This is a guest post, written by my mom, Debbie. As we are currently preparing for a cross-country move, away from my parents, my husband’s mom, & much of our extended family, she had some thoughts she wanted to share. Visit her new website: TheButtonWoman.com.
Many of my friends and loved ones have commented to me lately, saying things like, “Oh, I just don’t think I could handle it if my children lived far away from me”, or “We couldn’t take it if our kids moved away”, and it got me to thinking. Many of these people “dedicated” their babies to the Lord, and have watched as their grandbabies were taken to the front of the church and “dedicated” to the Lord. There was a big day planned, food was prepared, and a big family get-together after the service, because, after all, this was a very important day in the lives of their child.
Was it? I may come across sounding a little sarcastic, but let’s think about what that day of dedication is all about.
What are we dedicating our child to do? Why are we dedicating him/her? How will this affect their life? Does it matter at all? Who cares?
Well, let me start off by speaking only for our own personal situation. We have two children: Jessica, 34, and Aaron, almost 33 (at the end of April). We dedicated them to the Lord at church in front of the congregation, prayed over them, and had friends, family (who might have been there), and anyone in the congregation who felt led to come up and pray with us. We prayed to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to share with them and talk with them about salvation, and God’s love, and train them up in the way they should go.
We wanted them to follow God’s call in their lives. Never in my wildest thought, did I think they were going to live next door to me after they grew up, went off to college, worked a job, and got married. And, by next door, I mean in the same town, area, or state even. I really wanted them to follow Jesus.
Nurture: to feed and protect: to nurture one’s offspring; to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; to bring up; train; educate.
I looked up the meaning of admonition, and this was the definition: gentle or friendly reproof ; counsel or warning against fault or oversight.
For many of us there is no greater joy than to know that our children love the Lord and are walking in His truth. Yet we know as parents that this doesn’t automatically happen. Children are born with a certain amount of innocence, yet that innocence is quickly tarnished by the world, the flesh, and the devil. In order for our children to walk in the truth, we must lead them in the truth.
Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
So, as parents, it is such a joy to have raised children who love God, want to follow Him at all costs, and that really is the greatest blessing we could imagine.
We, personally, haven’t had the luxury of living close to either one of our children or grandchildren, until the last few years. We have had to use our vacation time to visit them or spend time with them most of their married years. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way. I have often told people, “I wouldn’t want my children to live next door to me if it wasn’t God’s will.” And, I truly mean that. Yes, it’s hard when they are not here to share things with, or visit with, but when they are serving God, and teaching their children to do the same, it makes me want to literally jump up and down.
Both of my children have that as a priority in their married lives, with their spouses and their children, and it is very pleasant for my husband and I to realize.
I would like to encourage parents and grandparents to really think about it, when you take that precious baby up to the front of the church to “have a dedication service”, because it is real, serious, and life changing. It isn’t really a dedication to the baby, but a dedication to the parents to “raise that baby” to love God and follow Him.
And, when your child comes up to you and lets you know that they have been called to Nigeria as a missionary, or that they have accepted a job to work at a Department Store Headquarters in Arkansas, give them a hug, pray with them, and be happy with them! Celebrate, because they are taking God’s word with them, and they will shine their light brighter than ever before!
That’s what you dedicated them and yourselves to do – you have prepared for this day! Praise the Lord!
Debbie — Please visit me & see my creations at TheButtonLady.wordpress.com