The big, dreaded, highly anticipated, inevitable day finally came: Dedication Day. Speaking just for myself, I confess to having dragged my feet. I hemmed and hawed for years, claiming a bad season, or that a formal ritual was unnecessary. But like a dart to the wall, the date for Gigi’s and Gabi’s Dedication Day was thrown toward the calendar, and it landed on Sunday the 20th. I think we were waiting until the joy and hope in anticipation of the occasion outweighed the fear and anxiety. Why so nervous? Because we knew exactly what we were doing. To dedicate something is to offer it completely. Seven years ago we had a small dedication ceremony in a hospital room, once for Ava, and then again for Bella. We offered them both to God, and God took them.
This past Sunday, as the pastor talked about the history of dedications and intent of the ceremony, and as he held Gigi’s and Gabi’s hands, and prayed for us, there was an inaudible creaking sound echoing inside the church building. It was my heart prying open, releasing, surrendering my most precious gifts. It wasn’t the first time I’d made a conscious choice to relinquish Gigi and Gabi from my fateful grasp, and it certainly won’t be the last; but we did it once again on Sunday. We symbolically unclenched our fingers from Gigi and Gabi, and offered them to something bigger and better than our own end. God gets them. He gets all of them to the extent which one person can give another person to God.
This ceremony did not alter their destination. Things like this don’t increase their odds for earthly success, or cast a safety bubble around them. No, this day was an outward sign of our commitment to bring ourselves and our responsibilities and gifts under the governance and nurture of God. With our friends and family standing alongside us Sunday and everyday, we will continue to make a lifestyle of learning to align all that we are, with reality of who God is.
So actually, this day was more for Lance and me than the girls. I know from personal experience that anything I am unwilling to surrender has the potential to become my god—more swaying and influential to me than the God. While the young lives entrusted to us might be our highest earthly motivation or possession or occupation, they are not God. So to keep things in proper alignment, we gave God Gigi and Gabi.
As each new season creates new legitimate reasons to bring Gigi and Gabi back under a me-centered agenda, or into supposed safer arms, I must aspire to reach the same state of submission I had on Dedication Day. The public declaration of this offering helps keep me accountable to this commitment.
In my state of submission, I can have peace knowing that even if my girls should walk through the shadow of death, or into death itself, or if they endure insults, or aren’t invited to a birthday party, or got the wrong teacher, or ended up on the losing team, I ought not to fear. I know that nothing—neither private nor public education, nor big or small house, nor competitive or rec league or no league, ability or disability, justice or injustice, achievement or failure, native or foreign land, six figure earnings or bankruptcy, nor sickness or health, can keep Gigi and Gabi outside of God’s perfecting love, because God is powerful enough to make all things work for the good of those who surrender to Him. In God’s reality, even my child’s defiance can work toward the good of the surrendered me, which is the only appropriate state for me, especially if I am hoping for a surrendered them. Should I burden Gigi and Gabi (or myself) with any ultimate hope other than their own surrender to God so that they might be made whole and complete?
Inattentive and defiant as children are, my children are still my captive audience and willing participants. I get to help them unlock the riddles of the ancient scriptures by living inside their truths today. I get to train them how to seek God by doing it myself. I get to demonstrate how to love and teach them how to think. I get to show Gigi and Gabi how I face my fears, which are things like harm to their flesh and soul, so that they can learn to face their own fears, which are currently the thunderous, automatic flushing toilets at Whole Foods…
For all of us parents, may we be granted discernment. May we speak in truths, discipline in patience, teach in wisdom, and do all of this in love, lest we be merely a noisy gong. May we generously shower them with the fruits of the Spirit, and above all, seek God’s Kingdom so that we have the fruits of the Spirit to give.
I prayed for two children, and then two children more, and God answered my prayer. So what I was forced to do twice before, I willingly did twice again, for I know that there is no real future for anything which hasn’t been entrusted to Jesus. I know that the reckless self-defeat to Christ produces the sustaining order, and the grace and peace which I crave. I know that sacrifice unleashes possibility, and that the point of submission is the birthplace of real hope. I’ve seen for my own self what God can create, even from a most hopeless state, and so it is with exceeding joy and gratitude and assuredness that I dedicate Gigi and Gabi.
Gigi and Gabi, dedication day was for you, too. Out of love comes the courage to give completely, so that you may be loved completely. I can’t help but hope that in our giving, you will find the same love we’ve found.
I know the right way to live. God, give me the discipline to live rightly everyday. And at the end of everyday, may I have the humility to say “Whatever He gives me in return is good enough for me”. Amen!