Yesterday we had the opportunity to participate in our church’s 2012 Baby Dedication service. It is our belief that our role as parents is a lifelong duty, privilege and calling that is God given. We believe our primary charge and duty as parents is to lead our children toward Christ and set them towards a life in which they will develop a personal and committed relationship with their Saviour. Our greatest hope and prayer is that one day, our girls (and any future children we may have) will accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and live their lives alongside Him.
Because of these beliefs and hopes, we both, as individuals and as parents, cherish the opportunity to stand before our church, our family and our friends and dedicate our children, the blessing that they are to us, back to a mighty God who has given them to us and commit ourselves to a lifetime of faithful parenting.
Each year, our church has a Baby Dedication service where each family who has welcomed a new addition in that year has the opportunity to participate. This year, there were fives babies added to our congregation who were prayed over and celebrated last night.
Just as it was the year Evalyn was born, this night was monumental and special to me as a mother – not only as I reflected on and prayed over my own child – but as I had the opportunity to pray for the children who Gwen will grow up with at church as well, including one of our best friend’s little dudes.
One amazing thing about last night is that every living grandparent of the four babies who were at the service was present and they all read blessings of scripture and prayed over their grandchildren throughout the service. What a testament of faith that is to me!
For our portion of the service, we started with my Dad reading a scripture that is so close to my heart and that stuck with me through the last bit of my pregnancy and during Gwen’s birth.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. - Psalm 37: 5-7a
I read the following letter I had written to Gwen and then excerpts from the book “Mommy Promises" which is a beautiful book depicting the feelings I have towards my duty as a mother to my girls.
Today, as your father and I stand before our church family, we are committing ourselves to raising you in a way that is compatible with His word, we are making promises to you and to God and we are expressing many prayers and hopes we have for you.
Throughout my pregnancy and your birth, God used you to teach me big lessons about resting in Him, being still in Him, waiting for His good and perfect timing. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I did everything in my power to take control over the situation and quickly learned that I was being called to be still. The scripture that Papa read resonated with me throughout those days and throughout the hours of your birth.
It is my prayer for you that as you grow, you will fall deeply in love with your Savior that you will find rest in Him through each season of your life. That you will be still and find peace in him.
It is my prayer that you will always choose Jesus. That you will find refuge in Him and trust in Him both in the brightest days and the darkest hours.
It is my prayer that God will guard your heart and protect your innocence from the evils of this world.
It is my prayer that God will give me the strength and discernment to raise you by example as a Godly woman in a world where God is often pushed aside.
It is my prayer that you will find a lifelong best friend in your sister. A support system and a confidante.
It is our promise to you that we will love each other and strive to build a strong example of marriage for you to witness.
It is our promise that we will love you unconditionally and do our best to make the right decisions for you.
It is our promise that our home will constantly be filled with songs, prayers and conversations about Christ. That His name will never be unfamiliar to you. That you will always have a church family to call home.
Our child, you are fearfully and wonderfully made and we give thanks to God for entrusting you to us for our time on earth.
After reading my letter and book, Evan spoke for a few minutes about the blessing that parenting is and that despite it’s many challenges, it is fun and rewarding and the best part of our lives. He spoke of the woman who Gwen got her name from (his Grandmother) and how she was an example of beauty and faithfulness and family. He read from Ephesians 3: 14-19:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
He talked about our decision to add another child to our family and how her name has a strong connection to that decision. After he spoke, Gwen’s other grandfather, Evan’s dad, said a prayer of dedication over her and over us.
We don’t take our commitment to these children lightly. We are thankful for our family, for their examples. For our friends and their support. For a close knit church group full of people who have been parents longer than we have who are always eager to lend an ear, give advice and most importantly, pray for and with us on this journey.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Psalm 139: 13-14