Thoughts on Emily’s Engagement
I’ve sort of ignored this reality for the past 22 years; that you would one day find your life partner, who I have prayed for since he was 2 years old, and so I feel thoroughly and utterly unprepared. Just moments ago, you called me with the news, the news of a lifetime. You are going to get married! You both decided!—he is the one for you, you are the one for him—you’ve each found your life partner. And though the many days I’ve prayed for and anticipated this, I am speechless now as I hold the phone receiver.
“Mom, I’m engaged!” you gush with enthusiasm. I can barely figure out what to say in response, even though I know the time and place that he is going to ask you to be his wife.
I want to wish you a life full of happiness, a life full of goodness, love, warmth, joy, beauty, achievement and fulfillment. Instead, I awkwardly say something dumb and wordlessly feel excitement and loss all at the same time.
I think back in time. How anxious I was about this new stage in your life, and how prayerfully your father proceeded as you entered the dating phase of your life. How in the world would we be able to affirm your choice in a boyfriend, let alone guide you to be ready to find your life’s partner? Who would possibly be special enough for you, our wonderful daughter? Who would be the one? But thank Jesus, we are not running the world ourselves. The Master of all souls, the Matcher of all matches wondrously orchestrated this all. And I remember that we are not parenting you alone. As much as Dad and I have loved and cared for you, we are not your only parents. There is a third partner in your life, who as much as we are limited is wholly unlimited; as unsure and full of apprehension that we are, He is sure and confident. He cares about you as much, no—can it be possible?—even more than we do. He is watching you, looking out for you, guiding and protecting you, placing you precisely on the right path. You are only ours to steward for him, your Heavenly Father. And now Connor wants to take over stewarding the gift that you are! He loves you as much or more, at least differently, than we do and wants to help you be all you are intended to be.
Added thoughts on June 29th:
So, now I wonder how I will effectively tell you I am proud of your choices and provide a day special enough to communicate that I am 100% in favor of your marriage. I am also realizing as I write this that we will never be going back to life as it was. My mind is racing. My thoughts are all with you and Connor and your future journey. Nothing in your highly valuable life will be as monumental as this new journey (except salvation and learning to say goodbye to those you love). This is so big because becoming a team in ministry and life will define you and refine you in ways you cannot fathom, And because it is such a huge responsibility to care for the needs and heart of another person for the rest of your life. So I wonder, Have I helped guide you enough? Have I given you enough tools to be a good spouse? Am I guiding you in the right direction? I feel so helpless, so small, so limited—what do I know? I “worry” that I won’t be ready, that I don’t have enough time left to cherish you and tell you stuff, and that I haven’t done enough to prepare you to begin a life of your own. I wish that you would finish college at Biola (it is a rare and amazing gift left by your dad),and wonder if you really will finish your college career once you are married; but I am glad that you have received part of that educational gift, and that as a grown-up it is for you to decide for yourself. You are making such good steps toward health mentally and physically and being more like “yourself”, yet I am nervous that your grief and anxiety will show up again as a destructive force in your relationship with Connor and with God. But most of all, I am sad that your dad will miss this.
Little did your fiancé know when he proposed that he was transforming a regular garden-variety mom into a “Mother of the Bride”. You are excited, happy and buried under a pile of wedding sites and pinned boards on Pintrest. But for me a little door opened up that I have not experienced before and it very clearly shouted that a making a big deal about wedding is not just about excess and social obligation, but it more importantly symbolizes and celebrates a number of simultaneous transitions and milestones whose combined power deserves a celebration! There is definitely a traditional female coming of age and sharing common bonds aspect to engagement and marriage that is special and can’t really be described. I find myself randomly teary-eyed remembering your firsts, your accomplishments, your graduations, your amazing and random creativity, your dependable independence over the years.
You have ALWAYS been a pleaser, which has made you do what is expected of you and you have excelled at loyalty and what some might call a “goody two shoes”. You are definitely headstrong and yet your heart has always been tender and yielded to hear the Father’s voice. And it has made it difficult for you to make decisions. This has been hard because there have also been a lot of “cooks” in your kitchen, and everyone has had a pretty strong opinion regarding your life-plan. I do not expect that that will change as you plan for this big day and all the days afterward. I will tell you that the only opinions that matter critically are God’s, yours and Connor’s. (even and including me… after 4.11.15!) So this wedding will be a “traditional” celebration, a “you are special” celebration, a “I have never seen you make a decision lightly so I absolutely trust he is the one for you” celebration.
I like him too (except for the Giants and a few minor things). . .And so, this will be a “welcome to the family” celebration. When Connor proposed last week he began a process that will eventually transform two families from separate parts of the state into one connected family who will all get to add in-law to the end of our name. That’s probably so we’ll know we are related.
In the meantime I want to spend as much time with you as I can before you become Connor’s wife. I want to remind you of who you are and where you came from. I want to plan one last family vacation. I want to have a family meal once a week. I want to remove as many roadblocks and barriers that would take away from your “happily ever after” and weaken your marriage before it starts. I want to do so many things…the next 9 months are going to be crazy as we plan and prepare to “birth” this new life you and Connor will share.
I am proud of you. I am happy for you.
I love you. Always.