When I left the LDS church last year, it wasn't abrupt and it wasn't out of hate and I feel like I need to express that second part over and over again when in reality, I don't actually have to explain myself---I choose to.
Hayley was 7.5 at the time and I was super panicky about her baptism age approaching and how this change would affect her. I wanted her to have her normal routine---and so I kept going to LDS church on the Sundays I had my kids. And then when I stopped going altogether, she went with my best friend's family for a while.
But she was 7 and her testimony was more cemented in her parents faith than her own---as it is with the majority of our children.
I left the baptism choice up to her and she went back and forth with it.
She came to the conclusion a few months ago that she wasn't ready but asked if I'd buy her a big white dress as a birthday present because she didn't want to miss out on that present.
I spent the majority of my nights in April praying over and over that she would be able to feel loved and included and special when it came time for her big 8th birthday. I asked God what I could do to take the pressure of baptism off of her shoulders and I firmly believe that He followed through and answered that prayer because shortly after, my church advertised child dedications that would be happening on Mother's Day 2016.
I felt very strongly that this was a gift from God to us because instead of putting the pressure on Hayley, the dedication puts a healthy amount of pressure on me.
If you're not familiar with dedications in a Christian church:
"Child dedication is not a sacrament like baptism or communion—you won’t find instructions for it anywhere in the New Testament. There’s nothing magical about it—it doesn’t save your child or guarantee that they will eventually come to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, child dedication can serve as a powerful moment, for both family and church, as both parties commit to working together to raise the child in a way that honors God." source
So on May 8th, 2016, I made a promise to raise Hayley and Andersen with a knowledge of who their Heavenly Father is. All of the vows had meaning and were important but my favorite was #4:
"Do you dedicate yourself to raise your children with biblical love, instruction and discipline? Will you take every opportunity that life gives you to diligently teach your children to love the Lord Jesus and observe all that he commanded, knowing that your primary responsibility as a parent is to train your child to be Jesus’ disciple?"
Friends, it was a beautiful day and we were so thankful to the people in our lives who came and supported Hayley and Andersen. In fact, I'm just so grateful for everyone who supports and loves Hayley and Andersen!
And with that explanation out of the way, I need to acknowledge the fact that I HAVE AN EIGHT YEAR OLD CHILD!!!!!!!!!
She is very responsible and gorgeous and happy and compassionate, among SO MANY OTHER amazing qualities.
I am so lucky that God blessed me as the mother of this darling girl forever and ever. She is one of a kind and anyone that knows her knows it.