On the day you were 1 month old, we had the whole family together at Bami and Poppa John’s house to pray over you and dedicate your life to God. What a wonderful day!
We worshipped together.
Daddy prayed that like Jesus, you would grow in wisdom and favor with God and men.
Poppi and Poppa John prayed over you and over our family.
We laid you on a rock (for like 2 seconds!)
We ate great food.
This is something I read during the little ceremony that we had as we all packed into the piano room. This idea of being a guilt-free parent had been on my mind and I wanted to share it at your dedication as a public confession of my own struggle with perfectionism and my own commitment to total reliance on God’s grace in this new adventure of raising you.
(*note: parts of this are taken from an Elisa Morgan letter, featured in Ann Voskamp’s blog)
Mommy’s Thoughts on Your Dedication Day
“We tend to hold on to something of a myth and it tends to offer us nothing but a heavy burden and a constant sense of looming guilt. When we (I) speak of family values, we have good intentions. We think we mean that we want our families to reflect certain traditional or moral standards. We think we mean that we intend to raise our kids to observe certain boundaries and to be honorable, upstanding people. But don’t we sometimes really mean that we expect our families to be perfect? Subconsciously, we (I) attach the burden of perfection to the idea of family values.
Brian and I do certainly intend to raise John within the boundaries of God’s law and we definitely will maintain high expectations for the kind of man he will become. My thoughts here are not about lowering expectations for our child or degrading our standards for parenting. It’s more about coming face to face with the two major realities that define our world.
The reality – and the problem – is that I’m broken. Brian is broken. Even little John is broken. Everybody is. The real truth is that raising a family based on God’s standards of excellence and perfection is an impossible task. We will just simply fail.
The second reality, though, trumps the first. That is: God has chosen to work with sinful, broken people. He’s adopted us into his family and he holds that broken family close – and he holds each of our individual families close…crying with his wounded children, tenderly assembling and reassembling fallen fragments, making us more like Him as he refines us in trials, upholds us with supernatural strength and covers us in peace that surpasses all understanding.
God doesn’t sweep the broken into a dustpan and discard it. Instead, he brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken. And in order to reach the broken in our world, God himself broke, allowing his own Son to die a broken death on a cross for us. This is the best reality.
So, what if we move away from the myth of the perfect family and toward the reality of our beautifully broken ones? Might we then breathe air clean of the stench of shame and instead saturated with the grace of God? And might others find in us, not the exhausting chasing of some impossible dream, but rather fresh hope for the real life we are all living? My prayer is that our family will exude and cling to the hope that is described in Jude verse 24:
“It is He who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy”
Because of Jesus’ perfection and because of his sacrifice on our behalf, God has already cast our failure as parents as far as the east is from the west. Instead of seeing our sin,
he sees the holiness of his Son, covering us in grace. When we stand on trial before God, as far as our justification before him is concerned, we do have a perfect family.
So we will throw off the heavy burden of guilt and simply rest in Him. We will accept that gracious verdict with gratitude- it is the Gospel- good news! It is certainly undeserved, but it is a beautiful, freeing reality. And one that with all of our hearts, we want our son to know.”
Buddy, we do pray for you every day – that you will come to know and love God with all of your heart and mind and soul and strength. We will do our very best to raise you well, but I can promise you now that we will fail in many ways (we already have, I’m sure!). But if we can do one thing right, it will be to point you to your Savior.