In January of this year, I wrote a post titled, ‘When Your Daughter Gets Married.’ I wrote it a couple of weeks before the wedding. Now that it’s past, I’d like to add some insight having actually walked through it. My original post shared some of the emotions I was experiencing as the date approached. My daughter and I had many conversations about all the changes that were happening and were about to happen. There are some lessons that stand out in my mind, showing me yet again, that parenting is a process, and it is one of the major relationships that God uses to grow and mature our faith as we love our children.
I think I will always remember her thoughts about the realities of moving from our family and into beginning her own. One thing she said that was particularly poignant was, “It’s just that I’ve always been a Dvorak. It’s who I am. And I can’t wait to be a McDonald! But, I’m sad about not being a Dvorak anymore.”
What a beautiful expression of the realities of marriage! Women in our culture are faced with this consideration as they wed. Some women choose to keep their name, or change it by hyphenating it along with their husband’s, but, the meaning behind my daughter’s words goes much deeper than that. I think it is the dawning realization that you have spent all of your days up to this point, understanding, learning, and figuring out who you are and what your place is in the world. And now, all that is about to change as your role changes and you combine your life with another.
My daughter understood who she was within the context of our family; she knew how we perceived her, and her role with each family member. She felt loved, nurtured, and comfortable in this place. She also feels this way about the new name she is stepping into, but it’s just that – it’s new. The change seemed daunting to her – and to myself, and her Dad – to be completely honest.
As we talked through this, a warm and wonderful thought suddenly occurred to me – all of this will turn out just fine. Here is how I know: the core of who she is will never change. Outward appearances, attitudes, habits, etc., change for all of us as we mature and move through our lives. But, for the Christian, the Bible declares that we have become a new creation. We are safe in the relationship we now enjoy with God and one day He will give us a new name. He is the only one capable of changing the state of our soul’s destiny. In this world, which is fading away, we walk through all the seasons of our lives and the changes they bring, but we need not fear them if we are secure in our ultimate end. Thankfully, she and I both have this security and so we laughed and cried as we talked these things through.
Another grateful thought I have, (and this is largely because that first perspective is in place), is that my daughter’s wedding was one of the best days of my life. I can’t fully explain the depth of joy I felt. It was not bound by the actual circumstances, (although, the rain did stop, she was the most beautiful bride, the food was delicious, everyone danced, and all went according to plan), but by the fact that I stood next to my husband and held his hand as we watched her take her first steps into the arms of another, officially. She is now Mrs. McDonald. We are at peace with her readiness, her choice of a husband, and are excited for their bright future together.
All that to say, change is hard. She’s at a crossroads and so am I. She is at a beginning and an ending. And so am I. It’s a beautiful thing to share these changing life seasons with her. While we both may feel a touch of apprehension about the unknown, stress, wonder, excitement…we need not feel sad, discouraged or overwhelmed by change, because we know Who holds our future.
Lord, continue to teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Thank you for the gift of fellowship with those ahead of, and behind us, that we can understand each other – and You – better.