I’ve been trying to process all that transpired with the two weddings of our daughters, Rachel and Ginny within two weeks of each other. So many of you have asked about them and have taken an interest in our family in this regard and we are thankful for your thoughts and prayers as we’ve walked through this joyous time of celebration. I suppose since I got to experience two weddings as both the bride’s father and a Pastor officiating these weddings, I have a unique perspective, at least related to these weddings.
First as a father giving his daughter(s) away to the care of another. It is hard to quantify all the emotions you have as you give your daughter away. You are extremely happy for your little girl, you’re in shock that she’s this grown woman decked out in this amazing white dress, you’re having flashbacks to when you held her in your arms for the very first time mere seconds after she was born, fast-forwarding through all your memories of her and there she is standing at the door to the sanctuary with a beautiful smile, gripping your arm, ready to go meet the love of her life and she says “I love you daddy” – how I did not become a total pile of soggy mush is a testimony to the grace of God. For Cheryl and I, it has been an emotional time and now a few weeks afterwards, it has begun to settle in on us that it is always going to be different with our family with the addition of a new son in-law. Now don’t get me wrong, God has blessed us with great son in-laws or more accurately “sons in-love”. These young men love Jesus and it is evident by the fruit in their lives, but it’s kind of strange because we now have his family to consider as we make plans. Welcome to the family Thomas & Stephen; Cheryl and I are blessed to have you and we’re excited for you. We’ve spent a lifetime providing for these young ladies and being their spiritual leaders; but they are now your responsibility. As you know they are delicate treasures God has entrusted to you so be a good steward of the wife God has blessed you with. The fabric of your lives as God knits you together and as you face the struggles of life will be a beautiful tapestry sewn together by the fiber of God’s love. Your lives will be sweeter because you have each other and as you each grow closer to our Lord Jesus, you’ll grow closer to each other. I’ve told “the kids”, meaning my newly married daughters and my new sons in-law that I’ve never been in this position before so I’ll need their patience as I learn to adjust to this new chapter of life. Knowing what a blessing our marriage has been to Cheryl and I, we are thrilled for you all. As a husband to Cheryl now for 24 years, I can tell you I love her more now than I did on my wedding day because of the “stuff” we’ve been through together. Welcome to the adventure.
Secondly, as the Pastor overseeing these weddings, I thought both of them were marvelous worship services celebrating the God who established and ordained marriage. All of the symbolism, and spiritual impact of these weddings was an incredible thing to witness. To see two couples, both of which had made commitments to sexual purity before their wedding day united in Holy Matrimony was truly special. Both of our daughters had been through “True Love Waits” as teenagers and they kept their vows to purity and I know their husbands had made these commitments also. In the day and age we live in, with sexual promiscuity rampant, temptations galore and the old devil lurking in the shadows to steal their virginity away from them, it was so incredible to know that they had waited. Their weddings were clean and pure, they were Holy which remind me of the Holy God that we love and serve. My how Heaven must have rejoiced on these special days. Thanks kids for being such an incredible example that true love really does wait. Thanks for staying true to your convictions, for enduring ridicule, questions and all the strange looks you got through your teenage years, even from church people who thought what you were doing was weird. It was humbling to me that I got to officiate your special days as a pastor. I’ll never forget them and these weddings will profoundly shape how I help couples plan their weddings in the future. It was unique in Rachel and Thomas’s wedding to work alongside Thomas’s dad who is a pastor also. What a rare privilege to co-officiate a wedding with a wonderful man of God. Thomas had always dreamed of his dad performing his wedding, Rachel had dreamed of her dad performing her wedding, and I know Wayne was as thrilled as I was to perform this ceremony together. It was blessing to work in Ginny’s wedding with my own father, a minister of the gospel, who has taught me more about faithfulness and encouragement than he’ll ever know. It was a blessing to have dad greet us and help me give Ginny to Stephen. Praise be to the Lord who orchestrated our messages and put them together for an amazing message on the sacredness of marriage in each wedding.
Finally, the Gospel message of salvation and redemption was proclaimed to all those present and what was special is that Jesus Christ was glorified and celebrated throughout both of these weddings. Jesus’ atoning death on the cross made it possible to reclaim what was destroyed by the first married couple, Adam & Eve who chose to rebel against God’s will by substituting their own selfish will. For these couples, for me as a Pastor, and I believe for the believers who were present and paying attention, we were all reminded that we’re trophies of God’s grace because the penalty of sin had been paid. To see these young lives united together and begin a new journey with the Lord who bought them back from the scourge of sin just helped me appreciate the grace of God even more. Knowing my personal bent to selfishness, the fact I’m a depraved sinner apart from the grace of God, and to know where I’ve been and to be standing there as a minister of the Gospel, observing God’s plan of redemption played out in a real life practical way; oh how it made me long for the day, the Bride of Christ meets her Savior Jesus Christ face to face. As a great as these weddings were, they are but a frail representation of what Jesus Christ has planned for us who love Him as Savior and Lord. Now that marriage is one you don’t want to miss, Jesus has invited you, the provision has been made, all you must do is accept His proposal to you by faith.
Just a few thoughts from my little corner to yours….
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church