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As each of my sons were born, my husband and I made sure to participate in an infant dedication service at church. On those three separate occasions, we entrusted our babies to God’s care. The ceremony wasn’t a baptism, although promises made by the parents are similar.

 

A dedication is an offering.

For each of my boys, this was my essential prayer:

“Lord, You gave me the privilege of raising this child. Thank You.

“You have given me the responsibility to teach him right from wrong, to witness to him concerning Your eternal existence, Your sacrifice for us, Your victory over sin, and Your eventual return. Please help me meet those responsibilities.

“I dedicate this child to You. I have him for a little while, but he does not belong to me. He belongs to You. And I trust You with his life.”

For anyone who prays such a prayer, the Lord will hold you to your word.

There have been many moments, and I’ll share three, when I needed to remind myself what I had promised. My sons belong to the God of the Universe. And in times of crisis, Who better to sustain them than God?

Son #3 was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of thirteen.

I remember driving him from the doctor’s office to the hospital. I was in shock. What would life be like for us? I knew nothing about diabetic care, just that a person could die within hours if their blood sugar ricocheted out of control. Too high? Too low? I didn’t know! I had no control!

I began to pray, and the Lord reminded me of my promise. This child was His. And the verse came to me, hard but true, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” He had taken away my child’s health. No, His child’s health. And He had a purpose in it. Would I trust Him? I would.

Son #2 has traveled overseas for medical missions.

The kid who clung to my leg for close to four years ended up halfway around the world. Kenya was fairly easy to trust. He was with other Americans in a fairly stable country. Then, he went to a remote part of India. He emailed pictures of spiders the width of a man’s hand. Unsettling. Then, he traveled deep into Nigeria, close to a border war between Muslims and Christians. I was a wreck. It didn’t matter anymore that he was with a group. All Americans would be targets.

Panic prayers were sent heavenward several times a day. Finally, the Lord reminded me, “Whose child is this?”

“Yours, Lord.”

I settled down. My son would return home safely. Or he wouldn’t. God’s call.

Son #1 was part of the opening salvo in the war with Iraq.

On the day the Twin Towers were attacked, my knees literally buckled as I walked down the hallway of my school. My child was going to war.

Five months later, American troops crossed the border into Iraq, and my son was one of them. I watched Geraldo Rivera embedded with the troops. Was one of those soldiers in full battle gear my baby? They all looked alike. After way too many hours in front of the television, I realized I was watching the same footage over and over.

There was only one thing for me to do. Repeat my promise.

“I dedicate this child to You. I have him for a little while, but he does not belong to me. He belongs to You. And I trust You with his life.”

Friends knew my son was part of the war. “How can you stay so calm?” they’d ask. “I’m not sure I could function if my child was over there.”

“I dedicated him to the Lord.” I told them. “And I meant it.”

My answer gave them pause.

Their next response was often, “I dedicated my kids to the Lord, too, but…”

I can’t remember if I said anything further to them, but this is my message—to them, and to you–if you have dedicated your child to the God of the universe:

We dedicated these babies to the Almighty Father. We told the Lord we trusted Him to take care of them, to direct their lives as He saw fit. Did we mean it?

My son returned from the war. Wiser. Sadder. In the years following, I’ve declared the same dedication prayer, privately, for each of my grandchildren as well. Our lives will continue. Other situations will arise, and for every crisis, I will renew the promise. “I have dedicated this child to You. He is with me for a little while, but he does not belong to me. He belongs to You. And I trust You with his life.”

 And I will mean it.

 

 

 

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