This past Saturday, I attended a wedding of a young couple in our congregation. Seeing as I am a full time minister myself, it was delightful to be able to sit and enjoy the service instead of being involved.
My wife Kristen and I had talked about the wedding to our almost 4 year old, Josie. We told her we were going to a wedding and that she was going to see lots of girls in pretty dresses, and the one wearing the prettiest dress will be the bride. Josie was filled with excitement to be able to witness this event!
As the wedding processional began, Josie asked if she could sit in my lap so she could see everything as it was happening. She watched as the guys entered from behind the stage and took their places, and then as the bridesmaids came down one by one. She sat there saying “Oooh, look at the pretty dresses” and “I would look good in that dress” along with other things.
When the bride walked in, and as we all stood, Josie didn’t say anything. She just sat in my arms with her little mouth wide open, as if she was thinking “Wow, that is the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen!”
As the service began, Josie sat down on the church pew and began playing with some toys she had brought with her. I listened as it began with the familiar words “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”, and immediately, I choked up.
You see, at that moment, I realized one day, my little girl’s prince will come.
One day, my little girl will no longer be my little girl, but my grown up woman who will leave the comforts of her father and mother and bond with someone else, to take care of her. And I’m not so sure I like that idea.
She’s my little girl.
It gives me a great appreciation for my Father-in-law, who had to learn to accept me before handing over his little princess to me to marry her. He had invested over 20 years in teaching her, paying for her to grow up, taking careful steps in what he said around her, watched how he acted around her, all for this nut to swoop in and take her away from him.
And one day, that’s going to happen to my little girl as well. That’s all a bit overwhelming to me. To the point, I’m tearing up as I’m writing this.
Okay, so Josie is only 4 years old. She’s not getting married anytime soon. But if I’m not careful – I’ll blink and the time we have together will be gone. So here are some promises I’m making to myself in order to best prepare my little girl to choose the right guy for her in the future.
1. I will pray for her, continuously, over and over again.
2. I will demonstrate the Father’s love to her, as God has done for me over and over again.
3. I will love her more than my job, my car, my friends, and all other things.
4. I will demonstrate to her how to love her future spouse, by continuously showing her how much I love her mother.
5. I will discipline her.
6. I will protect her.
7. I will let her fail, only so she can learn how to recover.
8. I will show her the importance of God in my life, and how all I have in life is because of Him.
9. I will provide for her.
10. I will tell her no.
11. I will make sure she knows how to respect herself.
12. I will, when the time is right, let her go.
Sure there are other things – too many to list right here.
Josie, you will always be my daughter, my love, my joy, my happiness. God has given you to me, and I will always cherish you. As you grow older, may God continuously give you wisdom, courage, and strength to do the right things.
And as you grow older, may God be preparing that prince for you. May he be a child of God, a devoted Christian, who will attempt with all of his being to love you more than I do. May I be able to let you go when the time is right.
One day, your prince will come.