A couple of weeks ago, there were two baby dedications/baptisms at church, and I was surprised how spun out I got watching this. I always love those moments, watching people make public the commitment that they will seek to raise this precious child to know God. SO important! But watching this from the perspective of being brand new grandma, it impacted me at a whole new level.
The first thing I noticed this morning, was that the mom and dad and cute little bundle didn’t have any family present for this event. There could be many reasons for that (work schedules, living in a different city or continent, family issues, not Christian….and many others), but my mind and heart contrasted that to some of the other times where we have seen the podium filling up with grandmas and grandmas who have come long distances to witness this moment. It made me sad for the parents (whether appropriately or not), and made me take it very seriously as a member of the church who would be saying, “Yes, we stand beside you and pray for you and are so glad you are choosing to walk the path of faith as a family.”
It also took me back to when we dedicated our children, and I never realized til then, our families were not with us. Mine wouldn’t have come (our church at the time was too “expressive” for them), and my husband’s family was not familiar with why we would be doing this in the first place. It was our church we were counting on at that point to help us learn to do this amazing privilege of raising our kids, surviving new parenthood, and teaching them to know God. There were some amazing “adopted” grandparents in our church who were there for me in ways I want to be there for our grandson.
This service made me rejoice, but also made me incredibly sad for those who do not choose to be part of a faith community, and therefore, do not have this incredible resource of potentially mentoring, praying, supportive people to draw from. (Ya, I know sometimes a church is a little like granola-you get fruit in with it, but also some nuts). If they are not in a church, it made me very conscious of how much young parents need their family to walk in faith around them, to spend time loving, giving, listening and praying….
As a grateful new mom, a long time ago, I wrote this poem for our first daughter…
“Like Hannah in the Bible promised long ago
If she could only have a child, she’d given him to the Lord.
I prayed that God would give to us a baby girl to love
And I promised we would care for her and teach her that He is good.
Lord, I give to you this child that you have given me.
Please help me mold and shape her into what she’s supposed to be.
Keep her safe throughout each day-keep her in your tender care.
No matter what may happen, let her know You’re always there.
So God, in love looked down on us and brought you to our lives.
I’ve thanked Him everyday since then. I’ll thank Him all my life.
I pray that you will know Him too as your shepherd and your friend,
Because, little one, Jesus loves you, with a love that will not end.”
PS It also made me very grateful that even though the church I grew up in had some very toxic people running rampant over the lives of children, God’s Word can still take root in a young life willing to trust Him. A child hearing that God loves them, has a plan for their life, and has a purpose bigger than the valley full of shadows they may live in, can still believe and find hope even when life is hard. (Yes, circumstances for that child need to change, but God is unchanging).