By Contributing Writer, Ann Dunagan
“Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
When it’s finally time for this question to be answered, four simple little words spoken by the father-of-the-bride have monumental meaning:
“Her mother and I.”
For the parents, these words signify a time of completion and a marker of finality — it’s a definite seasonal change in our calling to “parent” a grown child; for the bride and groom, it’s beautiful new beginning.
Two weddings, two weeks . . . and too happy to explain!
This month, two of our grown children were married, just two weeks apart.
In the midst of all the busyness, my heart has been overflowing with gratitude to God as we have experienced the incredible fruit of biblical family discipleship.
We released our daring daughter into the hands of her chosen groom (who grew up as a missionary in Niger, West Africa) and dear friends released their sweet girl (raised in our own home church) into the hands of our son.
As a mother, I felt a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. So much love, spiritual training, education, prayers, and hopes have focused on this moment . . . and it truly is a blessing of grace and joy to see God’s promises come true.
Our daughter chose to wear a third-generation wedding dress, worn by me 27 years ago and by her grandmother 49 years ago. It felt significant. It was beautiful to see this three-generation focus on both sides of the family.
On the bride’s-side, the heritage of a third-generation dress (with generations of prayer and biblical foundations). On the groom’s-side, the heritage of three generations of missionary service (stepping out in service and radical rugged obedience in one of the toughest and poorest countries in the world). And that was just the first wedding; our son’s new family is just as wonderful in godly generational influence!
In our family, we love the Lord and His Word. Over the years, my husband and I have had to rely on God’s grace and help to raise our children to love God . . . and to love others . . . to submit and to follow God’s will for our lives and to surrender to His will. Little by little. Seed by seed.
We don’t just raise our kids in the church, we raise them in Christ.
Each family is unique and each husband and wife parenting style is different. For us, my husband trains our kids informally and I train and teach them formally. Together, we function as a team, training our children in the ways of the Lord.
A momma’s heart remembers many things:
Mother-daughter retreats, homeschooling conventions, and tea parties. Graduation ceremonies (in our backyard), going with my son to buy his first suit, and hearing him preach in Africa. Memorizing chapters of the Bible, learning the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. . . and teaching our kids to daily read God’s Word. Sitting in church together, worshipping side-by-side . . . and watching grown kids begin to step out in spiritual leadership.
And I can’t tell you how fabulous it feels to see a son and a daughter, as grown young adults, each choosing a godly spouse.
Our plants have grown and now they are on their own. Our daughter is now married to a wonderful man. Our son is married to a wonderful woman.
And I’m a happy momma.
A few days ago, the two newlywed couples packed up a small uhaul in front of our house. As boxes of wedding presents were strewn all across the driveway (as the four young people were trying to get everything to fit in the trailer), I remembered a photograph, taken by my parents 27 years ago, when Jon and I were loading up our little uhaul after our wedding. I remember all the joy I felt as a young bride . . . all the dreams of our future family and mission-minded life.
And today’s a day of dreams coming true . . . not just for our kids, but for us as parents. God’s parenting manual (the Bible) is a time-tested road map. We’re enjoying the fruit of our family discipleship . . . and I wanted to share a bit of my overwhelming joy.
I’m so thankful to God . . . for His grace and His help.
And I look forward to more fruit in the future.
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.