Dedicated to the Lord
Last night at church they had baby dedications during the service. It was so beautiful to see parents committing their children to the Lord. The Pastor talked about the story of Hannah and how she prayed and prayed for a child and that if she was given one that she would dedicate him completely to the Lord.
He answered her prayer and she gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel. When Samuel was born, Hannah prayed these words:
"For this boy I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him. So I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord." -1 Samuel 1:27-28
Then is Luke 2, we also see that when Jesus was born that he was dedicated to the Lord.
The pastor talked about how one of these babies could be a pastor, a teacher, a firefighter, or someone who changes the world. It was beautiful thing.
I was once dedicated to the Lord, actually baptized in small Lutheran church by tradition. My parents and godparents stood before the church and dedicated me to the Lord. I am sure my parents had the best of intentions for my life.
But my life hasn’t turned out the way that they wanted it, my life has been marked by truly following the Lord because God has truly captured my heart and I have sought to follow where He guides.
After church tonight I was once again reminded that the path of following God can often times be marked with human heartbreak and disappointment. I offered to take my parents to dinner, I had big news for them. My mom offered to make dinner, a family dish that I had been craving. It was a kind offering. I was extremely nervous and excited to share my news with them. To her sadness, I was not announcing I was in a relationship and had a boyfriend.
I arrived at their home after church and my dad was not home, he decided to go watch the fight at a local restaurant. So I told my mom the big news, I had left my corporate job and had gotten a dream job. For about 8 years I have desired to be on staff at my alma mater, a private Christian university. Application after application and a few interviews over the years had led to no success, but something in my heart new that one day I would go back. After I completed grad school, I knew that God had something bigger for my life than the corporate environment.
Well, once telling my mom the news she then bombarded me with questions about my income and what I would be making. I kindly told her that it did not matter and that I was happy and that it really was not her business. I told her I am okay and the benefits are great. She confessed that their investment in helping paying for my education was not paying out for them as they are still paying off some of my student debt. I am paying off that debt still as well. She told me that they had dreams of me making $70-100k a year and to help them their own debts.
As much as I knew a conversation like this would happen, my heart still felt disappointment. I had known that I would need to separate myself from the outcome of the conversation because I cannot control their reaction, even if I understood it. Yet once again I felt that I had not measured up for them. I spent two years working in a corporate environment and as much as I loved the people I worked with, I did not love the demand or stress, some of the constant management changes within my department. My department was moving towards a more commission based environment, highly focused on sales, and highly competitive. All things that are not who I am.
I know that the path God has me on is the correct one, that my decision to follow Him into this new field will be blessed. While it makes the understanding and decision easier, the human feeling of failure in my parents’ eyes is not easy. I fought back tears as I ate dinner and left shortly thereafter. My mom hugged me goodbye and congratulated me, but it didn’t feel sincere. I know that there intentions and hopes for me, are the hopes of most parents have for their children; hopes and dreams for success.
During that encounter my small group had sent this unknowingly:
It was what I needed to see in that moment after.
It wasn’t until I text my small group what had happened and asked for them to pray for me, that hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat in my car in the grocery store parking lot. They encouraged and supported me.
“God IS for you. That’s all the matters.”
“Follow where God is calling you and you will be blessed.”
“You can’t worry about pleasing others. As harsh as it sounds, that includes your parents. God has a plan for you and this job is a step in that direction.”
“All things work together… Remember that. It’s hard when parents don’t see eye to eye with us, but keep your eyes on Him.”
One of the women continually reminds me that I am “clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25)
I called one of my best friends and mentors and lamented the story with her. She has been a huge support system for me over the few years of our friendship and she knows my parents behavior well. She just said, “I don’t understand your parents.” I don’t as well, but I am so thankful the encouraging women and church friends that I am continually supported and surrounded by.
So all I can continue doing is praying for them, praying to continue staying on the path, and knowing that this journey will make me better parent when that day comes. I ask that you pray for them too.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." -Deuteronomy 6: 5-9