Let’s Plan a Wedding! (In Which Glorious & Gut-Wrenching Both Abide)

Enter the roller coaster of human life. My daughter, my first-born, my best friend and right hand is GETTING MARRIED!

And I’ll just be as honest as I can about this reality because I want to encourage any of you out there.

First, we are thrilled. I mean, beyond excited. Why? Because raising our children to leave home and start their own families is one of our biggest jobs in life. It’s a crowning moment. Our magnum opus. But not just that: raising them to follow the Lord and choose a spouse who follows Him too is even bigger.

“I have no greater joy than to hear (see) my children walk in truth.”

It’s true. Nothing in life makes me happier than to watch one of my children grow up, own their faith, and carry the torch into the next generation. This is it! It is everything we’ve prayed for, hoped for and lived for.

And then there’s the reality of loss. Someone I have spent every day of my life with for 20 years is leaving. The person with whom I sit every morning, and share all my ideas, and coffee. This woman who loves our home and takes care of it like I do. The person who knows me inside and out, who reads my subtle cues and delights to help make life pleasant for me. Who takes all the kids to the barn with a blanket and book just to bless them and me. Who can whip a room into shape before I have time to say “what a mess” because that’s her gift and she rocks it. The woman who inspires me to know Christ deeper by watching her strive to know Him.

I’m not boasting, but this is my daughter. It is nothing I or my husband have done. But in God’s incredible grace to us, Bria has been an exceptional daughter. She isn’t perfect. She has her share of weaknesses, for sure. But she is amazing.

And losing an amazing person is hard.

When most of us were growing up, we started weaning away from our parents at the age of 5. We got on a bus and left home for a large part of the day. We shared our attention and affection with peers. Our priorities began to be disbursed among other activities, people and places. It was a gradual process and by the time we got married, we had already emotionally and physically left home.

Our family has been different and this leaving, in every way, is happening all at once. Even as we rejoice, there is grieving that comes with it. Change always brings some grief. No matter how good the change.

But I know this pushes me to a deeper dependence on God. It is good for my other children as I get a renewed focus on them, brought on largely by the reality that I only have them for a short time and indeed, every moment is precious. What a gift that the Lord teaches us such sweet things on this journey!

So we are in a season of stretching, growing, adjusting and letting go. It is glorious and gut-wrenching all at once. But above all, we are grateful. Grateful for the way the Lord brought Kyle and Bria together, for their commitment to Him and each other, and for grace that will sustain us all.

Kyle is a pre-med student so the road ahead of them will not be without challenges, though I’m eager to see how those very challenges will specifically shape and strengthen their marriage. I am fully confident that as they seek first His kingdom, everything they need will be added unto them. My greatest comfort is releasing my treasured child into the arms of a man I know will treasure her too. (Thank you, Kyle.)

And for those who will walk this road soon, there is no formula. There is only people, wisdom and the need for fervent prayer and grace. And friends! I am praising God for friends and friends who have walked this road, know how it feels, and are willing to hold my hand, walk with me, and love on me through it all. His gifts are innumerable!

I may be more quiet than usual for a long time. There is much to be done and huge adjustments to be made. And I’m up for the challenge. Because just this morning, my Father reminded me,

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength….they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40,41

36 Responses to “Let’s Plan a Wedding! (In Which Glorious & Gut-Wrenching Both Abide)”

  1. 6 arrows says:

    Congratulations to Kyle and Bria! I pray the Lord will bless their marriage with much joy and many precious gifts from His gracious hand.

    And I know you know that I will be praying for your mother-heart, Kelly. Blessings to you. <3

  2. Paula says:

    So when is the big day?
    I am so excited for your family!!
    My oldest child, which happens to be a girl, is getting married next June so I too know the emotions!

  3. Congratulations to Bria and Kyle.

    We met Bria on her trip to the UK some years ago. I am sure she will be an excellent wife.

    I am sure that this will be a time of major readjustment for your family but hope it will also be a happy time and one in which the younger children grow in skills to fill the gap.

  4. Sheri says:

    I fully understand. My daughter is getting married in 3 days. (Her and Bria are FB friends) When our son got married 3 years ago, the best advice a friend gave me was “it’s ok to grieve”. At first I didn’t understand, but afterwards I realize this friend was correct. So be prepared to go through that grieving process. Especially with the younger children. They don’t understand why their sister isn’t home and part of their everyday.

    On the other hand, it’s a beautiful thing to add another son/daughter to the family and watch those relationships grow.

    Enjoy the planning process and don’t get too overwhelmed with the details!

