A few pictures to get you through this post:)
Momma and Simeon at our favorite bakery, Great Harvest
Sweet boy taking a nap, we don't have many sleeping pictures because he's not a great sleeper and I usually don't want to chance waking him up!
I have had this post on my mind for quite some time. When we were in our marriage counseling our spiritual father and pastor Father John told us that in marriage we should be helping each other along the path to salvation. What a beautiful image that is. And honestly in the early days this wasn't always easy. I certainly have plenty of rough edges that need sanding down, and becoming more selfless and growing closer to God isn't always painless. I am so fortunate to have a wonderful, faithful, God-loving husband. He is such of a hard worker, he rarely takes time out for himself. He is always working hard for his family, or the church.
I did do some spiritual reading while pregnant about raising a child in the Orthodox church. And we are very fortunate that we belong to a church where so many experiences can be shared with our children. There are things going on in the services that involve all of the senses. Sight, the beautiful icons- depictions of the saints, Mary, and Jesus that we reverence by kissing or touching. Simeon loves to kiss icons too, what better way to teach him about our Lord and those Christians that have fought the good fight before us. We hear the prayers and beautiful chanting during services. Simeon's grandmother and godfather are in the choir, so he particularly enjoys watching them sing. Smell the incense in the censor, which Simeon also loves to watch and listen to the bells on the censor. Touch, we make the sign of the Cross often during the services and touch the priests garments as they process while carrying the holy gifts. And taste, we allow children as soon as they are baptized and chrismated to partake of Communion.
I had seen other children in church and was looking forward to teaching him about God through our Orthodox worship services. Oh my goodness I just didn't realize what a challenge just surviving the services would be. It has been worth it though and teaching Simeon about our faith has drawn me closer to God. Having a child and trying to raise him right has been the most challenging thing I have ever done. You can be a "nice" person to most people, but trying to be loving and patient to a sometimes demanding little person who keeps you up at night and is constantly in need is very challenging. I definitely feel like I'm growing closer to God and becoming more selfless.
Father John also told us that children are closer to God. Simeon has always had an affinity for his guardian angel icon. And in the morning he will often go to the prayer corner and want to pray. Now he is done about one sentence in, but I am trying to nurture the seed that God planted in him. It's a good thing I have our church "village" to help me, because on my own I don't have the strength.