A declaration of our dedication
As I write this post around 7:30pm, Elias is fast asleep for the night and I'm reminiscing the day's events via photos as I usually do around this time of night. Today, my favorite photos come from our good friend & one of our amazing volunteer photographers from church, Miss Kellie Chaney. I'm so glad she captured these images because today was extra special for our family: Child Dedications.
Chad and I had the incredible opportunity and privilege to dedicate our son, Elias, to the Lord with several other families from our church and their children. We were encouraged by a wonderful message from one of our pastors that boiled down to two things: you will not be perfect parents (and that's ok!), and you will not raise your children alone. We're so thankful to be in community with supportive friends and peers at Elevation Church (Raleigh)—who have quickly become our extended family—to raise up Elias in such a positive, Christ-centered environment. During the dedication, we made a commitment to Elias as his parents, read that commitment in the form of a letter to him, and prayed over him alongside the other families.
SIDE NOTE: I nearly lost my emotional marbles as I held our six-month-old firstborn and listened to Chad choke back tears as he lovingly read Elias our letter. I also couldn't stop giggling as Elias tried his darnedest to destroy the paper letter as Chad read it, completely unaware of the gravity & significance of the moment.
The letter that we wrote together, very prayerfully and personally for Elias is below. Chad and I felt a desire to post it here on our blog as a public declaration and a way to speak life into these words, as well as a way to be held accountable to our promise as his parents.
We wholeheartedly believe that God created you for a purpose and that he gave you as a personal gift to us. We are so glad that you are part of our family! There are many things you may aspire to do in your lifetime, but here are the seven things we hope and pray you become.
First and foremost—and most importantly—we pray that you grow to love Jesus and others. By walking out a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and by treating all people you meet with compassion, the rest of this list will fall into place. We declare that you are a man of prayer, a man of faith and a man of obedience to God. May you be sensitive to the needs of others and show great love for all people. Walk by the Holy Spirit, constantly aware of God’s presence as you soldier on for God’s Kingdom.
Second, know that you are smart. May you always have a desire to learn, study hard and make wise choices. Don’t doubt yourself. Never lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge God—He’ll lead the way for you.
Third, know that you are kind. May people who know you describe you as respectful, polite, and generous. May you be selfless, a true gentleman and a good listener.
Fourth, know that you are honest. May you always tell the truth and keep your promises. May you be respectable, responsible, genuine, and trustworthy. Never be afraid to share your true feelings.
Fifth, know that you are strong. May you persevere in all circumstances, keep your chin up, and lean on Jesus as your source of strength. There will be times you will bend under pressure, but we declare that you will not break. Christ is in you, and that is enough.
Sixth, know that you are brave. May you have bold faith, no matter what. May you be passionate, stand up for what is right, and take action for what you believe in. Have confidence in yourself, believing that God made you who you are on purpose.
And finally, know that you are dedicated. May your work ethic be strong and dependable. You are not a quitter; you are consistent, persistent and committed to everything you step into. If you feel like you’ve been knocked down, get back up and get back at it.
We truly love you, son, and we commit to be the best parents we can be to you. Today, on November 5, 2016, we dedicate you to the Lord with our church family as witnesses. We promise to pray for you, love you and support you every day as you become this man.
Mom and Dad