We all know when we do wrong. We often wear it on our clean shirt or sit in dismay as we watch our mistake take its toll. If we slowed down a bit, we would be able to see the right we do too. Most of the time the brightness or darkness of our decisions show most in the big events of life.
- A funeral
- A graduation
- A wedding
A wedding. That’s the one that got me this weekend. For the second time, I released one of my princesses to the care of a less tested but fully vetted young man. This is the day that I dreaded most when my girls were small. This was the day that flashed through my mind as Butterfly Kisses played on the radio. One time (I can admit this now) my eyes filled so bad I couldn’t drive.
This second wedding went as well as the first. It was beautiful. The bride was stunning. An hour before the wedding I got called to the wing of the church where the bride was preparing. I was to sit at a tall round table in the middle of the carpeted hallway for a reveal. I would see my girl in her dress for the first time. On the table were a letter and a familiar paper that took me back about 10 years. While I held in my emotions at the time (I will blame the paparazzi who were recording the moment), not as much as I relive it in my mind right now.
You’ll always be my rock, the first man I ever loved, and the one who loved me first.
The one paper was the Purity Covenant I wrote to Aimee when she was a young teen. Each of our girls got their own personalized one. Kelly and I took each on a date to a favorite “fancy” restaurant. There we talked about the challenges of relationships and the power of staying pure. We wanted them to get to their wedding and have the first gift to their husband be their purity. “I saved myself for you.” With this paper, we gave them a purity ring as their reminder. Aimee saved this commitment and ring, and now they set on the table. Sitting on top of that was a letter written with a pen, but dripping with honor.
“Daddy, thank you for getting me ready for this day! My whole life you have taught me right from wrong and prepared me to be a person of honor. You always wanted for me to grow to be the best that I could be. Now, today I am taking a step out on my own. Trusting that all the years of love and guidance have prepared me for this new married life. You walking me down the aisle means more to me than you could ever know! Because it shows like always that you were by me holding my hand to make sure that I am OK as you pass me off to my new provider. And even though you have to let go I know that you’ll never be too far that I can’t reach back for your hand for a good squeeze. You’ll always be my rock, the first man I ever loved, and the one who loved me first. And I thank God that I found a man who we can trust to now lead me and guide me the way you have the past 23 years! I can never thank you enough for all you have done. I am giving this purity ring and covenant back to you today. This covenant has been fulfilled. It has been a reminder to me for the last 10 years. A reminder to be patient, to be pure and to trust your guidance and advice. Now they are yours again as a reminder for you, that you have done your job! The goal you gave me …to trust God to be the protector of my heart, to pray for my husband and to reserve my emotions for the one I would spend the rest of my life with. So keep these now as a reminder that you did your job and you were the best dad and protector that a girl could ever ask for. I love you, daddy, Your little girl”
What did I do right? What did I do to deserve the honor of this note, and the girls that have willingly followed my heartfelt advice? I am no different than most parents. The daily tasks, the messy house, and little frustrations can blur the finish line. If I could have set on that stool for a few moments when Aimee was 16, 18, 20… I would have poured even more investment into her. Life happens. Life gets complicated. By God’s grace Kelly and I did enough for our girls to follow our advice.
- We were not ashamed to give them critical advice about the tough issues.
- We minimized the rules but gave reasons for the ones we enforced, and stayed firm.
- We made a big deal about the big stuff.
- We prioritized church and church activities.
- We found mentors for each of them.
- We did fun stuff together.
- I loved Kelly and Kelly loved me.
We will be the first one to admit we made plenty of mistakes. We still have a lot to learn. But for now, we celebrate that we did enough and our princess has honored us.