When Jonathan got diagnosed with cancer last fall, there were a lot of unknowns. One of the biggest questions was his treatment plan. What would it look like, and how long would it last? First estimates had chemo and radiation lasting until July 2012. (As in, this very month we’re in right now.) In a matter-of-fact way I decided treatment would finish by Anna’s first birthday. I acted like I had control over the matter, even though we all know I had very little. And by God’s grace alone, treatment finished earlier than we thought! I think that’s why Anna’s birthday party and baby dedication last weekend was all the more special for us.
When Jonathan got diagnosed it broke my heart to think that Anna’s first year of life would be overshadowed by a very painful distraction. I worried the joy I felt over her arrival would disappear, or she’d feel like a burden. A child’s first year is full of so many changes. What if I was so busy worrying about him that I didn’t notice her in the ways she deserved?
I am so grateful none of my fears actually came true.
On Anna’s first birthday we can look back on the year and remember giggles and growth, snuggles and smiles. Anna’s first year of life and Jonathan’s year of cancer happened to fall at the same time but they might as well have been two entirely different lives. We separated them from each other while living fully in both. That sentence might not make sense to anyone but me, and that’s alright.
On Sunday we had Anna dedicated at church. What this means, for anyone not familiar with baby dedications, is we made a public commitment in front of our church to be intentional in raising Anna to know Jesus, His love for her, and His presence in her life. We don’t believe that just because we believe in Jesus, Anna will too. We hope and pray that she comes to know God personally….but that decision is her own to make. It’s our responsibility as parents to love her, pray for her, and teach her who Jesus is. It’s the biggest (and best!) job we’ve ever been given… and we take it very seriously!
The service on Sunday was really special in a lot of ways. The worship music prior to her ceremony felt like it had been picked perfectly for us. Several of my favorite songs and hymns were played as well as a new song I’ve really started to love: Beautiful Things by Gungor.
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
Jonathan and I each spoke and were able to thank the congregation for supporting us over the last year. We shared that we hope Anna will grow into her name, and that like Anna in the Bible, she will always know the calling God has on her life. We picked Romans 8:28 for her as a life verse:
In all things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to His purpose.
Anna, God has a mighty purpose for your life. No matter what happens in your life–the easy stuff and the hard stuff–He will use it for good.