By this point I was not looking forward to the dedication. I was crabby, I was still a little mad and I was not in the mood. We walked in to the front doors though, and the heaviness began to lift. Our church's greeters are the two sweetest men. They put a smile on my face each time I walk through the front doors to Bethel. As soon as we walked in to the sanctuary, the worship was great, and I felt so much better. Then they began to play [what I refer to as] dad's funeral theme song, His Banner Over Me is Love. I felt tears coming on and at that moment Pastor Jim motioned for us to make our way up to the front for the dedication. I thought, "oh great, just as i am trying not to cry..."
We get up front, and the entire church is standing, worshiping God, hands raised, flags waving, voices reaching up to the heavens. Pastor Jim quieted the congregation as he went right in to the dedication. We agreed to all of the statements, yes we promise to raise him up in our christian faith, yes we promise to be godly parents, etc. etc. Then, Pastor Jim took Eli in to his arms and with tears in his eyes said "Eli Gil... the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.." and went in to this sweet recognition of how the whole church is Eli's family, that we all miss dad so much, and how God took one life and gave another. it was amazing. and while Warren and Sue missed most of it, they were summoned from the back just in time to stand with us, mom, Brian, and grace up front as our family was surrounded with blessings and prayer. All while "dad's song" was quietly being played in the background. It was incredible. Many tears of sorrow and joy were wept in this beautiful moment.
It was one more monumental moment in our family's history that had occurred at that altar. The same altar I was commissioned to go to mexico at. The altar Matt and I were married at. The altar our three children had been dedicated at. The altar my father's body rested at. The altar my mother was remarried at. The same altar for so many different occasions. I did a quick search of the word "altar" and this is what popped up.
Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”
An altar is where sacrifices are made unto the Lord. I thought this verse was suitable... it is at our very own church, Bethel Christian Fellowship, that we have offered up our lives, our children, our marriages, our everything. We've offered it all up to the Lord who has been with us in great distress, and always. Tom Oestreich came up to us right afterwards and told us he had a word for us, that the Lord knows of our great loss over the last year and a half, and that He will replace what the locusts have destroyed. God is so good to us, and has placed us in a church body that cares so deeply for us. After the dedication, our pastor preached about forgiveness. Totally what Matt and I needed to hear that morning.
We grilled over at Warren and Sue's after church, and spent time with our families. God blessed us beyond belief that day. What a beautiful way to celebrate our sweet baby boy, Eli Gil.