Clarissa’s dedication and first birthday party

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I was already in love with my church. Clarissa’s dedication made me appreciate the leadership even more.

We had been waiting to dedicate Clarissa until both sets of grandparents were in town. My parents live here so that wasn’t a problem. Tim’s parents live in Pennsylvania and were planning to come for Clarissa’s first birthday. That was when I found out that Forefront usually does one baby dedication service per year in October. But, because they are awesome, the lead pastor and family pastor were willing to come to the house to do a private ceremony as part of Clarissa’s birthday party!

The week before, the family pastor emailed me three mp3s of parent talks. The talks were about thirty minutes total. Each one was well worth listening to. Each talk was different, but important. One talked about who you wanted your child to become. Not about what what profession you thought they should choose, but about character traits and who you think God created them to be. Another was about family life and the third was about our marriage. I am thankful that our church does a really good job of equipping parents to disciple their children.

We dedicated Clarissa outside on the deck. There was a nice breeze. It was beautiful. The family pastor talked about the significance of dedicating your child to the Lord and how a baby dedication is really more about the parents than the child. Then, I got to speak about Clarissa. What Tim and I see in her. Our goal for her is really just to be who God created her to be. Even if that looks different from what all of the other families are doing. We know that Clarissa was created for a purpose and that God has a huge calling on her life. After that, everyone laid hands on Tim and I and the lead pastor prayed over us. That we would seek God and raise Clarissa well. I really enjoyed it.

SONY DSCAfter the dedication, we had a cookout. Clarissa opened her presents. Or rather, I opened Clarissa’s presents and she played with the wrapping paper. We are so blessed with family who love us well and want to give Clarissa things she needs as well as fun things to play with.

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Then, Clarissa ate her first cupcake. The cupcake fell apart really easily. She had a great time playing with it and making a mess. She didn’t realize at first that she was supposed to eat it! Once I put a small piece in her mouth, she got the biggest smile on her face and started shoving pieces into her mouth. She loved it!

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Coincidence or warfare?

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I believe in a spiritual realm. Ephesians 6 talks about putting on the Full Armor of God because our battle is not against flesh and blood,  but against spiritual things.

I am not one who says that every bad thing that happens is a spiritual attack. But if there is a string of crazy things I begin to wonder.

We are dedicating Clarissa tomorrow. I think it’s a pretty big deal. We get to publicly declare that we believe God has a plan for our baby girl. And as her parents, we fully intend to help her seek God and His calling on her life. We are going to do our very best to make sure that she becomes who God created her to be. Even if it looks different than other families. Even if our decisions are not popular. Clarissa belongs to God. The Holy Spirit is going to help her do big things for Jesus. When I was 10 weeks pregnant with her, God told me that she would be a little girl with great faith. That is why we named her Clarissa Faith, because it means brilliant faith.

We have been waiting to dedicate her until all of the grandparents were in town. The enemy has tried hard to prevent all of the family from getting her for this special day. One family member has had some health issues over the past week and is not allowed to drive right now. Tim’s parents had a tire blow out on the way here, got stuck in traffic, and then are unable to stay at their hotel because of an allergic reaction. Even the cupcakes are falling apart!

When you know who you are in Christ, it makes the enemy nervous. Clarissa must be pretty important if there is this much warfare surrounding her dedication. I don’t know yet all that God has called Clarissa or our family to. But I am excited to watch it play out. In the meantime, we will be trusting God to teach us what we need to know. We have our armor ready. But we already know who wins!