Our religious tradition includes 'Baby Dedication,' a special ceremony to publicly dedicate your child into God's care, and to declare a vow to raise them in God's love and teach them about Him. We consider all our children to be amazing gifts whose lives we temporarily hold in our hands, but who truly belong to God. Baby dedication serves to place these gifts back in God's hands, with love and gratitude. Ayden was dedicated at four months of age, Matthew was dedicated twice~once by his foster mom in Thailand, and again when he was 18 months, by us~and Riley? Well, Riley... he never got dedicated. See, when he was born our previous church was in the process of some major instability and change, and we decided to search for a church closer to our own community and with more stability before he was one year old. Then we found our current church when he was 18 months but it was right before Christmas so that wasn't a great time (plus we didn't really know anyone yet), and then I got pregnant with Amarys, and life goes by so quickly that we never got around to it. Until now!
On Mother's Day we had a special service to dedicate both Riley and Amarys. It was the best Mother's Day EVER. It was warm and sunny, a horde of family and friends came to church to see our babies dedicated, and we hosted a brunch at our house in the afternoon. It was AWESOME. The service itself is pretty short; maybe ten minutes? We introduced ourselves (although most of our church knows us), our Pastor said a few words about baby dedication and asked us if we promise to raise Riley and Amarys in the knowledge of the love of God, and to teach them about Him and His love, and we said "We do!" Then Pastor Doug read a verse I had chosen specially for each child, and prayed with them individually. During the entire ceremony Matthew made faces. Pastor Doug said we were examples of patience (and I wanted to invite him over to our house during the pre dinner hour and see how patient I am, but I digress) and love.
Riley's verse was from Psalm 91:1-2
'He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD,
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."';
Riley is a peaceful, kind soul who brought us healing and peace. He reminds me of his daddy, with his calm disposition, sparkly eyes, and groundedness. Our hope is for him to find refuge in God, rest in His shadow forever, and bring that kind of peace and healing to others.
Amarys' verse was from Joel 2:23
'Be glad, O people of Zion,rejoice in the LORD your God,for he has given youthe autumn rains in righteousness.He sends you abundant showers,both autumn and spring rains, as before.'
Amarys is like a tempest. The force of her personality is like abundant showers, and her presence in our lives is abundant, full of life giving water in bucketfuls. Water heals. Water sustains life. And storms are a beautiful upheaval. God's blessing on our family has been repeated.
Love to my babies. May you walk the journey set before you with steadfast knowledge that you are surrounded by love. Our imperfect love, and God's complete and perfect love. Know God's presence, and follow Him always.