It Takes a Village

I have never really put a lot of thought into the statement “it takes a village to raise a child” and that may be because I heard Hillary Clinton say it once and I some how associate that phrase with her.  But in the Christian community, in the church family, it does take the village to raise our children to be people who understand what God did for them, then to teach them what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and to live a life that honors God.  That church family of precious believers are the family that pours truth into their lives.  The family that cheers them on, encourages them and often comes to their rescue.

This weekend I saw this village of believers came to rescue the wedding day of my youngest daughter.  My girl had been dreaming of this day at this perfect outdoor venue for well over a year.  Our area of Alabama is known for unpredictable weather.  It is said, if you don’t like the weather, hang around for about fifteen minutes and it will change.  Saturday morning, just as forecasted, was rainy.  Not torrential, downpour rain. But steady rain.  I stood inside the house of the Historic Malbis Nursery watching the puddles form outside, trying to devise a Plan B.  I could not fathom how we would get over 150 guests, the food and the ceremony inside the building.  We decided to wait it out and be flexible with some of the decorations.  Thankfully I had brought a stack of towels “just in case”.  We delayed putting linens and centerpieces on tables.   And we prayed.  Yes.  We asked God to make the rain stop for a wedding.  It seemed shameless and selfish to ask such a thing when people in other parts of the world were praying for food!  But we prayed.  We asked our friends to pray.  We asked social media to pray.  My husband and I went back to the hotel to get ready while our baby girl was in the bridal suite getting hair and make-up done.  We got a phone call right before we were leaving to return to the venue.  We were needed for a “first look” picture asap.  As we rode back to the venue we noticed that the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to shine.  We just smiled.  God in his sovereignty had chosen to answer our prayer.  As soon as we arrived we were wisked away to see our baby girl for the first time.  We were in awe at the young woman standing before us.  No longer a little girl.  No longer our baby.  But a beautiful young woman ready to marry the love of her life.

When we stepped inside the venue there was a beehive of activity.  Friends were everywhere blowing rain off the outside brick flooring, drying chairs, wiping down tables.  Linens were being put on tables and centerpieces arranged.  The caterer was busy organizing the banquet of food.  The one desire of my girl was to have chiffon draped at the ceremony site with a beautiful wooden cross draped in eucalyptus.  With the rain it didn’t seem an option because of the continued light dripping of rain off the greenery that covered the venue.  One of our friends told me to send him the picture of what she wanted and he would make it happen.  Within a short time I looked out and two wonderful men had intricately draped the chiffon exactly like the picture I had sent them.  I grabbed my daughter as she was headed back to the bridal suite and showed her the ceremony area.  Big tears welled up in her eyes as she smiled.  She was so happy.

The events of the day progressed.  People kept coming.  Chairs were pulled from the reception area to accommodate the number of guests.  First the pastor, groom and groomsmen.  Then the bridesmaid along with my grandson wearing a sign “Uncle Zach, here comes your bride?”

Then the moment came, my sweet big guy escorting his last daughter down the aisle.  My memory raced back to a year ago as he escorted our second daughter down the aisle for her November wedding.  He had only been out of the hospital for a week from his last week long chemo treatment.  He was weak, bloated and hairless from five months of treatment, but he was there, walking her proudly down the aisle.  Here we were a year later and he looked amazing.  New suit, bowtie, goatee and a huge smile.  He proudly held her arm in his.

The ceremony began and then finished with our girl and her young man washing each other’s feet as their first act of love toward each other as they served each other just as our Savior did for His disciples in the last days before His return to heaven.  It was sweet, it was moving, it was precious.

The reception followed with lots of dancing, hugs and laughter.  They were surrounded by people who have poured into their lives.  People who love them and have watched them in their walk with Jesus.  People who willingly came and made this day perfect for them.

They departed in a flurry of confetti, bubbles and silly string. All appropriate for these to kids who fell in love in their church youth group, then dated for two more years before becoming engaged.  Then they went to their hotel, quickly changed clothes and went off to bowl with a group of friends until almost midnight.  I have to laugh at this last part.  It just speaks volumes about the relationship and personalities of these two kids.  Because in reality they are still kids at heart.  Two twenty year olds stepping into adulthood, filled with love and excitement for what the future has for them.  They have a wonderful support group around them.  A village.  A church family.  They love Jesus and desire to live for Him.  So here’s to a new life for Molly and Zach Johnson.  I have a feeling God has big plans for these two!

