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Last Sunday we dedicated Elijah during our morning service. It was a low-key event, this being an adult baptism kind of church, but nonetheless I managed to get all three children into matching shirts. Zion threw a raging tantrum in the morning, I forget about what, so by the time we were dressing to leave I was finished giving him options. There was none of my normal "collared shirt or t-shirt because you have self-determination," it was all "put this on and get in the car or you're not getting a bagel."

I'll bring you an apple, I offered. He whipped on that botton-down lickity split.

Oh wait, now I do remember the nature of the tantrum. He was lying on the floor yelling "Mama, Woah!" and pretending like he couldn't stand up. Whether he has a right to my attention at any given moment, he does not have the right to demand it in a rude manipulative manner. So I told him he could ask for my attention in many ways, say "Mama I want a hug" or walk over to me. But I would not reward phony helplessness, I said. I said this many times, in many different ways. In many variations of volume. He also varied his volume, Zion. At the most heated point in the argument he shouted, "I CAN'T GET UP!" and I shouted back at him, "Bullshit!"

And then I thought to myself, "Well that does no good. He doesn't even know what bullshit means!" I have to get all teachy on him and say, "Zion, when I say the word 'bullshit' it means that I don't believe you and also that I'm getting really mad."

Eventually we made it to the car. Harvey was also unhappy about something. On the ride to church I said to Dan, "It's a good thing we dedicate our children to God, because right now they're not doing much for us."

take off your shoes, it's holy ground.

In between serving bagels at kids church, running across campus to get up on stage, and running back to the classrooms to teach again, Dan and I had to answer some penetrating questions.

Do I promise to raise my children in the knowledge of God, the Father Son and Holy Spirit? Yes. Do I bless my children's relationship with God, whatever that might look like? Well, okay, I guess I have to. Do I ask for God's help in my parenting? Every single f-ing second. Okay so that's not actually true, but I wish I did - things might go better.

The truth about parenting and faith is that they're both moving targets. What works in my parenting changes from moment to moment. This is true of my relationship with God as well. I don't have any great insights into either, how to do parenting or faith exceptionally well. Just keep showing up, I guess. Keep putting the kids in the car and driving to church. No matter what it takes to get there. Even if you totally forget to bring their shoes. Show up together and eat a free bagel and see if God wants to lead you anywhere.

And welcome to Elijah, my little gift from God, and dedicated back, and given back to me again. Thanks for doing this crazy thing with us.

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