Sunday past was an extra special one in our family. We stood before our family, our friends, our church family and God, and covenanted to parent our son, Jonas, in a way that will point him to Jesus. We don't baptise children in our church... our conviction being that the decision to follow Jesus will be one which Jonas will make for himself when he is old enough to understand. In the meantime, however, Dave and I, as christians, made vows to do all we could to teach him the Scriptures and model to him what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
It's a responsibility we don't take lightly... parenting is hard - its a wonderful adventure, full of joy-filled moments and tear-your-hair-out moments, and its full of self-questioning, guilt-filled thoughts and constant analysis... but the gospel of Jesus gives us grace to make mistakes. It allows us to mess up and repent, and know that ultimately our children's spiritual welfare is not in our hands. It is between them and God - and we, as parents, will seek to encourage but not enforce... tease out questions, seek to give wise counsel and model in front of them what a life lived seeking to be a follower of Christ looks like.
It's big stuff.
We have done the same for the girls (you can read about Ava's dedication here, and Heidi's here) and four years into this parenting journey, as I have stood up the front and made my promises, the responsibility of them has felt more weighty with each child. Because no longer is christian parenting a pie in the sky dream that I aspire to... its the everyday reality... amidst the tantrums, the squabbles, the giggles and the good times... and my promises to support Dave in leading our family, to be a godly mother and to create a home which pervades with the sweetness of the gospel feel big. Because too often I want to do things my way, I want my husband and my children to follow my whim... and sometimes our house pervades more with angry frustration and eye-rolling than with the gospel.
But then there's grace again. And so I seek, day by day, to fulfil this calling as best I can - to work together with Dave to lead our family, not against him... to model hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control to the children, all the while showing them that it is not in my strength... to seek to make our home a place of honesty and integrity where kindness and grace and God's glory in all things are the norm. To pray daily for our children...
It's a big deal. And so the promise we made on Sunday rings true.
With the Lord's help, we will.