Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Day of Dedication

Some days parenthood is hard. It's exhausting. It's the trying of every ounce of patience until you come to the end of yourself and find just a little bit left...only to have the life sucked out of you by the little beings you call your children. You would die for them, and yet there are moments when you wonder how you manage to keep them alive. There are days when all you can do is survive. No Pinterest projects. No homemade meals. Nothing post-worthy and certainly nothing you want to make a memory over.

And then there are days like today. Today was all of the reasons we became parents. Today embodied the feelings, blessings and emotions of parenthood that make you stop in the stillness of the evening when life is dying down and babies are cuddled up and you simply utter, "Thanks."

Today is one of the moments we etch in our memory: February 14, 2016, Valentine's Day. A day to recall our family's commitment to raise our daughter for the Lord. I remember the day dedicating Elijah in 2008. Now Michael and I offer Violet back to the Lord.

"For this child [we] prayed...So now [we] give [her] to the Lord. For [her] whole life [she] will be given over to the Lord." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Today was the day we committed to give her over to the Lord. The day we acknowledge the gift of this child and recognize we are but stewards as we lead her and guide her. This day, a day to celebrate love, was the epitome of just that as we stood with our family and committed to share the love of Christ with this soul we've been entrusted with. I struggled to hold back the tears as the Pastor prayed over these precious lives. The beauty of the moment and the meaning surrounding it was one I wouldn't forget.

Our prayer of dedication is just the beginning. We can't choose for them - God has given us each free will to choose whom we will serve. But we are committed to raising these precious souls to know the God whom we love and serve, the Master who created them and sent His Son to die for them and give them eternal life. We can't make them choose Christ as their Savior but we are committed to making sure they know of His sacrifice and gift.

I've built an altar, stone by stone, surrounding the miracle of motherhood. Each prayer, tear and hope-filled moment of waiting now stand as a place I pause and give praise for the answers to prayer. The joy wasn't without pain, heartache and moments of emptiness. But my barrenness brought supplication, my grief brought surrender, my brokenness ushered gratefulness to make me appreciate each and every hard-fought moment that I had longed and prayed for.

We had so much fun as a family today. All of a sudden this precious baby became keenly aware of her big brother. He donned underwear (clean ones, I promise) on his head as he talked and sang to her. The belly laughs coming from the little one were enough to cause an eruption of laughter from each of us as we watched her discover her world. A fort of pillows was built in the living room while a daring little boy attempted to couch surf. We sat back as parents and decided not to scold and stop the silliness but rather we embraced it and let it soak deep into our hearts as we smiled at each other almost knowingly realizing this would be the icing on such a day full of sweet memories. This day wasn't without its trials or challenges. It wasn't perfect or fully peaceful. But it was, no doubt, a day that we'll remember for the moments we never want to forget.

We don't just sign up for the pretty, sweet, memorable moments of parenthood. We sign up for all of it. Every last heart-wrenching moment that shakes your faith and brings you to your knees. We sign up for the depth and breadth of parenting living souls that God so divinely sees fit to entrust us with. For the moments that try our patience and test our wills. For the moments that become memories etched in our minds. For every moment.

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