Kids & Parenting
by Shannon Mortensen
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I awoke with a feeling of joy and brewing excitement. The clock on my dresser read ｡ｧ8:30｡ｨ. Time to get moving! With a yawn and a big stretch I urged my tired, aching muscles to respond as I rolled out of my warm, cozy bed. I must awaken Bryan, as he never gets himself up on time. Today we must NOT be late to church! ｡ｧBryan, rise and shine, boy!｡ｨ I exclaim as I flip on the lights in his room. All I hear in response is a moan coming from under the covers somewhere. Being the ever tenacious mother that I am, I walked over and pulled the covers back as I said, ｡ｧGet up and get moving!｡ｨ I lingered a few more moments to make certain he was actually going to rise from the bed, before heading back to my room to begin the task of preparing for church today.
Showered, dressed, hair done and makeup complete, I swallow down my last bit of coffee as the phone rings. ｡ｧI｡ｦm here,｡ｨ my mother says over the phone. In keeping with our normal Sunday ritual, my mother had arrived to pick us up before Sunday School and praise singing time. She is early today, because she knows it is an important day for Bryan. Jeff and Makenzie will be joining us at church at eleven for the big moment, but there is Sunday School and a meeting that Bryan has to attend first. Today is the day Bryan will stand before our congregation and God and publicly profess his faith and commitment to God, Christ and our church. He will be an officially member of First Presbyterian Church of Uvalde, along with three other confirmation students from his class. My heart is full of mixed emotions as I anticipate my first born child taking the first step in what I truly believe is becoming an adult.
I get into the car with my mother and we exchange glances. She knows the thoughts that are flooding my heart and mind in a way that only a mother can know. She smiles and gives me a quick pat on the shoulder as she turns to Bryan and says, ｡ｧYou look very nice today, Bryan!｡ｨ He grins and replies with a heartfelt, ｡ｧThank you｡ｨ, as we pull away from the curb. I double check to make sure I have the video camera that I charged all night. It would be just like me to go off and forget something like that on a day like today! Confirmed｡K it｡ｦs right here on the seat beside me.
Confirmed; a big word with an even bigger meaning. Webster｡ｦs defines it in the following four ways:
1. To support or establish the certainty or validity of; verify.
2. To make firmer; strengthen
3. To make valid or binding by a formal or legal act; ratify.
4. To administer the religious rite of confirmation to.
Within the Presbyterian Church, confirmation is the time when youth:
ベ say ｡ｧyes｡ｨ to Jesus and the Christian life
ベ Consider deep issues regarding faith and life
ベ Learn what it means to be united with one another in the Body of Christ
ベ Find their place in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
ベ Discover more fully the meaning of their baptism
It is essentially the moment when they decide for themselves that they want to be a Christian and a Presbyterian and they take responsibility for their faith journey from that point onward. It｡ｦs a big step｡K an adult step. One I｡ｦm not certain that I am ready to watch my son take, and yet like a mother watching their child take their first physical step, I am also filled with great anticipation and pride.
We arrive on time, with a few moments to spare! A first for this perpetually later family! The Session is called into their meeting to question the confirmands on their knowledge and beliefs, and to decide whether or not to accept their membership into the church. I wait outside anxiously, knowing in my heart that it｡ｦs only a formality yet worried as only a mother can be. I want the day to go off without a hitch, of course. This day, Palm Sunday, confirmation Sunday, should be one filled with joyous and perfect memories. Please don｡ｦt let anything spoil it!
The time has come for the service to begin. The music fills the sanctuary with a feeling of peace and joy. The congregation members arrive with smiles and warm greetings for their fellow members. There is a definite feeling of anticipation in the air. This is the day! In one week we will be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, but today we are celebrating what that gift has given each of us｡K salvation that is ours if we only accept it by proclaiming our love and faith. Today Bryan, along with three others beside him, will openly accept that gift of grace. Today Bryan will begin his own personal walk with Jesus as he takes one more step towards adulthood. My eyes fill with tears as I recall the moment that seems only like yesterday, when I stood in this same church with a peacefully sleeping two-month old child in my arms, pledging before God and my fellow congregation members to raise my child in the ways of God and to teach him to walk humbly with the Lord. Have I kept my promise? Have I fulfilled my duties to teach him fully the love and grace of our Father? Those questions swirl in my mind as I watch my beloved child walk towards the front of the sanctuary.
The process is simple. A few basic questions about faith, commitment, trust, and personal involvement in the life of the church are asked and answered. A representative of the Session, the governing body of our church, presents a bible and offers the ｡ｧRight Hand Of Fellowship｡ｨ to the newest members of the congregation. In a few brief moments the entire event is completed (recorded of course on digital video tape). However, the results are life-long and permanent. I am filled with pride, joy, and utter gratitude that Bryan has chosen to continue his own walk with Jesus as his personal savior. Outside the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the wind is blowing lightly and God seems to be smiling down on us and saying ｡ｧWell done, my good and faithful servant.｡ｨ Inside my heart is full of joy and I have another precious memory of a major milestone in the life of my first born child. Hosanna in the highest!
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