Our Father gathered the love of my amazing husband and me, and graciously formed three wonderfully created lives inside my empty places. Our Loving Lord gently placed them in our arms not to be controlled, but to experience His amazing love.
We stood on three separate Sunday mornings before family and friends to dedicate our children to our Almighty God. Each time a tiny body snuggled into our arms unable to grasp the significance of the exchange. The Creator gave us these precious lives and willingly we offered ourselves to be His arms and voice.
Our words of sacrificial offering for the sake of our children flowed easily from our mouths. Just as Hannah thousands of years before us dedicated Samuel to the Lord, we opened our hands to allow our beautiful children to follow wherever God leads. We wouldn’t hold on.
Almost 11 years after the first offering, this morning I walked my children into a new and different school. God had opened wide the doors, His path made clear. Their backpacks and hearts filled with hopes and dreams for a fresh start. Lunch bags filled with food and a love note written this morning.
And yet trapped tears waited to pour out of filled eyes. I couldn’t embarrass the three who looked so big walking through the halls. Their eyes blinded to what showed on my big screen. Pictures of baby smiles, first words, bike rides, coloring pages flooded past. I didn’t know so many years ago how difficult it would be to not hold on.
I want to make sure they meet nice friends today. I want their teachers to see the amazing minds God has given them. I want them to be kind to each person in their classes, and reach out to those who don’t know Jesus’ love. I want them to say “thank you” to the custodians. I want them to feel confident in who the Lord created them to be.
After quick goodbyes, I watched each gift walk into the great unknown. My unknown, their unknown, but not His unknown. Jesus whispers, “I am there. I love them, and you can trust me.”
I stood in the parking lot beside my car with tears finding release. I opened my hands and again offered my children to their Savior. I spoke words of dedication giving my valuables to Him to be champions for Him. I dedicated myself to loving and caring for them in the way He desires. They are not my own.
God is inside my children, He is walking before them, and all around them. I can’t imagine where the Shepherd will lead, but I can trust Him. I know. He has shown Himself faithful in my own life.
I find myself praying even now that God watches over my beautiful children. I can’t walk with them, but I can talk with the One who is with them right now. He will never leave them.
I now understand more deeply, without blinders, dedicating my children to the Lord doesn’t happen on one Sunday. It’s an everyday surrender to my Lord. I will follow Him, and allow my children to follow Him.
With open hands, and a praying heart I offer them to a Father who loves them without boundaries. His plans for them are beyond my comprehension. I trust Him.
Copyright words and photographs by Jane Carole Stein