  5. Amanda says:

    Congratulations! I KNOW you guys are giving the Lord all the glory for this, but while we know that GOD gives the fruit and the increase, you and your husband have been very faithful to plant and water. You obviously lead courageous and ‘radical’ lives to support what your convictions and you are reaping some precious rewards….as will, I’m sure your daughter and her family, and probably generations to come! I say radical only because, we are striving to raise our kids that way, and although that’s our daily life there are folks who think it’s pretty odd 🙂 So congratulations to you, also, as a faithful wife and mother.

  6. Gregg Brown says:

    Congrats,love yall.

  7. Carolina says:

    Congratulations! Does Bria have the gift of serving?

  8. Laura says:

    How wonderful!! I’m so excited for Bria and your family. I can only imagine the grieving; I know I would feel loss too.

  9. So happy for you and praying for you all! 🙂

  10. Chris Liverett says:

    Yeah – so I cried just a little when I scrolled down and saw the photo when she was a kiddo. Special lady she is now, and special place in our family she has always had.

  11. Lori Alexander says:

    Our son is getting married on Saturday! Our youngest daughter got married last Jan. to a young man just beginning dental school. They didn’t want to wait until all of their ducks were in a row! They know it will be tough but God is a good God and our Provider.

  12. Daja says:

    Congratulations to the whole family!!! What a joyful season!!! (and hugs to your Mommy heart, Kelly!!!)

  13. Oh, how wonderful, Kelly!!! Congratulations, Kyle and Bria!!!! I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you all.

  14. Cathy says:

    Congrats, Kelly, et al! As you and I messaged each other a few months ago, it isn’t an easy gig when your kids leave the nest. In fact, I just looked back @ what we wrote to refresh my memory; to save time, I will cut-and-paste one of my messages, because I think I’m really brilliant! Actually, it’s because, even though I have ten kids, and almost all are married, IT’S STILL TOUGH. And, I think my husband’s “charge (or whatever you want to call it)” succinctly states what we both have experienced in terms of our feelings, and God’s plan for marriage.

    “Yep, no matter how many kids you have, you miss them all. But, the evolution happens, and after a short time, you can’t envision it any other way. I know that you’re a long way off, but my sexy man and I LOVE being alone in our house. We still have two @ home–Micah, who is 21, and still in school, and Lydia, who will begin as an official college freshman. I have come to realize that I am for young adults getting married earlier rather than later. Gene and I started to realize that we had somehow adopted a worldview wherein we expected a college education to be completed, a good job/career, and even a home. To me, that’s a worldly viewpoint, and I am of the persuasion that couples should be able to realize those things together. Whatever became of saving together, and getting a husband through school together (Gene and I did that), and dreaming those dreams together?! Anyway, I understand the sadness, but I always wanted my kids to want kids of their own, and, so, while they helped me tons, I wouldn’t hold them back. I wanted them to have lives of their own, and families of their own…and in marriage–the old leave and cleave stuff. But, when Gene gave a charge –or whatever you want to call it–to Billy and Nat @ the wedding, one of the lines was about “Billy taking Natalie away from us…” and she’s our seventh “child!” Oh, heck, here’s the letter. It reflects the conflict that we always feel when we “lose” one of the kids. It will be different relationship after marriage to be sure, but a good different. Here’s the letter Gene read at the ceremony before the pastor began.

    “The old saying goes, when you’re the father of the bride you don’t lose a daughter, you gain a son. Now I’m a little confused about that proverbial adoption process, especially in the case of Billy and his courtship with Natalie. As I think about it, I’ve probably spent more waking hours with Billy in our home than anybody BUT Natalie. Given that, I can’t help but be internally conflicted. Now that the courtship is over, I feel like I’m losing a daughter–and a son. Now before we get too wrapped up in the emotions of this double loss, there IS something to consider. Our food budget, which spiked dramatically in the past year or so, has been predicted -by all reasonable projections- to abruptly return to normalcy.

    That brings to mind another old saying – something about a dark cloud and silver lining.

    Billy was never one to hide his intentions about Natalie. And I knew, eventually, the day would come when we’d have that face-to-face talk about him taking her away from us. Ultimately, considering his resolute purpose, godly character, undying devotion to Natalie, AND his appetite, it was an easy decision for me. Billy made it even easier with a bit of persuasive speech that I knew I would be sharing with all of you on this day. In that conversation Billy was anxious and animated. He reminded me of a little kid who wakes up on Christmas morning to an overwhelming array of toys that – before that day- he was almost afraid to imagine. With a silly grin on his face, Billy became that starry-eyed kid under the Christmas tree. He ended our talk with this paraphrased punch line. Natalie is God’s perfect answer to my wildest and most extreme prayer requests. She is God’s way of making my dreams come true. How was I to say ‘no’ to that?

