"For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." 2 Ti 1:12
I have heard my mother tell the story time and again of how she "gave me to the Lord to raise", but this time, when she shared the story as we stood with my three children directly in front of the church where she "gave me" it affected me entirely differently.
My brother and I were both born in Williamsburg, Virginia during the time that my father was attending William and Mary Law School. Although my mother had grown up attending church, she says that it was not until she was 24 years old that she truly found her personal relationship with God. She says that up until that point her faith was not her own; she was sort of "riding on" the faith of her parents and grandparents before them.
At any rate, while my mother, my children and I were visiting Williamsburg this past week, touring around for our own homeschool adventures - from Richmond to Jamestown, Williamsburg to Norfolk and back to PA again, we all learned an enormous amount. I had planned on Cole and I learning about American history, but learning about how my own life fit into American history was not something I had planned.
My mother said, "Nanna Zehner always told me to give my children immediately to the Lord right after birth. She told us not to waste anytime. I wasn't attending church when Bobby was born and I wasn't attending church when you were born either. But because I was so afraid to raise a little girl, I took my grandmother Nanna Zehner's advice just after you were born and immediately after coming home from the hospital, I bundled you and Bobby up very warmly (Nov. 19th I was born) and I brought you straight here - to Bruton Parish Church. I went in and knelt down and gave you to the Lord. I told the Lord I didn't know how to raise a little girl, so I asked HIm to raise you. I gave my children to the Lord as Nanna Zehner told me to do and I am so glad that I did"
Truth be told, I have heard this story probably a hundred times from my mother before. As a matter of fact, just about every time my mother would witness God do something in my life, through my life, or anywhere near or associated with my life, she almost always referenced that she is not responsible for these blessings because she had given me to the Lord that day in that church in Williamsburg. She would say, 'I knew I could not raise you, I was so afraid, so I gave you to God to raise for me."
She always seemed to act as if God was in charge of me and she was just along for the ride - as if viewing as a witness to God's directing all the while. As far as I can recall she has never sought to take credit for any of the good that has happened in or around my life. And whenever I or someone else would try to give her some sort of credit, she would tell me the story of "giving [me] to God to raise at Bruton Parish Church."
But last week, as I stood in front of that church, finally putting together the name of the church which she had always referenced, "Bruton Parish Church" and those things which Cole and I had been studying in his homeschool unit on Williamsburg and the revolution, I realized that my precious mother had been led by God not to any old nearby church, but to one of the absolute oldest and most interesting churches in our history. The 1660 church of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, and George Mason to name a few parishoners of the church.
Bruton Parish church had been used as a hospital during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. It was the destination of George Washington's walk calling upon the people of Williamsburg to a week of fasting, prayer and humiliation in recognition of the hardships being faced by their countrymen in Massachussettes at the start of the Revolutionary war. This was not any old church. This was far more than JUST the church where mom "gave me to the Lord." Why hadn't she made a big deal of that part I wondered. But then I realized.....
As I stood there in that church looking at the names of our nation's founding fathers engraved on the sides of each the pews where they sat and knowing that I was standing on Hallowed ground because of what took place so many years before, I also realized why my mom's story only involved herself, God, and us; because for my mom something just as holy had taken place. And I believe that to God what my mom did that day in Bruton Parish Church was just as holy and honorable as anything else that had transpired there before that day.....She gave to God all that she had - she gave up and gave it all - my mother had surrendered her children, entrusted their lives and their keeping to the Lord - she had come to the end of herself and then unto the Lord she had truly surrendered ALL! We can only give up what God has first given to us. He only requires from us that which He has first given to us. And when we give it all back to him for his safe keeping, we soon find, as my mother often testifies, that He is able to keep that which we have entrusted to Him until that Day.