With another child comes another church dedication. We were so honored to stand as a family of four to dedicate Hayden Kate to the Lord this past Sunday. The morning of the dedication was a bit crazy as we attempted to alter her sleep to accommodate the service time, prep for a lunch at our house afterwards, and get ourselves showered and dressed for church. Sundays are always a bit crazy anyway. On a day of being held to such an important role in my child’s life, I was a big ball of stress and frustration. Joy was not present in my heart at all.
We drove separately so that I could feed Hayden Kate at home before we left and my dad and Ross could greet his family who drove directly to the church from Indiana. My mom and I barely made it to our seats with Hayden Kate before we were called up for the dedication. We almost forgot to bring Analiese up with us and once we were up there, I saw the look in her eyes and knew she was on the verge of a meltdown. She clinged to Ross the whole time, but held those tears back.
Pastor Joel began his prayer for us by charging me to be like Jesus to my daughters and I pretty much forget everything that followed. Just a few hours before, my impatience towards Analiese (and others) had gotten the best of me. So, his prayer was convicting and rightly so. As her parents Ross and I are called to bring up our kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. We understand the responsibility to raise our daughters in a home where the love of God is demonstrated and taught.
My actions that morning did not demonstrate this love and I felt justified in how I was acting. But as my mom drove Hayden Kate and I back to the house to get the food ready, I felt an immense sense of guilt. I felt like such a failure. I wish I could promise Analiese and Hayden Kate that I will always be the epitome of Jesus’ love and kindness for them. I’m not perfect and I know I will let them down. God won’t. Ever. As much as I want them to cling to me, God’s love and trust is never ceasing.
The Lord your God is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph. 3:17
This is the Truth. This is God’s Word. This is what I want my kids to know. This is what matters. They, like us all, will have to battle their own sinful nature and will experience times of hurt and pain. We pray that they can experience the grace and joy that comes from knowing their Lord and Savior in spite of their circumstances.
Ross decided to write out our prayer for Hayden Kate as a keepsake:
Dear Heavenly Father –
We praise you God, our Creator, our King, our Father, our Savior.
Lord, thank you for the gospel – for Jesus’ perfect life, for his sacrificial death for our sins, and for his triumphant resurrection.
God, thank you for your grace – for Heather, for Analiese, and for Hayden Kate, who we dedicate to you today.
Father, we confess our need for you, your mercy, your word, and your Spirit in our lives and specifically as parents.
Lord, we plead for your provision, protection, and most of all for your presence and joy in our family and for Hayden Kate.
God, please help us to shepherd Hayden Kate and prepare her for this life, redemption, and for death and eternity.
Father, you are good, unchanging, just, and glorious.
It was a beautiful fall day–strangely similar to the day we all gathered for Analiese’s dedication even though hers was on a breezy spring day. We are so thankful for many of the same family members who traveled to Michigan for this special day. As Hayden Kate grows up and we talk about this day in her life, she will know it was important and how much she is loved because of the company we shared.
A little fun fact: She wore the same off white linen dress and denim jacket that Analiese wore two and a half years earlier for her dedication. They were a gift from their wildly fashionable great aunt, uncle and cousins. Hayden Kate wore that headband like a champ even though it’s a little small for her head at this point. I love it so, though!