Just a few short weeks ago, I had the incredible privilege to see my first-born marry the love of his life. I had been asked to be present a year prior for the proposal. My son had orchestrated a scavenger hunt, sending his soon to be fiancé, on a trip to each special place in their dating life – from the place they first met, to the place they had their first date. Each place had a family member waiting for her with a white rose and a clue for the next meeting place.
At the end of the hunt was my son, with a bouquet of flowers and a ring for this incredible woman God brought into his life. Along with other immediate family, I was given the gift of hearing and seeing him ask her to marry him. What a joy it was to be present for this proposal.
That was one of the happiest days of my life. When my son spoke those seven words, I not only gained a daughter, I welcomed her and gave her the number one place in his life and I gave her my son. He isn’t perfect. But, he has one of the biggest, kindest, and most genuine hearts of anyone I know! And boy does he love her! And truly, the same can be said of her. What a beautiful person she is inside and out. As a parent, don't we feel joy unspeakable to see our children happy? We know though that difficulties will come in one form or another because we live in a fallen world.
I remember something I heard on a Christian radio station years ago, and it stuck with me. They said, “with every birthday or passing year – you let go of your child a little more. You give them a little more responsibility and a little more room – so that they will be ready … and you will be ready when they leave the nest.”
I always thought that was such good instruction. We are given these tiny babes to nurture, love and eventually let go. But what a joy it is to see them fly! I have three children, but the one that married is my first born son. I was harder on him and more protective of him. Unfortunately, I learned how to parent with him, so despite my efforts; I sure didn’t do things perfectly. But one thing I did do was pray for this woman who is now his precious wife. What a joy and what a blessing that I now get to know and love another daughter. I am so thankful to God for her.
I have never felt like I was losing a son. Rather, I feel that I am gaining another daughter and a whole other family of amazing people to love. So, it is with great joy and no hesitation that I say to her, “It is my privilege to welcome you into our family, as the wife of my son, as the first-lady in his life, and as my precious daughter.”
Since the day my son called me to tell me about this sweet girl he met … I knew she was the one! My children always had their friends over as they were growing up. I loved listening to them and feeding them, laughing with them and giving them encouragement when they needed it. I loved getting to know them.
I always felt God was filling our home with the joy of love and laughter. From the time my children were little though, I started telling them, “I love you more than you can imagine!” I think it became almost like a hello in their ears because they would answer back, "Yea, I love you too mom." But in those difficult times ... when they felt like giving up or they were hurting, it meant more than that to them. Despite my flaws, which are many and my imperfections, I pray that they know this one truth. They are loved.
As I reflect on the wedding and the beauty of it all, I felt so much joy that God has multiplied my family and given me more people to love! God far exceeds all my hopes and dreams. Because no one is perfect, my son and daughter-in-law will fail one another. But, they have family and friends who pledge to encourage their love and unity throughout good times and bad. They have the support and prayers of those surrounding them. And, they have a strong relationship with Christ which will guide them as one.
So what blessing can I impart to them? I pray that every day, God will remind them of the love they pledged to one another on their beautiful wedding day -- always remembering that even though we cannot always love perfectly, there is One who does. It is my prayer and blessing that their marriage and relationship be a beautiful example of the perfect love of Christ.
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.21