    So, here we are. In a profound sense- a godly Christ-centered marriage is God’s way of making His dreams for His people come true on earth. As you will, no doubt, hear today, marriage is the human picture of Christ’s ultimate relationship with His Church, unfailing love for His perfect and submissive Bride.

    Billy and Natalie, there is a great responsibility today before you to honor God in a special way. Your vows to each other are vows to faithfully portray the majesty of His plan for His people for a time beyond time. He has honored you by allowing you to show the world a vivid illustration of His redemptive work in a human relationship. As the representative of our household I give my blessing and full support of your marriage. May God grant you the grace to live out your married days in the fear of the Lord which, as the Bible says, is ‘a fountain of life’, ‘a strong confidence’, and ‘the beginning of wisdom.’ ‘The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him and his righteousness to children’s children.’” (Psalm 103:17)

  15. Ruth Adams says:

    Congratulations on this wonderful news! Your post is a good reminder to treasure the years that are flying by and to redeem every day with our children for His glory. Thank you for years of encouragement on this blog. I am encouraged to see the Lord’s faithfulness in bringing your daughter a godly young man!

  16. Candace says:

    Oh Kelly! I read tis with such joy and understanding. We were right where you are almost three years ago. Here is a short post I wrote the week before the wedding. I think it captures just what you’re describing, and it still brings tears to my eyes when I read it. And if you can, read the comment by Cathi, my daughter’s MIL. It testifies to God’s faithfulness when we are diligent to pray for our children’s future spouses.


    My daughter and sweet SIL have now been married 2 1/2 years and have a beautiful 5 month old son!

    I will be praying for you as you prepare for this glorious day….for all the details involved, but especially for your Momma heart!

  17. Charlotte Moore says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I know it is an emotional time. So sweet to read that they both love the LORD. It is rare this day and time for young people to be committed to the LORD.


  18. Kristen says:

    Congratulations, Kelly! They make a beautiful couple!

  19. Lindsey says:

    Awww…Kelly. I’ve been waiting for this post. I can’t even imagine one of my babies leaving the nest. So bittersweet. I’ll be praying for you all as you go through this huge life change. So exciting!

  20. Joyce says:

    Such wonderful news! When is that special day?

  21. Rachael says:

    Penelope, I’m assuming a lot by thinking you’re not a troll, but either way, here’s the deal –

    You’ve arrived at a place where people will join you in fervent prayer for the well being of your family.

    I pray for you now for help in your challenges. I cannot imagine what comes with parenting children with special needs. I can imagine what comes with the reward of doing so, having parented delightfully average children. It is an existential experience, not a return on investment. It is so much larger than we are.

    The joy of others need not be subdivided by our individual issues. We can participate in God’s blessings evident all around us – those will sustain us even in times of trial. Looking outward is a holy thing.

    • 6 arrows says:

      Well-stated reply to Penelope, Rachael — full of grace and mercy, and a clear illustration of the contrast between polite dissent and angry attacks.

      Penelope, as one mom to another, both of us walking the special-needs-parenting road, please know that I am praying for you.

  22. victoria says:

    Congratulations! What a joy to see two people coming together to glorify Christ as they begin to raise up a household for him. Many blessings to your family and to the bride and groom.

  23. Aly says:

    Kelly, this post brought gut wrenching tears. It was so honest and beautiful. I have a daughter like yours, but she is only 10. God give me the strength, wisdom and grace to bring this child up as You have called me to. I am turning off this computer to go be with her. Thank you Kelly.

  24. Thank you all for such sweet and encouraging comments! I wish I had time to answer each one of you.

  25. Kelly L says:

    Rejoicing with you! And getting a little nervous thinking of my own leaving one day because you wrote the loss part so eloquently. 🙂

  26. […] we’re in wedding mode right now and the little girls are excited about being flower girls, it was perfect. I pointed out […]

  27. […] is my sweet daughter. My first born who will marry the love of her life in 33 days. It’s both glorious and gut-wrenching, as I’ve written […]

  28. […] gave our daughter to her husband Saturday. I’ve talked about the process of letting go, but all I’ll say now is that I watched on this transformation of two lives becoming one with […]

  29. […] have written a script more smoothly for the Lord’s orchestrating her meeting Kyle, and their journey to marriage, and their adjustment as a couple, even though none of us really knew what we were doing. And even […]

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