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May 8, 2013
On Palm Sunday, my son walked to the altar of our church and participated in the Sacrament of Confirmation. This important Rite of Initiation into the Christian church was the culmination of his participation in a two-year study program to learn what it means to be a Christian. His decision to accept the Trinity – God our Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit – marked an incredible, proud, and appreciative moment for me as a parent. When my son took his vows of faith, I knew it was the most important decision this young man would forever make in his life. As his mother, I knew I could do nothing more for him the rest of my life that would be more important than this promise he made that day.
A little over 14 years ago, this young man entered our lives. God blessed us as parents again. However, it was not an easy pregnancy. I was bedridden most of the pregnancy term. During this pregnancy, my husband and I traveled often to the medical facilities including a few trips to the Emergency Room. I prayed for a healthy son. Finally, my son made it. My doctor had to induce labor and my son was born premature. I shall never forget his ashen face in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) struggling to breathe after his birth. My Mom and Dad came shortly after his birth to visit him in the NICU. Dressed in their masks and scrubs, they wondered as well as I did if he was going to make it. They were holding each other’s arms tightly, leaning against each other – supporting one another. Dad echoed so eloquently the dire situation we all were facing that day. He naively and openly stated his feelings without thinking – “Doris –is he going to make it? Doris – is he going to make it?” It was a stressful time. However, leave it to my parents to bring humor to the situation. Mom responded in a strong whisper, “Be still Charley!” Be still Charley” It was reality. Their conversation reflected how my son was hanging on to his life. All I could do was pray and leave it in God’s hands. God knew what He was doing. If God called my son home, I knew that He needed him more than I did. I had to accept His will in whatever life He chose for this child. For me, I am glad God’s plan allowed this premature baby to grow and prosper into a healthy, bright, and vibrant young man. His life has a purpose here in this world and we as parents have enjoyed the ride so far.
Now – 14 years later, this young man who struggled to make it in his first few weeks of life, along with his fellow Confirmands (a person who is going through the Rite of Confirmation) were standing and presenting their Statement of Faiths to our church’s congregation. (A Statement of Faith is a small 4-5 minute speech in which each Confirmand explains to the congregation (witnesses) why they are ready to build their individual faith with God and personally accept their relationship with Him.) Each of the Confirmands including my son confidently expressed their faith and why they were ready to be confirmed. I along with the rest of the parents and congregation were very proud and honored as they spoke.
As I reflect back into my past, I remember my Confirmation, which occurred several years ago. I was also 14 years of age. I remember it vividly. It changed my life. Just like my son, I accepted the Trinity, made my Presentation to the Congregation, received my Rites of Confirmation, and was blessed with a Confirmation Bible Verse.
The only difference between his and my Rites of Confirmation was his minister assigned his Confirmation Bible Verse whereas my minister gave me the task to choose my Confirmation Bible Verse. I still remember the verse. It is from Ephesians 4:32. It states, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.” I remember I chose this verse because when I do wrong, I wish forgiveness. It also didn’t hurt me to be kind to other people as well. To this day, my relationship with God is very important in my daily life. Only God and I truly know what is in my heart. He is my Father.
Often people are afraid to come to God and open their hearts to him. We are afraid God will be disappointed in our imperfections and therefore be disappointed in us. However, one has to realize that God knows all about us whether we acknowledge Him or not. We cannot hide our thoughts and actions from Him. Even though I try my darnedest, I still mess up in my relationships and actions. Nevertheless, God’s keeps on loving me and forgiving me. He is a forgiving and loving God. He loves his children – us. He allows us to be forgiven of our mistakes, wipes our slates clean, and allows us to try again. Isn’t it wonderful?!
When my son was a baby, we practiced another Christian Sacrament – Baptism. Just as my parents did for me as a baby, we baptized our son promising to practice and teach him about the Christian Faith. During his Baptism, we chose to have special witnesses called Godparents to help us with this promise. It was our responsibility as parents and Godparents to fulfill and complete this promise until this young boy was mature enough to make this commitment (Confirmation) himself.
Now, fourteen years have come and gone. During these years, we had lots of joys and fun times in our lives. However, our family’s faith was sucker punched many times over that period too. We lost several family members. We had serious illnesses. We lost grandchildren. We had family spats. But, most of all we had Faith and Love from God. We made it through these obstacles from our supportive family and friends – but most importantly God. Now, Confirmation -this unique passage in life – was culminating for my youngest son on Palm Sunday.
So, I walked to the Alter and laid my hand on top of my son’s shoulder. The ministers then performed the Rite of Confirmation to my son. It was a golden moment for me and a bucket list item marked complete. It was the closing of one chapter and an opening of another in my life and in my son’s life. Although, my late parents, brother, and several of my close relatives were not physically there, we were all closer than ever before. Although, my relatives marched a little faster than we have, I know now that we all will be together again someday. It was an awesome day!
Thus, for all the Confirmands – I want to leave you with a final thought. Remember your Vows and rely on your Faith in God. Life will give you plenty of obstacles and difficulties as well as fun times. Remember God through the good and the bad. God will lead you and take care of you even when you think He is not. God never leaves you! Ever! Remember that!! Congratulations, Confirmands!
Furthermore, I would like to add one more thought. At this point in my life, all of our children have completed their Rite of Confirmation. Let me say to all of you – job well done, I am proud of you, and I love you. God Bless! March Forth children, March Forth!
And, as Always, MARCH FORTH!
Marci A. Schmitt
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