It is binding.
It is final.
It is deeply spiritual.
The Mr. and I made our first covenant when we got married; our commitment to each other is more than just a contract. We exchanged vows as a covenant to each other and through the help of God we will maintain our marriage. God is the third party in our marriage. We made our second covenant with God in front of the church October 19, 2014 when we committed to be intentional with how we were going to raise Dutch.
This past May (5/22/16) we made our third covenant with God when we dedicated Ellis to the church. As we raise Ellis we want to demonstrate what it means to walk in faith, to be in the word, to have a prayerful life, to serve others, and to be in continual conversation with God. We are dedicated to raising our daughter to know Him and to look to Him for strength, patience, wisdom, provision, love, and salvation. Of course we are going to fail at this many times because we are not perfect parents but we are going to try our best to be intentional in our parenting and to rely on God to show us how to be intentional and how to have grace for ourselves when we mess up. The children from my womb are not my own. Yes I have carried them around in my body, and yes I stay up all hours of the night to make sure they are feeling well, changed, and fed, but they are not mine. Just like everything else on this earth, these children are the Lord's. They are blessings that the Lord has given me to take care of while I am on this earth. It has always been important to the Mr and I to make sure that we are intentional in our parenting to point our children back to Jesus. The Mr. and I have decided that there are three characteristics that we are going to intentionally invest in teaching our children: integrity, a Servant’s heart, and joyful. We have this image printed and posted on our fridge to remind us daily of this training.
Various denominations deal with these types of days in different ways (this is not a statement as to who is right and who is wrong). I was sprinkled as a baby, made my personal public profession of faith in 6th grade, and baptized through immersion later in life….so I’ve been baptized on three different occasions. If it were possible to be super baptized that would be me. But just to explain where we are coming from, we are a bible-based faith and believe that one is baptized once they have accepted Christ as their Savior. Dutch’s dedication and Ellis’ dedication are not their baptism. Hopefully one day when they are cognitively aware, they will accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and upon that profession of faith in obedience they will be baptized. These dedication moments are instead a commitment ceremony for the parents to make a covenant with God publicly to raise our children in the faith. It’s an opportunity to pray for strength for my husband as the spiritual leader of our home, for me to be the nurturer of the home, and for us to be teachers of love.
During the ceremony our pastor introduced Ellis to the church with her special verse. We selected Ellis’ verse before she was born, and have it on the wall in the nursery next to Dutch’s verse, Isaiah 40: 30-31:
Even youth grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
We also shared what her name means, and to be honest we never looked at this until right before the ceremony. We selected the name because we liked the way it sounded months before she was born, but the cool thing is that God had something special planned for us. Her name means beautiful lamb. Not so coincidentally, every gift she has received since before birth has been a lamb or had a lamb on it. And I’ve been calling her “my lamb” since she was born, before I knew what her name meant. This is so cool, because God knew her name before we did. She is no accident or coincidence. She is a gift, and beautiful lamb gift.
At the closing of the ceremony our pastor prayed specifically for the Mr., me, Dutch, and Ellis. It was such a special day and we are so blessed to have been able to make this covenant for Ellis.