This past Sunday was baby dedication Sunday at our church. We have never participated in a baby dedication with any of our children so we decided that we wanted to dedicate all three of them. It was a really sweet time for me. Mimi (my mom) was able to come and be a part of this special day for our family which meant a lot to me. The church put up a picture of the kids on the big screen. I told you in a previous post that it is so hard to get 3 kids to look and take a decent picture so above is the one we used. We tried and I probably took close to 40 pictures and this is the best we got? Oh well, they will all be older one day.
Anyways, back to the point. The kids each got a small bible with their names on it and Aidan and Rebecca just ate that up. Rebecca was especially excited because her bible was pink. The purpose of the baby dedication is to offer our children back to God, after all He is their Creator. He was just gracious enough to allow me to be a part of the process. It is also a time for us to commit to raising them in the knowledge of the Lord and for the congregation to commit to supporting and praying for us during the process. All this got me thinking back over the years and the way that God has changed my heart. He is Good, all the time!
The couple people who read this are probably familiar with my story, but this time has made me want to reflect a bit. So here goes...I went to Texas Tech for college, largely because it was far away from home and I had some need to prove my independence or something? While I was there I saw how weak I was. I was partying at every chance I got. It took me a while to make close friends and for the first time in my life I struggled with knowing who I was and I began asking all those life questions. Ultimately I felt empty. As I sought something deeper, something bigger, God began to lead me to Him, however distorted my view of Him was. He is so good to meet us where we are and carry us until we can meet Him face to face and begin to be changed. I had been a church going christian as a kid, but I guess the foundation was not solid and I questioned everything. I would say I was pretty close to the belief that all roads lead to heaven, because there is only one God. I never denounced Christ but I was not following His teachings or placing my faith in Him. I might as well have denounced Him because I was basically saying His death on the cross was insignificant. Who am I to say such a thing, and yet God still loved me and still guided me. His grace overwhelms!
I did look for something spiritual. I quit drinking and I prayed to God. I used some devotionals that taught spiritual principles, but I did not read my bible and I did not really know Jesus Christ.
While I was at school I met Trace who would become my future husband. We started dating. He became my best friend. We spent much of our time together and we got engaged on Christmas Day in 2000. One month later we found out that we were pregnant. That threw a huge kink in my plans. I was going to graduate in May and I had just taken the LSAT and was planning to go to Law School. How could I have a new baby and go to law school? Trace still had another whole year of school, how was this supposed to work? We started going to the doctor and I got excited about this life that was growing in me. Yes it messed up my plans, but I begin to believe that it was going to be OK. I believed that God was part of creating this baby so He would provide.
We got married on April 7th. On April 13th I was in the hospital to deliver the baby that we lost. I was 18 weeks along though they said the baby measured to be about 15 weeks. I was angry! How could a loving God allow this to happen? Was this some kind of sick game? But again God was good. He allowed me to cast my anger on Him. I do not believe that it was the right response, but it was my response. I vividly remember praying and saying, Look, I am mad at you and if I thought I could get through this on my own believe me I would try, but I know I am weak. I need you to carry me through this. It was this huge point of surrender! I quit trying to fight Him.
I do not know why the circumstances of life happened the way they did. I am not sure I know all the reasons God allowed this pain in my life, but I do know that He used this. He changed my heart, he changed my plans, He changed my goals. I said above I wanted to be a career woman, but now I wanted nothing more than to have a family. I never expected to be a stay at home mom, now I desired desperately to have babies and be at home with them. About 9 months later I was pregnant again with Aidan. Trace still was in school but would graduate soon and we were hoping he would get a job and I could stay at home with the baby. When it came time for him to look for work the market was low and he had trouble finding a place to work. He was offered a job here in Tyler, against my wishes to never live in Tyler again, he accepted and we moved to Tyler. We had Aidan and God used this teeny little baby to break me into pieces. I became overwhelmed with the knowledge that this was God's child and I would be held accountable to Him for the way that I raised him. I wanted Aidan to know Jesus Christ and to have a real relationship with Him. I had know idea how to aid in the process of making this happen. I was lost, so I sought Him hard. I prayed for Aidan and I asked God to teach me. I fell before the King and I told Him, I can't do this. If I am going to be the mother to one of your most precious children you are going to have to show me how. I am lost, I am afraid to move. Teach me. Lead me. Again, God is Good, all the time! He loved my offering of brokenness! He loved the fact that I surrendered and gave myself to Him to be taught.
I very quickly learned that my kids would never buy into this God thing if I didn't buy into it 100%. If I did not live authentically before my kids then they would never be able to live authentically. My prayers shifted to being more about changing me and less about my kids at all. I had to be changed. To be made into a new creature. God is doing that! He is faithful! I pray to see how much He loves me. To know Him intimately. I have to know Him if I am going to teach my children who He is. As I have gotten a taste of God, I want more. I want to live and breath Jesus! I always want to seek Him more. I pray that He never lets me loose my focus. That he always points me to Him. After all, He has been Lord in every step of this process! He is Good all the Time!
I think about Trace and myself. I think about the fact that we were two young foolish kids when we met, yet God had His hand on us. We have done so many things wrong by most standards, but God still loved us back to Him. We were pregnant when we got married, we did not go to church and we did not desire to. We were lost in many ways. We did not know better. God is teaching us. He is full of Grace, Love, and Mercy! He is good all the time! It blows me away to look back and see how God works. Is He alive and active? I see Him working everyday. The fact that we are active members of a church did not happen because of us, it was Him. The fact that we pray with our kids did not happen because of us, it was Him. The fact that we are seeking to train our children in the knowledge of the Lord did not happen because of us, it was Him. We are not model Christians, we are sinners who desperately need God's Grace, as much now as in the past. He is faithful to give that to us. He is good, all the time!
Maybe this explains why this was such a special day for me. I feel like we have already dedicated our children to the Lord, but this was a chance to do it publicly. We realize they are His and we (to some degree) realize what a mighty job He has given us. He has asked us to raise them, to train them, to shepherd them. They are such a special flock. I thank God for them daily!
Aidan checking out his new bible.
Becca and her new pink bible.
Daddy and Andrew
Aidan checking out his new bible.
Becca and her new pink bible.
Daddy and Andrew