It’s been just one week since my nephew got married. I’ve attended quite a few weddings in my life, but to be honest, this was probably one of the most God centered. It was as if Jesus himself was sitting in the first row, smiling upon this holy union, a covenant made in His authority and for the glory of God.
It was a simple wedding, with delicate touches. And, as I reflect upon it, I think that simplicity helped not detract our attention from who this marriage was really about. It was about God. In the beginning God created man, and felt man should not be alone. From man’s rib he created woman. He breathed life into them. Joining them in the first marriage, a holy covenant not just between man and woman… but GOD, man and woman.
His importance in their lives and in this wedding was evident from the vows (which included biblical submission, the correct full version)… to the couple’s decision to celebrate holy communion together…. and even into the reception as they bound a cord of three threads. It was felt in the very air around them, God was present. He wasn’t just on the guest list… he was the guest of honor. In fact, God had planned this wedding before a ring was on her finger, before they first time they spoke the words “hello”, even before bride and groom were taking their first steps holding onto their parents hands.
When they were engaged, my sister had shared with me that she has always prayed for her children’s future spouses. Since they were babies, this was part of my sisters prayer life. Little did she know the plans God had in store for her son, joining our family to one that not only amazing…. but as I have said numerous time, a family that feels like they have been here all along. We just couldn’t see them yet. Like distant relatives, you have been waiting your whole life in anticipation to meet.
When the hustle and bustle of wedding day was over, when the family had recuperated from the festivities… I began to feel pretty down. Not about the wedding or this fantastic couple, but instead it was a conviction in my heart about my own family. I sat in awe of this beautiful godly woman. I knew in my heart that a large part of who she is was rooted in the parents who raised her. As I looked to my own children, I felt like a failure.
I wondered, would God be such an important part of my own daughter’s wedding? Had I dropped the ball on stressing the importance of that. Then I felt conviction over every Sunday that I allowed her to stay home from church because she was tired, or I was tired of fighting to get everyone out of the house on time. I felt conviction that I hadn’t stressed more the importance of finding not just a man who believes in God, but a strong believer who would lead the family. My sister had definitely accomplished that with her son.
One evening, several days after the wedding, I was having a conversation with my eldest daughter. First, I want to acknowledge that I am very grateful for the relationship I have with my daughter. We speak about things that can, at times, be uncomfortable. However, her candidness and honesty speaks volumes to the amount of trust she has in me. You see, there is a very special guy in her life. They speak of their future together. His grandmother already refers to her as her granddaughter. They are making plans, having conversations about marriage. When to get engaged. When to get married. When to start having kids. What they want to do between those steps.
Since my husband was unable to attend the wedding with us, her boyfriend came in his stead. Which of course, brought wedding thoughts to her head. So, we began talking. I was asking her questions about the wedding, specifically about what details she really liked. I replied with a few things that caught my attention. Then, I got quiet. I turned away from her, I quietly said “I feel like I have failed you”.
This of course caught her off guard, and she asked me to repeat myself. I turned back toward her, and said it again. “I feel like I have failed you.” She looked puzzled. I explained all of my thoughts. My conviction about letting her skip out on church. My conviction that I hadn’t infused God into her life more. I told her that I knew as a mom, my job was to shape my daughters to love God and make him central in their lives…. just like this beautiful bride.
She looked me in the face, with a big smile beaming and said … “Mom, I”m only fifteen.”
Yes, you dear sweet child, you are only fifteen.
My life mantra is that each day is a new chance to be better, to do better, to get it right.
In such few words, she expressed a lot. There was wisdom and hope in those words. There was no lack of rebellion or disinterest. There was love and compassion.
There is hope for me yet.