Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful? Isn’t she precious? Less than one minute old I never thought through love we’d be Making one as lovely as she But isn’t she lovely made from love? Isn’t she pretty? Truly the angel’s best Boy, I’m so happy We have been heaven blessed I can’t believe what God has done Through us He’s given life to one But isn’t she lovely made from love? (Song: “Isn’t She Lovely” [acoustic] Callum J. Wright; words by Stevie Wonder, written about his daughter)
We just married our second daughter, and it doesn’t get any easier from the first! There is simply nothing like seeing your newborn daughter for the first time. Equally, nothing compares to seeing her all dressed in white, radiant and ready to be joined to another, apart from you. The lump in our throats, the catch of our breath, and the tears that flow freely speak what words cannot.
Andy, my precious husband and Emily’s first hero, had the song played as he turned to see her during a “first look” before the ceremony last Friday. She stood elegant in a balcony view. Domed windows flooded bright light all around her wedding day silhouette. She was beautiful and breathtaking, much like the first day ever we saw her. Suddenly, the years flashed by. Jerking the mind through an array of images from soft baby faces and short, dark locks, to the one standing before us in full makeup, framed by frosted, long curls of hair.
After this treasured moment between father and daughter, her sisters were brought in to have their own special moment. Following their sweet embraces, her very-soon-to-be husband joined us, along with his parents. We prayed intimately over the two of them before all being separated for the big moment.
Downstairs, under soft pink lighting and a candlelit sanctuary, in front of a dear crowd of family and friends and mentors, Mason and Emily said their “I Wills.”
People have often remarked my husband ties a pretty tight knot! (Yes, he performed the ceremony, along with another pastor/mentor.) He is sobering and honest.
Let it be known that the union of husband and wife in heart, body, and mind is intended for their mutual joy. It is not, however, meant to be entered into unadvisedly, lightly, or without a great deal of thought, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God…
Emily and Mason, you are about to abandon yourselves to each other, throw caution to the wind, forsake independence, isolation, and all others. You will vow to each other your undying love, but before you do, we must call this what it is—this is perfect madness.
As an aspiration, how lovely. As a reality, how rare. Everyone wants love and everyone is looking for love. Very few ever seem to find what they are looking for. For those who have found it, very few seem able to sustain it…
Regardless of what anyone might tell you, we are always looking for it every day for the rest of our lives.…you see here before you a man and a woman. But there is more here than meets the eye. We are given this passion play by God to reenact, right here, right now… This is the story of mankind and we have been telling it to ourselves over and over and over again in every great myth, legend, poem, and song. It is my story and it is your story. It is a love story, set in the midst of desperate times, set in the midst of war… This is the story of the sacred romance between God and mankind.adapted from the book “Love & War” by the Eldredges
The sacred, holy event of a wedding celebration reminds me of everything that is good and true and real. God set forth to create us in love, by love, and for love. He has been pursuing us from the beginning, relentlessly, even after we broke His heart by sinning against Him.
On that eventful day with our daughter, the private moments helping Emily get dressed in her satin gown adorned with a touch of lace from my own years ago, the spontaneous embrace that followed in tears, the first looks, the public declaration of their eternal love, the announcement of the new Mr. and Mrs. smitten with smiles, the special dances, the feasting, the greeting of family and friends, some who had traveled from very far away, the music, the dancing, and the laughter all brought me back to what is right and good in this world. For an evening, time seemed to stand still. The veil that separated heaven and earth thinned enough to give a glimpse of eternity. And I was gloriously undone.
I could look into my husband’s eyes and allow him to gaze more deeply into mine, reminded that, along with God’s own heart, Andy’s heart toward me is good. That he is for me, not against me. That we are both broken people working towards restoration together, loved by a God who is still weaving us into a beautiful tapestry. I was keenly aware of the Truth.
Perhaps it is difficult for many to remain hopeful for ourselves and for the new couple because our stories have been fraught with so much danger, where evil is very real. Your story and my story require much courage and sacrifice from us. Maybe our own inadequacies cause doubt toward the next husband and wife.
I have swung to both ends of that pendulum, having been married 26 years now. I am aware of how hard it is to hold onto the side of bliss. How perfect happiness and consistent joy seem impossible. Face to face with my own failures and my husband’s, due to our fleshly, selfish desires, and due to our wounds inflicted upon us from the world, I have walked the road of unbelief; unbelief that he or I could ever have true, lasting change. Yet, I am also splendidly aware of the rewards of fighting that lie; praying for God to restore my belief in His ability to transform our wayward ways.
Maybe we have misunderstood or misinterpreted happiness and joy. For God intends family and marriage to be part the holy union by which He redeems and re-creates us. Whether single or married (because in Christ, we are all family), God will use relationships to expose our unhealthy ways of relating, to grow us into greater holiness. So, it must be then, that the road to holiness, with all its obstacles to mature us, is our true happiness and joy.
The marriage of our daughters reminds me that the Kingdom of Heaven awaits our final consummation. That Jesus has risen to fight for everything right and good and true about us and this world. Because of Christ, we can rise with courage and hope until that day comes. The day He will turn, perhaps with a lump in His throat, the catch of His breath, and tears only of joy for His beloved, as He proclaims,
“Isn’t she lovely made from Love?!”
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:13-14)
What events or experiences bring you back to the Truth and renew your hope? I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I have one more moment I cannot withstand to share! This stunning oldest daughter of ours also brought me to tears, leaving me breathless once again as she crossed the stage to stand by her sister as the Matron of Honor: Ashley, the first to marry three years ago, and the first to give us grandbabies oh so very soon – it’s TWINS!! I think it is understood there is something immensely holy about giving life. Isn’t she lovely, too?!