It was just a year and a half ago that I had the joyous honor of performing the ceremony for my son and his wife. They began their new life in a whirlwind of new jobs, a new home, and new pets (I refuse to call them my “grandchildren” – even with quotation marks). Only a year and half, and yet it’s hard to think of them in any other way than as a couple. I pray for Jay and Lacie, and I am at peace.

Today is a bit surreal. On this day, our first born, our only daughter becomes a wife. I will have the privilege of both walking her down the aisle and performing the ceremony. The swirl of emotions are a bit overwhelming. If I close my eyes, the images come and go like waves washing up on a beach. In all of this, remarkably, I am at peace. I know God holds both Jackie and Jonathan in His more than able hands.

I expect tears will fall. They started yesterday as I viewed the video at the rehearsal dinner. And, yes, that means I made it through the rehearsal itself unscathed! I won’t be crying because I’m losing a daughter. I won’t be crying because I’m dissatisfied with her choice of a husband. I won’t even be crying because of the cost of the wedding – those tears come later. I will be crying tears of remembrance and of joy as my curly-haired princess joins her life with soon-to-be rocket scientist husband.

For a few days in the hotel, Jackie’s wedding dress hung on a command hook beside the bed. It was the first thing I saw when I woke up each morning. In just a little while, she’ll be wearing that very same dress as we start our short trek down the center aisle toward a waiting and anxious groom. Boom! It’s all getting very real now.

I am grateful for the Lord’s guidance in Jackie’s life. I am grateful for the experiences both positive and negative that helped to shape her into the woman she had become. I am grateful for the people God has placed in her life all along the way from Bethel to Isle of Hope to Greensboro to Birmingham. God used each of these to help mold her into the person she is. Jonathan, too, has had events and people shape him – for that, too, I am grateful. Today, I’m the guy gets to say, “I now pronounce you are husband and wife,” but I am confident that the Lord had this planned all along… so I can say once again, I am at peace.

So, let it begin. Let the music play. Let the tears flow. Let the vows and rings be exchanged. Let there be both a communion and a kiss. That precious little girl that I held in my arms on the day of her birth, I am ready (I think) to hold her in my arms as we dance to Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” I can say from a grateful heart – I am at peace.

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