There were a lot of parts I really enjoyed about being a pastor. I knew I’d enjoy teaching and hanging out with students. I was really surprised how much I enjoyed baptism and the opportunity to help students take that step in their faith. While I was a pastor I never experienced a baby dedication firsthand, but I did enjoy being a part of a church that partnered with families to help raise children to follow Jesus.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to experience a baby dedication firsthand as Alycia and I dedicated Clara to the Lord. I’ve seen plenty of baby dedications, but it was a much more fulfilling experience than I could have possibly imagined. All of our family and friends were there to watch as we committed to raise Clara in the ways of the Lord. And then our entire church family committed to help us do the same.
I know that our church really does want to help us raise Clara to follow Jesus. Most of the people on staff were my coworkers and I know how deeply they want to partner with families to see real transformation. For a long time I was just on the church side of that equation, working to see families transformed for generations. Now that I have a family of my own, I’m so grateful to have a church that wants to come alongside Alycia and me as we raise Clara.
I’m appreciative of the church’s help, but I know that the greatest influences in Clara’s life are going to be Alycia and me. We learn so much from our families of origin. We have a great church, but if Alycia and I are totally derelict in our responsibilities as parents, then Clara is going to have a hard time. I know that my parents were extremely influential in my life, taking me to church every Sunday and modeling what it looks like to follow Jesus. I can only hope and pray that Alycia and I are capable of setting the same example for Clara.
At some point, though, I know that Clara is going to make her own choices. I know plenty of wonderful parents who have prayed for their children and set a fine example, only to see those children wander away from Jesus. Anakin had examples like Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Yoda, yet he still made choices that led him to the dark side. Alycia and I could be the best parents ever, but Clara will choose her own path.
So my greatest prayer for Clara is that God would capture her heart. His Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to respond to him in the first place. I know that Alycia and I have a responsibility to guide Clara to Jesus, but in the end she needs to respond to God reaching out to her. So I pray that God has arms like Mr. Fantastic that will reach to Clara wherever she goes.