Our church doesn't do infant baptisms (well, kind of, but that's another story). We do infant dedications, and last Sunday was Marilee's turn. We made a valiant effort to have all three kids sit through the service for thirty minutes until the dedication itself. Marilee was out within a minute or two. William made it for about 15. Penny stayed put the whole time. Then the time came for all of us to stand up front and testify to our willingness to receive Marilee as a gift from God and to teach her, to the best of our abilities, about God's love for her. The congregation joined us in that promise. (When I explained this to William later, he said, "You mean Chase's mommy and daddy are going to teach Marilee about Jesus?")
We also shared some thoughts about Marilee, including a passage that I've prayed for her intermittently since she was born, Psalm 71:14-18
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign LORD; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
On Easter morning
I missed it when our pastor read those verses because I was chasing Marilee, who was toddling around and very eager to get out to where all the people were, corralling William, who was fascinated by the large drum and the organ, and picking up the goldfish that they both had flung all over the place. I heard our pastor say something about "May God teach you..." and I think I might have even interrupted him as I said to the entire congregation, "May God teach you to dedicate your children before they are mobile!" I didn't really mean to say it out loud, but there it was. Thankfully, our pastor is a very gracious man who told me later that his own grandchild had run around just like Marilee.
So it wasn't a deeply spiritual moment for me, and I think we offered a good glimpse of the mostly happy chaos that reigns in our family, but it was a gift nevertheless. It gave us just a moment to consider the gift we have in this little girl of ours,
who has just started to say "no" with great emphasis, who blows me a kiss whenever I say "I love you," who talks in her own language as if we have so many things to catch up on, who wants to be just like her big brother and sister, who is starting to help me put away the dishes from the dishwasher, who snuggles in close just before bedtime, who has brought us fewer than our fair share of sleepless nights, and who makes me laugh every day. May she know God as a good teacher. May she grow to be old and gray. And may she keep her joyful spirit and proclaim Him as the source of all joy, always.