Laughter, Tears & Wedding Bells

This is the week.  The day has arrived.  My little girl … my firstborn daughter … will become Mrs. Chris Barker.

Her identity will change … she will no longer be “single” but she will be “married”.

Her name will change … no longer will she sign her name “Carolyn Joy McLeod” but she will begin a lifetime of signing her name as “Carolyn Joy Barker”.

Her spiritual covering will be transferred from her beloved daddy to her beloved husband.

Her care, her health and her provision, will no longer be our responsibility as her parents but it will now belong to Christopher Joel Barker as her husband.

And my heart rejoices!

Oh … I believe that I somewhere in the deepest part of me I want her to be 10 years old again. 

I want her to want me to scratch her back at night and to lovingly tuck her in. 

But that will never happen again.

I want her to want me to read “Little House on the Prairie” to her until my voice is hoarse with exhaustion.

But that will never happen again.

I want her to want me to snuggle her on the couch while we watch “Anne of Green Gables” and sniff our way through the scene when Matthew dies.

But that will never happen again.

I want her to want me to be the one who dries her tears, holds her hand and whispers words of love and encouragement when she is tired and spent.

But now Joy will have a husband to encourage, to comfort and to support her.

And I am glad.  I am thankful.  I am a rich mother.  I am not losing … I am gaining.

I am thrilled at the woman that Joy has become and at the manner in which she wholeheartedly serves God and the people around her.

And I am also thrilled at her choice of a lifetime partner and friend.

Christopher Joel Barker.  A man among men.  A leader of leaders.  A David … a man after God’s own heart.

As the proverb goes … I am not losing a daughter but I am gaining a son.

And what a son he is!

Chris and Joy … change the world together.  Make hell smaller and heaven bigger.

Chris and Joy … if you are well known for anything … let it be for loving extravagantly and for giving generously.

Chris and Joy … there will be days when you misunderstand one another and when the atmosphere is tense and frustrating.  In those moments of human friction, remember this moment of heaven’s joy!  Remember what brought you together and the love that was so gloriously splashed over the week of your wedding.

And so, this week, the week of Joy’s wedding, my heart is stuck.

My heart is stuck halfway between remembering and anticipating.

It is stuck between tears and laughter.

My heart is stuck between cradling the little girl and sending forth the grown woman.

Once again I need God.  I need His comfort … His joy … and His presence.

As a woman … and as a mother … I am in need of a Savior.  I need Him to save me from my puddle of humanity.  I need the Lord to remind me that His ways are highest and best and that little girls do indeed grow up.

It is His plan.

Little, giggling, dancing, singing girls grow up into women who fall in love.

It is His plan.

Little pig-tailed dreamers grow up into women who will change the world.

It is His perfect plan.

And do you know what else I need this momentous week?

I need to know that my investment in Joy’s life was enough.

I need to know that my years spent being a mom counted for eternity. 

I need to know that the hours that I spent doing laundry,

              singing songs,

                           cleaning bathrooms,

                                         tucking in little people at night,

                                                       peeling potatoes,

                                                                     chauffeuring,

                                                                                  and reading books mattered.

I need to know that the time I invested in

              cutting coupons,

                           playing games,

                                         planning birthday parties,

                                                      having picnics,

                                                                    praying bedtime prayers,

                                                                                  sweeping floors

                                                                                                 and scratching backs mattered.

As I watch the happiness of this week unfold … as I observe the woman that Joy has become … and as I applaud the man that she and God have chosen … I find myself smiling through my tears.

You see … if I have done nothing else right in these years preceding eternity … being a mom and raising 5 mountain-moving children is good enough for me!

If I never preach another sermon … author another book … record another radio show … write another column … plan another conference … or share another blog … the impact of my life will live on and on and on.

It will live on through Matthew, Emily, Olivia, Wesley, Boyce and Elizabeth Joy!

My impact will live on through Christopher, Liz, Amelia Grace and Jack Burton!

It will live on through Jordan, Allie and Ian Wesley!

My impact will be felt through Chris and Joy!

My impact will live on through Joni Rebecca!

It will live on through the young man that Joni will eventually marry … and through all of the grandbabies yet to come!

And so this week as we celebrate God’s ways … and young love … and answered prayer … and the sanctity of marriage … there will be another private celebration occurring in a very quiet and sheltered place in my heart.

I will be celebrating motherhood.

I will be thanking God for the opportunity to invest in His Kingdom through the assignment of just being a mom.

Live well, Chris and Joy!

Love with your whole hearts, Chris and Joy!

Chris and Joy … may you experience the incomparable delight of having a little girl of your own some day.  And when you hold your precious baby daughter in your arms … don’t blink!

Don’t blink because before you know it … she will be walking down the aisle to the arms of the man that she loves.