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My Little Miss has reached the age of accountability and has chosen, on her own, to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It’s hard to believe that this little girl is at this stage of her life. As our neighbors pointed out, she was not here when we moved to this neighborhood. Heath and I thought for sure we would be in this house for five years tops. Here we still are and now our baby has been baptized!

I wanted to be sure that all my children made the decision to be baptized on their own. I wanted them to understand what they were committing to and to be sure that was what they wanted. I realized that Gwen’s baptism was quickly approaching. One day I asked her why she wanted to be baptized. She answered that it was the first step back to Heavenly Father.

She had no reservations. We talked a little bit and somewhere in there I told her she didn’t have to do this if she didn’t want to. She looked at me with wide eyes and asked, “It’s a choice?” I told her that of course it’s a choice. She mulled that over for about half a second before she declared that she wanted to get baptized, that it was the only way back to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She wanted to follow Jesus Christ’s example.

Then out of practicality she said that she couldn’t back out after her grandparents had already booked trips to be with us on this special day. She said, “It’s like what you said to Parker. He had to stay home for Outdoor Ed because he had planned on it for two years and he already told his teacher he was staying home. He couldn’t back out at the last minute!” True enough. I am impressed that her testimony and faith were her first response before logistics.

Gwen had the privilege of sharing her baptism day with her friend Claire. Claire turned 8 on Friday and was asked several times if she would get baptized the next day or wait until the next Stake baptism. Her mom told me that knowing Gwen was being baptized that day made the decision easy. I love that we shared this day with our friends.

Both girls sang for the musical number. They sang I Am a Child of God. Claire’s sister Zoe gave the talk on baptism. Zoe was baptized a year and a half ago. Gavin gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. It made for a shorter meeting to have youth speaking but the Spirit was so strong. It touched a lot of people to hear talks from siblings who have not been members long themselves.

I encouraged Gavin to share a personal experience in his talk. It was powerful to hear him testify of the power of the Holy Ghost. Even today, a day later, people who had attended the baptism commented on Gavin’s words and what a powerful experience he shared.

He’s 12 so it was simple. “I always felt like I had a testimony, but I had an experience at Scout Camp last summer that confirmed to me the gospel is true. In a testimony meeting I felt the spirit’s presence. The peace I felt was so strong. I had no doubt the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. I hope that Gwen and Claire can eventually have such experiences as I have.”

Parker was struggling with Gwen’s day. I think he was feeling left out and not sure of himself. He threw up a couple times just before lunch. I don’t know if it was nerves or what. Grandma W said if he didn’t feel better that she would say the opening prayer for him. He rallied and was able to say the prayer.

It was short, sweet, and to the point. But he said something to the effect of being grateful for “these two beautiful girls and their choice to be baptized.” When he finished the prayer he had the biggest grin on his face and he clapped his hands silently as he went back to his seat. It was so genuine and adorable. Everyone loved it. Don’t tell Parker, but he loves his little sister a lot.

Gwen is mature and amazing. I am in awe of her and look up to her.

I keep thinking back on memories from nearly nine years ago. I remember the day I saw the positive pregnancy test. I was terrified but in the same moment I had a negative reaction it was replaced with peace. Heath was jumping up and down so excited that we were having another baby. That helped. Before I took the test he told me I better not be pregnant. We hadn’t sold our house yet and just moved into a house that we would rent for triple our monthly mortgage payments.

I know the Holy Ghost comforted us at that time and spoke peace to our hearts. Even though I didn’t know how, I knew the Lord would take care of us. I knew this baby was supposed to come at this time. Gwen was the calm in the storm even before she was born!

I also knew that she would balance us out. I knew it wasn’t because she was a girl. Just that she would balance our family somehow. Gwen has been such a blessing. Without her, I may never have overcome as much anxiety as I have.

She has such a strong testimony that leaves me in awe. She knows who she is. She knows where she is going and she loves life. And as her family, we love her.