Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ashlyn is Dedicated

Baby dedications are always special. Adorable babies. Precocious toddlers. Optimistic young adults, whom, by the way, look too young to be parents, embarking on a life-long parenting journey. A baby dedication is more than a pageant. More than a ceremony. It is a sacred commitment to raise this child in a way that is pleasing to God. A baby dedication is an act of faith and community that as a parent, you are partnering with God to train and equip that precious gift for life. Equipping them for dual life-abundant life on Earth and eternal life in Heaven. At every dedication, I always pray passionately as each child is introduced to the congregation, because as a mother and now a grandmother, I understand the grave responsibility entrusted to each parent.

So many times I have wished that an instruction manual was attached to the other end of the umbilici cord. A manual that would help me know how to nurture this child effectively. The love part came easy, the patience and skills were more difficult.
But as I look back I really did have a parenting manual- precious Holy Spirit. Each child was unique. Each child was a treasure that has continued to unfold with each stage of growth and development-even through adulthood. Each child kept me on my knees. They kept me in the Word. How do I handle this situation? How can I help them understand? How can I help them know God better? How can I get them to eat their peas or say please?

Parenting can be terrifying and exhilarating! But it must be done with faith. Faith that these kids are good kids. Faith that God is good and wants to help you! Faith that is modeled and lived out at home, at church and in real life. Faith that God is big enough to be God in their lives too! Faith that God will keep them and guide them. Faith that God’s great love will draw them.

And back to my original point. Even though baby dedications are always special, the baby dedication the last Sunday in February was very special. My 3rd grandchild, Ashlyn Joy was dedicated to God. She was so beautiful! I love the way her face and eyes light up when she laughs and smiles. She looks like both her brother and sister, which makes her sister very happy. Her brother doesn’t care who she looks like. Babies are such a joy-especially when they are your grandbaby.

Babies are important part of the church and Sunday school. While it is ultimately the parent’s job to raise the child as a church we must partner with parents to help them develop adults equipped for both life and eternal life.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Unwrap the Gift

Unwrapping presents had rules at my house:

1. Don't crush the bow.

2. Don't tear the paper; it can be reused.

When the kids came along the rules changed:

1. Only one person at a time can open a present.

2. The others have to watch while it is being opened.

My son reminded me recently of other rules we had:

1. Wait until the coffee is ready.

2. Really, wait until the coffee is ready.

He still feels the sting of that perceived abuse and suggests that we could have set the timer on the pot to be ready the next morning when we got up. (Actually, we didn't have such a thing back then.)

Whether it was child abuse to make them wait or a horrible addiction to caffeine, the fact remains they waited.

One by one each gift was torn open with joy and laughter as the paper and bows were left for me to clean up. After the last gift was opened the kids ran to their rooms to play and I scrambled to the kitchen for more coffee and dinner preparation.

Maybe you're thinking what's going on here? Christmas is long gone. Even the old man, excuse me, the older gentleman down the street has removed the last light. I want to remind you to unwrap your gift. When you put away the decorations, you didn't put away your gift did you?

Did you remember to unwrap it? Now that all the hustle and bustle is over and even now that the super bowl is behind us, did you remember to unwrap it? The gift I'm refering to is the gift of His peace.

It is a gift I refuse to put away this year. I keep going back and picking it up. In the face of all the turmoil around me I choose to trust Him. In the face of financial struggles, downsizing and businesses closing, I choose to live in peace. Jesus came to give us peace, but peace is a choice. David said, what time I am afraid I will trust.

I choose, like David, to trust.