I am always just so blown away by the fact that God believes in me so much that He has entrusted some of His kids (Ezra and Mercy) to me! I look at being a dad as one of the greatest responsibilities that I have. I really believe that in a home, outside of the husband/wife relationship, the relationship a dad has with his daughter is the next most important relationship in the home. It's not to "short change" the father/son relationship at all, it's just to show the vital impact and influence a dad has on his daughter. We have decided to always have a first birthday/dedication for our kids. We did this with Mercy last week. It was our time to celebrate but also to make some commitments before God on how we will raise her. Carol and I both wrote vows on how we will strive to raise Mercy. Here are mine:
1. Carol, you are and always will be the most important woman in my life. I know I'm not perfect and I'm in no way above anything, but with God's help and through His strength we will ALWAYS be together providing a safe, stable, and secure home for our family. I will do my best to love you and honor you and cherish you and, in so doing, will show Mercy that she deserves nothing less than to be loved and honored and cherished.
2. Mercy, men unfortunately have, through their sinfulness, often used their strength and masculinity to hold women back. I will do my best to teach you that you are strong and you are capable and you, as a woman, are the ESSENTIAL compliment to a man.
3. Mercy, I will NOT take the place of God in your life. I will mess up and I will make mistakes. When I do, I will swallow my pride and apologize and, through the times that I let you down, I will hopefully point you to a Heavenly Father who will NEVER fail you or let you down.
4. Mercy, your first thoughts about who God is will come from me ... how I act, how I treat you, how I respond to others. I want my life to give you a clear picture of who God is so I will do my best to become more like Jesus in everything I do.
5. Mercy, I will study you and know you and discover the ways you most feel loved. I will then love you in those ways.
6. Mercy, I will date you often and on our dates I will show you how you deserve to be treated by a man.
7. We named you Mercy for two reasons: (1) There is a world in need and when you were born our hearts were being broken for the poor and oppressed. I will show you that we have a God-given responsibility to help people. We are blessed so we can bless others. (2) According to doctors, after my chemotherapy treatments I would most likely be infertile. You really aren't supposed to be here, but here we are, one year later, and every day you have been a picture of God's mercy in our lives. My prayer for you is that you will ALWAYS be a picture of God's mercy to others and that your influence and impact on other people will bring many to Jesus Christ.
We then spent time praying over Mercy and committing her, us, and our lives to God. We annointed her with oil and then joined in prayer over her. It was a very special time.
Then it was time for cake. :) We must not be very good singers, though, because Mercy cried while we sang Happy Birthday to her.
But, nothing takes the tears away like cake. She LOVED it!
Two BONUS vows for Mercy:
- I promise to destroy any boy who tries to date you before you turn 16.
- I promise to only hurt any boy who tries to date you after you turn 16. :)