My first post on this blog was right after the engagement of my daughter. This past weekend, she was married. As the father of the bride, I’ve given myself a couple days to reflect on this new stage of life (as much for me as for her) and try to process some of the emotions I’ve been experiencing.
Things that surprised me…Father of the Bride - I have either sung or officiated at about 350 weddings (in fact, I think I’ve only “attended” about 3 or 4 in my life.) So, I’m pretty familiar with how they are supposed to run. I know where people are supposed to stand or sit, what they are supposed to say, and nearly every other minute detail of how things should go. I was surprised with how much I didn’t know about this wedding. I became the stereotypical father of the bride who only knows he is to take that long walk down the aisle and proclaim (or quiver) “…her mother and I.”
Worship - Most weddings are the biggest day of a bride’s life. It is a day she has dreamed of since childhood, and we all encourage the fairy tale aspect of a wedding. One local wedding chapel advertises on its website “…well Cinderella, you’ve found your price charming! Now all you need is the perfect ballroom…”
I’ve been in other ceremonies where the couple’s desire was for the event to be one of worship. And so, they have a worship band lead the congregation in singing. They have the elements many would associate with worship. And, I believe, God honors their intent.
However, in this wedding, there was no “congregational singing”, no opportunity for response. Katy & Renjy stated in their program that all the attention on them makes them extremely uncomfortable and that they did not want to do anything that would steal any of God’s glory. In other words, this event was to be all about God. The music, the message (one of the best I’ve ever heard), and every element of the ceremony pointed to God, His supremacy, and His goodness. Not even a single love song to each other.
What surprised me was that more than any wedding I’ve ever been to (and more than most church services) worship happened. Looking back, I say “of course, that’s what we wanted”… but it still surprised me – caught me off guard, in a wonderful way.
No Tears, Just Joy - For the past several years, whenever I have seen the bride walk down the aisle, I’ve gotten choked up anticipating the day when I would walk Katy the aisle. I pretty much knew I would be a mess when the time came. However, when the moment came, I was so caught up in worship – so overwhelmed with a profound sense of God’s goodness and His pleasure with this event, that I could do nothing but join that “celebration dance” and escort my daughter down that aisle with greater joy than I can recall in years… perhaps since that precious daughter was born.
A bit of advice on how to marry a daughter…
I realize that most of you don’t know my new son-in-law. Renjy is an amazing addition to our family. When they became engaged, many of my daughter’s girlfriends said “wow, he’s hot!” My wife’s friends all talked about the beautiful children they would have one day. There was no shortage of young women at this wedding looking mighty forlorn, wishing it was they who were walking down the aisle with Renjy. And, no shortage of young men wishing it was they who were waiting at the front of the church for Katy. I have been the envy of many a father with a marriageable daughter. Many of them have asked me “how did you get so lucky to get Renjy as a son-in-law?”
Here’s what I know… from the day she was born, we began praying for who Katy’s spouse would be. Praying that he would be a devoted follower of Jesus. Praying that his parents would model for him what a godly marriage relationship looks like. Praying for his purity in relationships, and that he would save himself for Katy.
We also taught Katy from a very early age that beauty, true beauty, comes from the inside, not from the outside. Not from dressing a certain way, or having a lot of makeup on. True beauty would come from her Spirit-driven compassion for people, and from the light of Christ shining out of her. Her name means “pure” and we were convinced that a character of purity would be an attractive light others. And we prayed that God would cause her to live out that purity. She has done that. And in his own words, that character is what drew Renjy to Katy.
Raise them to love and follow God. And pray for them everyday. Simple. Ha! Not simple at all. It’s a lot of hard work. But sitting back, reflecting on this day, it was worth it.
Thanks God, for pouring out Your blessings on us.