Monday, January 7, 2008

Not Just Another Family Day

Yesterday, my darling new niece was dedicated to the Lord in front of several family members and her church family. It was a neat time to share with my brother and sister-in-law, pledging with their church family to point her to Christ and to support her parents in their parenting journey. It was also a very convicting time for me, causing me to stop and reflect on my own parenting journey and how I'm doing in pointing my kids to Christ.

Sometimes, when I'm being completely honest with myself, I find that I am more often pointing them toward my path and my agenda. That I am showing them how to pursue selfish motives and self-comfort. It's such a sobering thought: that how I live, how I speak, how I love them and how I serve them will set them on a path. I'm a pretty big-picture thinker, and I tend to take times like these (dedications, weddings, welcoming new members to a church family, etc.) as very personal, internal checkpoints on my own journey. I like that about myself because I think it keeps me aware of who I am and where I'm going. But it makes these ceremonial events pretty intense for me as well. I knew going into the service that I was there to witness the dedication. I started out the morning service by examining my heart in regard to supporting my brother and his wife in their journey to point her to Jesus. But, it never stops there for me! So during the entire worship service I kept re-directing my heart and my mind toward examining my own parenting path. The Boss often shakes his head at how "hard" I make these events for myself, but I don't really know any other way to handle them. I'm a wreck at weddings, let me tell ya!

Anyway, by the end of the church service, I felt a little wrung out. I tend to be pretty hard on myself. Shocking, I know. As I sat through the sermon (which by the way was a phenomenal discussion on Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law and how that should help us in our journey as citizens of His heavenly kingdom), I continued by praying that my heart and mind would be open to His finger pointing out my sin. I looked for things to offer to Him as areas in which I can grow. But I also felt the warm approval of My Father. I felt that He was pleased with my heart-check time, and that He is pleased with my desires for these re-directs. I certainly won't pretend that He's always pleased with the daily choices I often make, but it was a wonderful thing to sit and bask a little bit in the idea that He appreciates that I seek His re-direction and adjustment along the way. It helped me connect a couple things that I've been praying about for my kids - that the progress reports are sometimes almost more important than the end product. That how they went about earning that grade in Math is as important as the actual grade. That how the boys are growing in their ability to nurture and cherish their younger sister is as important as the fact that we want them to treat all women with respect and gentlemanly protectiveness. Just for example.

So, it was a great baby dedication. My niece was adorable, as she always is. My brother and sister-in-law were wonderfully humble as they committed to teaching their daughter to seek Christ above all as she grows. And I was humbled and lavished by My Father as I opened my heart through it all, for His inspection and approval.


Heidi @ GGIP said...

Very interesting post. I think the self reflection must be helpful, so long as you don't beat yourself up over and over.

Lovely post. I bet she was cute! Infant dedications and baptisms always make me cry.

Livin' Life said...

I love hearing from you again. I am glad to be in on this crazy world. It is nice to keep in touch even if we are miles apart.

Hands-Free Heart said...

I can relate! I am often told that I am too hard on myself, but it is hard not to be... when I see how many poor choices I make! But I, too, can hear the Father's love and acceptance, and that is the true motivation for change!