On Sunday evening, we had a special Baby Dedication service at our church to celebrate all the babies (6 of ‘em) who were born into our congregation in 2010.
It was so important to me to do something like this – to make a pledge to Evalyn and to God about how we will raise her.
The service began with one of our ministers saying a few words and one of our elders leading a few songs.
Then, each family who had a baby in 2010 was given the opportunity to use part of the service to do whatever they wished for their child.
We began our portion by having my Dad read the scripture that we chose long ago to be our “family motto”.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deut. 6:4-9
Following that, The Dude spoke a few (very meaningful and very emotional) words about becoming a father. He talked about finding out we were expecting, watching the baby grow throughout my pregnancy, and then witnessing the miracle of childbirth when Evalyn was born.
While he spoke, Evalyn and I stood beside him and she looked up at him and watched him the entire time.
He closed his portion by reading one of my labour scriptures:
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. – John 16:21
After he spoke, I read the following letter that I wrote to Evalyn on behalf of her father and I.
We prayed for you before we knew you and since you have come into our lives, you have filled our hearts with more joy than we could have ever imagined.
Throughout the years that you are entrusted to us, we will strive to always do what is best for you, to protect you from harm and to give you what you need.
We promise to love you, to cherish you, and to appreciate the gift that you are through every season of your life.
We promise to love you, to love each other, and most importantly, to love God every day. We promise to speak, sing and read about Jesus with you. We promise to make His name the most common name in our home. We promise to pray both with and for you all the time. We dedicate ourselves to raising you in a way that is compatible with God’s word.
We take our commitment to you, to each other, and to God very seriously - which is why we have chosen to stand before our family, friends and church family today, making these promises to you and to God.
Evan’s Dad then led two songs that we had selected that are meaningful to us. The first was “Because He Lives” and the second was “I Come to the Garden Alone”.
We selected “Because He Lives” because of the words in the second verse:
How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days because He lives.
The other song, I Come to the Garden Alone, is very meaningful to the Dude. His mother used to sing this song to him when he was in her womb and throughout his infancy and childhood.
After we were finished, the other families all had an opportunity to speak, read, sing, and/or pray over their babies. There were scriptures read, songs played, and words spoken. Some of it made us cry. Some of it made us laugh. And it was all so special. One family had the 5 year old “Big Sister” sing Jesus Loves Me with the words changed to Jesus Loves Babies. She also led the song I Am a Sheep. It was precious. When that portion was done, the wife of one of our elder’s who very recently passed away spoke some very meaningful words to the young families that were present.
Our other minister told a few stories of answered prayers in regards to some other children in our congregation. Then, he closed in a prayer as everyone laid hands on the 2010 babies.
After such a special service I can’t help but think how we are so very blessed to be a part of a church family who truly understands the gift that children are to a family. Not only did we, and the parents of the other 2010 babies, have the opportunity to make this important pledge to our babies, but we also made a pledge to our church family and to God. And likewise, we know that our church family made a pledge to us – to help us, to pray for us, and to support us as we raise our daughter.
And that is truly a gift worth cherishing.
**Special thanks to Wilma for the photos!**