|Isn't she gorgeous???|
This much-anticipated event warranted visits from my parents (Barbara & Ken), my sister (Gillian), niece (Sophia) and brother (Will).
Gillian and Will are Hayley's godparents, so it was extra important that they come and celebrate her transition into a validated church "adult". And Grandma and Grandad? They're such huge parts of our lives that it was absolutely imperative that they come. (Even though they were here just two weeks ago! LOL)
During the service this morning, Hayley and the other eight confirmands had to read their faith statements in front of the congregation. What fun it was to listen their stories, how each one of them has internalized Jesus.
Hayley's statement almost brought me to tears. Here's the video... And just in case the sound quality isn't up to par, I'm including her text below.
So many things have made up my faith life so far. Not only people, but events and so much more. One of the people who has helped and guided me is my dad; he leads by example, which is what I want to do. Whenever we pass by somebody on the street who is cold or homeless, he gives them some extra change or stops and prays for them. Once he gave his favorite pair of gloves to a man who was freezing in the snow. I felt bad for my dad, you know, losing his gloves and all and then I felt bad for not being happy for the person who wasn’t cold anymore. Same with giving to the poor, like donating to Good Will. I always feel sad when we give away things with memories attached and then I remember what God wants us to do: He wants us to share and to give and to feel good about it. This is a struggle for me sometimes, which makes it hard having parents who are so amazing at giving.
My mom is also very influential in my faith life. I can have conversations with her about God and how others treat Him and the difference between what we believe and what others do. They are really in depth. It’s easy to see some things when she explains it the first time and sometimes I have no clue and so we talk about it. Sometimes, well every time really, we bunny trail away, going in all sorts of directions that teach me new things and that make me look at life in a different way. When I received my first communion, she wrote in the cover of my Bible. “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” This was an easy-to understand version of Galatians 6:9 which says, “So let us not be tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we reap the harvest.”
I think about this a lot. God is pleased when we do good works and will reward us when we get to Heaven. My favorite thing my mom has done that really reminds me of this was when she adopted our elderly neighbor as sort of a second mother. So, even if she isn’t my real grandmother, she feels like one. My mom took care of her from before we even moved in to the day we moved out. In return, she took care of us too. And even though we live two states away now, my mom was talking to her on the phone when I wrote this.
Looking at my mom and dad, who are always giving and caring, I see real life examples of what it really means to do good, even when it’s not easy or convenient. In return, I see them being given to and cared for by other people. What goes around really does come around.
The other day in confirmation class, Pastor Bohdan talked about Jesus’ death and resurrection. He said that Jesus died for us—somebody died in our place. It really made me think about what Jesus means to me. I had never thought about it like that. It really put what He did into perspective.
To me, Jesus is like a best friend. Somebody who I can not only rely on but who I can talk to. I like how when you pray, it’s not like talking, where you get an immediate response in words. It really feels like He listens. You can ask a best friend for help and you can thank a best friend and isn’t that exactly what you should do with Jesus?
The first time I really came to realize what He means to me was at the Rock and Worship Road Show 2010. The Rock and Worship Road Show is a concert where a bunch of Christian bands get together and put on an amazing concert. I don’t remember what exactly happened that made me realize how much God means to me—it might have been the event as a whole. I loved how so many Christians can come together and just sing. And pray. So many people praising one God. Our God. It was amazing.
In my church life, I hope to be just like my parents, helping and caring and following Christ so fully. I also want to be an example to anybody who will watch, like giving money to the poor, or buying coffee for the person behind me. Maybe I’ll even save the rainforest! I don’t know how many people have told me that actions speak louder than words. I intend to prove them right. I know that with the help and support of not only my family, but my friends too, I can spread God’s love and make the world a better place—one tree, one smile, one kindness, one prayer at a time.
You tearing up yet? *sniff sniff*
And here's the gang...
|Emma, Hayley and Sophia|
|Barbara, Ken and Hayley|
|Hayley when she saw the flowers Scott and I gave her!|
|Aunt Gillian and Hayley|
|Emma, Me and Hayley|
|Scott, Me, Hayley, Will, Emma, Ken, Sophia, Barbara, Gillian|
|Will and Hayley|
|Scott and Hayley|
I'm so proud of my girl. But you couldn't tell, could ya?