’ marks up her arms.  Everyone was welcome – no judgment, no conformity – just worship. I liked that and my spiritual growth began.

Later I moved to DC. I tried desperately to find a church home. I tried Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian. I attended a Unitarian Church, a synagogue, a Quaker service and the Cathedral. My quest wasn’t satisfied until I stumbled into a beautiful, Disciples of Christ church on Thomas Circle. The service opened with “How Great Thou Art,” my Grandmother’s favorite hymn. I felt an overwhelming presence. I knew – at that moment – this was it.

At thirty years old, I was baptized in this church. My parents flew up and close friends sat on the front pew and during the 11am service, I was baptized by immersion. I will never forget this moment.

Ironically, my husband also was baptized by choice, for the first time at thirty years old. Before we were even married, we had discussed that we both felt strongly that we would educate our unborn children about our strong Christian faith and encourage them to make their own decisions.

For this reason, we had Nash ‘Dedicated’ when he was eight months old. Dedicated simply states that you are dedicating your child to a Christian life, but he is not Baptized or Christened, until they are old enough to make this decision for themselves.

Michael and I felt very strongly about this choice.

And then we had Shaw…

Shaw continues to shed light on our lives and family. How quickly our strong beliefs can change – and did.

From the moment we witnessed the first of several miracles in the hospital…. From the delivery of the first prayer shawl to the visits from the clergy to the desperate prayers we prayed over this child, Dedication just wasn’t enough. Michael and I could not wait to have our beautiful boys baptized.

I wish I could articulate why… It certainly isn’t because we were raised that way and that is just what you do – or because our friends/church have their babies baptized and we’re following suit. It is the overwhelming feeling of gratitude to God for the gift of our children and only seems right to ‘give back’ to God, what is His already.

Henry Nash Richter and Avery Shaw Richter were baptized Sunday, March 25th at Myers Park Methodist Church in Charlotte, NC.

Michael and I beamed with pride, as the ministers we have grown to love and relish introduced our boys to the congregation.

Our families and friends overwhelmed us, filling the church. All of Michael’s brothers made it – all making the trek with families of five from Virginia and Georgia – even Shaun, who drove up the morning of (from Atlanta) to make a 9:45am service. It was such a monumental celebration!

The best news is, Nash kept his clothes on and only threw out a few “Hey People!”s from the front of the church to the congregation. (You never know with a two year old!)

This past Sunday, we were exactly where we were intended to be…. A beautiful spring day, coming out of isolation, surrounded by our family and friends and lifted up by the church that has carried us and defined faith with our two boys. A year ago, starring at the non-window walls of the NICU, I would have never believed this was part of the bigger plan.  How Great Thou Art.


Anonymous said...

God bless the four of you!!!
How sweet it is to read so comforting news from you!

Love from the four of us across the ocean...

Daniele and patrick and JB and Laurina

Katie O. said...

LOVE this! Looks like a perfect day! Wish we were closer to share in the celebration. XO