As a postscript….I received a text from my baby girl later that night, while they were hanging with friends and bowling.  It said “thank you for making my dream come true today, it was perfect.”

 

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Wedding hangover....

That’s how I feel this week….I feel tired, I feel unmotivated, I feel overwhelmed, I feel hung over (which incriminates myself of a life long ago in that I actually knowing how that feels!). My eyes actually feel like I’ve been up all night. My activity of choice is to crawl into the sheets on my unmade bed and snooze for a couple of days. I make it through a work day, barely, and when I open my front door, I try to avert my eyes to the chaos that is in every direction I look! In 25 years of marriage, even when the girls were little, has my house every been this totally turned upside down! I want to tackle it….but I don’t! I toyed with the idea of hiring someone to do it for me, but realized I couldn’t actually afford for someone to do it!! It’s that bad, folks!
Then there’s the mental, or do I say emotional, state I find myself mulling through. I’m the mother of the bride. I am not familiar with this roll. I am a mother-in-law. I’m REALLY not familiar with this roll, or all the negative vibes that go with it. I have struggled this week with wanting to know about what my oldest baby girl is doing this week and realizing it’s now none of my business! When do I call, when is it okay to call and when do I not call? I feel suddenly shut out of her world! I’ve spent the last 9 months planning, making lists, and writing checks so that the wedding would be just as my daughter dreamed, and suddenly, I’m done. Task completed. Lists all checked. The event is now history.
I’m sure I’ll come out on the other side, wiser and definitely older. But for now, I’m not sure what I’m doing next. I’m still parenting two other daughters. One who is figuring out who she is as a college sophomore. The other who is 15 and finding social life waaaayyyy more important than school, both of which I seem to be sucking the joy out of!
I think….no I believe….that the gift to the mother of the bride….from the bride and groom….should be a week getaway (well, at least 3 days) to the beach or mountains to relax and do nothing….and then for her to get to come home to a perfectly cleaned and organized house.
This photo I am posting, is of the 3 girls God is using to mold me into the woman He wants me to be….it hurts too!

Chasing Moles!

The last lazy days of summer have been filled with extreme heat along with the much anticipated wedding of Katherine’s son, Kade.  He is 27, holds two degrees and has travelled around the country and abroad, living on an allowance that has allowed him to sow his youthful oats.  In the process, he met an equally intelligent yuppy girl, who also holds some useless degree in Russian literature, or something like that.  They dropped in to see Mom & Dad six months ago to drop the bomb of an October wedding.  They, of course, have allowed Katherine to be the wedding planner.  The future Mrs. Weston is an orphan, and is clueless about the endless details of planning a proper wedding on The Hill.  Thus, future mother-in law, Katherine, as any true southern woman can, came to the rescue.  The last six months have been filled with endless phone calls, meetings with caterers, florists, printers, and on and on.

With the wedding only days away, I called Katherine today to inquire about details concerning one of her listings.  She answered the phone breathless and I could hear strange buzzing noises in the background.  After a few minutes, I asked what in the world was going on.  She answered my question with another question “Do you know anything about catching moles?”  “Moles?”  I answered, trying to grasp what she was talking about.  “Yes, dear, those little creatures that live underground and make havoc of your yard!”  The reception for the upcoming wedding was being held at her estate and it seems she was on the hunt for a pesky mole ruining the tranquility of her hydrangea filled yard!  I imagined this sweet, sturdy displaced Midwest woman in hunting garb, brandishing a twelve gauge shotgun and chasing down a small animal hiding just below the ground surface.  Scenes from Caddy Shack suddenly came to mind and I laughed.  “So you are on a hunting expedition, Katherine?”  She laughed, “Yes and I plan to end the destructive life of that little varmit before he destroys the yard!”  Her matter of fact attitude was evidence of both her Midwest upbringing and her years of living among southern women.   The innocent, yet nasty little mole eventually met his maker that day and all was well in the wedding planning world!