(photos by Ian Johnson)
In Welsh the name Griffin means “strong in faith”. We chose Jeremiah 9:23-24 for Griffin. It is our prayer that Griffin would grow up to be a man of strength because he understands and knows our Heavenly Father. We naturally want our boys to be strong and smart, but we are praying that Griffin would have the kind of strength that only comes from Him...the kind of strength that points others to Him.
Griffin’s middle name is James after Joel’s brother, James. James has a passion for people and for others to know Jesus. As we pray for Griffin to understand and know God, we pray that his life will also overflow with a passion for the things that concern our Heavenly Father...just like his Uncle James.
Griffin has such a sweet personality, he thinks his big brother is awesome, and he resembles his sister Cora in so many ways. Griffin is a blessing to our family and we are so grateful that the Lord has entrusted him to us.
My feelings this year on Griffin's dedication day were very similar to my feelings two years ago when we dedicated Levi. Although we have dedicated Griffin to the Lord since the day he was born, there is a certain heaviness that comes as we stand up in front of our church body to publicly give back to God, what He has so graciously given us in the gift of our son, Griffin. Don't get me wrong. I know God is sovereign over my kids. I know that He loves them way more than I do...His plan for their lives is far greater than my plans for them. But if I'm honest, there is a certain heaviness in that too. Knowing that I have to hold my kids loosely in my hands. And knowing what it is like to have to let go. They are His. God has given us the amazing gift and responsibility to raise them. But sometimes I want to hold on too tight. If you ask me if I trust God, I would say yes. But the reality is that I still struggle. I still have to make a daily choice to trust God fully...especially when it comes to my kids.
And then I think about my purpose and calling as a mom. I get overwhelmed when I think of the huge responsibility I have in teaching and training these boys in God's Word. I want them to come to understand and know God. I want them to love God and serve Him with all of their hearts for all of their days. Last week in Bible study we were talking about our call as Christians to persevere...to remain steadfast, to build up our faith, to keep learning, to keep praying. Persevering can seem overwhelming at times. Thankfully we are not called to persevere in our own power, but in the persevering powers of God, who is "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24). I think I can apply that to being a mom too. I am called...along with Joel...to bring my boys up in the training and instruction of the Lord. This seems like an overwhelming task, but it is a job that I don't have to do (and can't do!) in my own power, but in the persevering powers of God.
I smiled today at our last BSF for the year when I saw that the home training sheet was about the privilege of being a parent. I guess it is something the Lord is trying impress on my heart right now! There was one paragraph on seeking God's perspective in parenting and I love what these two parents had to say,
"The first thing I did when I opened my eyes each morning was to thank God that He knew everything the hours of that day held for me and then to ask Him to help me fulfill the purpose of that one day."
"I tried to think consciously of God's presence flowing through me to my children. Through me, God's own arm loved my child, protecting him, restraining him, teaching him. Through me, God's voice was speaking to my child in wisdom, in pleasure, in admonition. What a difference it made in my reactions to rely on God's power instead of resorting to my human instincts!"
(BSF International, The Acts of the Apostles 2011)
I love being a mom, but I know I don't have the strength within myself to be the kind of mom my boys need without the power of God. I am so thankful for His power at work within me!
God, our God! God the one and only!
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!
Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (The Message)