The whirlwind that has been these past few months – two children getting married, packing, helping children set up new homes, ending a pastorate, moving to another state, unpacking, the funeral of my wife’s mother, starting new work – is beginning to slow. As our world stops spinning, and we are able to reflect more, my mind goes back to those two weddings and their joy.
Last summer, our son Trevor and our daughter Lindsay both became engaged within a few weeks of each other. As they thought and discussed wedding plans with their future spouses, they concluded they wanted to get married in their home church of Sycamore before we moved. So the dates of May 25th and June 7th were set respectively. No one could have foreseen that our home would sell early, another home in Pennsylvania would open up, and our moving date would become by necessity June 13th! How intense those weeks were!
Yet how joy-filled they were as well! Like the bubbles blown and the confetti thrown that you see in the following pictures, the happy moments were abundant, though they did seem to float away too quickly. To regain and reflect on some of them, here are highlights of God’s goodness to our family.
You pray earnestly for your children’s future spouses, and God has answered in abundance those prayers. We could not be more delighted with our new daughter and son, and that they both came from families of dear, dear friends just adds to the joy. Trevor and Abby grew up in church together. Two years of separation, when Trevor was at college out-of-state, did not diminish the flame but intensified it. Lindsay visited Will when he was born – in utero, as Miriam was pregnant with her when we came to see Wade and Barb’s new baby. Though they grew up long distances apart, a providential meeting at a church family conference eventually led them down the aisle.
Weddings bring friends and family from near and far, which gives a sense of reunion to them. Our guests came from Michigan to the Carolinas, from Ireland to Colorado. Certainly a reminder that “they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29).
I had the privilege of preaching Trevor & Abby’s wedding message, and spoke from the text in the Song of Songs, “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me” (7:10). I explained how Iain Campbell has pointed out that a change takes place in this book in the bride’s perspective. The bride begins by saying, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (2:16). She emphasizes first her possession of him. Then in the midst of the book, she says, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (6:3). She is now emphasizing his possession of her. By the end of the book she says, “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me.” Her experience of love has moved and grown, from concern over her experience, desires, and possessions to satisfaction alone in her groom’s delighted possession of her. That’s the way of the Christian life. We start off emphasizing, “Christ is mine,and I am His” but then grow toward the gracious realization that “I am Christ’s, and He delights in me.” I have no doubt that these two will both exhibit that gracious truth by their marriage and grow in it throughout their marriage.
Nothing can prepare one for walking his sweet daughter down the aisle. Joy, sadness, thankfulness, and wonder were all bubbling up within as I took her to Will. Like a few raindrops on a sunny day, I teared up a bit then thought I had it under control. But later, when leading her through the vows, her joy and sense of awe caused tears to well and her voice to quake. Same thing happened to Dad.
When Joe brought his daughter down the aisle, the time came when I asked if he was willing to give Abby away. Yet I prefaced it, “Joe, this is the fourth time I have had to ask you this question.” One small consolation is at least I will not have to go through this that many times.
Will & Lindsay danced their first dance to J.J. Heller’s “Tonight” which you can hear below. Written for such an occasion, it made for an unforgettably beautiful moment.
Their grandmother, Lieschen, made it from Michigan to the first wedding despite her battle with ALS. But the illness that recently took her life had progressed too far after the first trip and prevented her from making it to Lindsay’s special day. We had to help Lindsay dry some pre-wedding tears that morning after talking to her beloved grandparents on the phone. Thankfully, on the way home from their honeymoon in Michigan, Will and Lindsay were able to stop and visit with her one last time.
Lieschen wanted to wear the dress she had worn to her daughter’s wedding for Lindsay’s special day, and one day surprised Ron by asking to have their picture taken together with her wearing it. She wanted Lindsay to know she had been with them in spirit and to have a final picture made with Dad (this month would have been their 58th anniversary). Even in the picture below you can see her spirit shine through despite the illness.
All of this reminds me of Revelation 19:7-8, which says:
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Unlike this world’s bubbles and confetti, that wedding feast will last and every tear will be wiped away.