Friday, June 17, 2011

An interesting thing happened on the way to the alter...

...and so begins my daughter's new life. The beauty of my daughter's wedding will be treasured in photographs and in the memories we cling to. And while one of those is fairly simple: find a great photographer, mail him a check--PRESTO! Brilliant photographs, with the perfect editing, to seal the day! The second part, the memories we cling to--this part is a little more tricky.

The morning after the "big day", I sat with two of my best friends and my parents in IHOP and we debriefed on the previous night's events. It was interesting to hear the stories of what others had gone through while I was so intently focused on my daughter. One of my favorite stories was hearing about how my dear friend had lost all use of his iphone in route and had no address to the venue (thanks GPS) and no phone numbers (thanks speed dial) and no idea where to go. He had tried a few exits in the general vicinity of our home and had finally stopped at a Starbucks. Sitting in the coffee shop he stared out across the parking lot, when he noticed he was staring at an IHOP. (Yep, it was my IHOP). Knowing that I often walk to breakfast, and knowing that I probably don't walk far--he knew that our home must be near. So, he ventured back out onto the streets and, eventually, found our home (he has only been to it a couple of times prior). He pulled up to our house just as my youngest son, looking amazing in his tuxedo, was walking out the door. Ahhh...the hand of the Lord at work on a special day.
But, the next day, there was the temptation to focus on some of the frustrating things that had happened. There was a temptation to relive some of the things that were painful and disappointing. And, over pancakes, I shared my fears with these dear ones. How do I remember the good and let go of the bad? And, then, my father after hearing my heart said, "The stories you tell are the things you will remember." 
That statement struck me and has stayed with me all week. I have a lifetime of events, good and sorrowful that prove my Dad's theory to be accurate. The things I remember from the wedding where I was the bride--are the stories I have repeated. The memories I cling to from the day my daughter died--are the tales I have told. My mind has the capability of holding onto every moment of every event, but the stories I tell become my reality of the events.

With my daughter's wedding, my desire is to hold onto the beautiful things that happened, not the disappointments. My flesh is battling against my spirit and if I want my spirit, God's Spirit inside me, to reign-- I have to make the choice to tell the stories that will bring Him glory.
Rather than focusing on the lack of something on this momentous day, I have to tell the stories that will remind all, that on this day--God was faithful.

God was faithful when I sent out text messages and emails begging people to help us set up, decorate, shuttle and serve--beautiful servant leaders in our church showered down on us to set up chairs, prepare food and tie table clothes. God was faithful when he provided us with the skills and knowledge of some gifted and talented women to lead me through the planning of such a big event in a backyard venue. God was faithful when the bride, my beautiful daughter, began to have an allergic reaction (just before she was to take pictures) and her left eye began to swell closed and turn red, and as we called out for Benedryl (and no one could find even one pill) He led me, her Mother, to lead them-- her friends and her faithful bridesmaids--to lay hands on her pray. It was one of my favorite moments, sitting on a chair in the bathroom, overlooking those fabulous hills, we bowed before God and praised Him for being the creator of all things, including Benedryl, and we praised Him for stopping the swelling, because we believed that He would.  Within moments of praying--Benedryl appeared. Today, I am so thankful for that allergy induced eye reation. I am so thankful for it, because on the last day that my daughter was merely my daughter, and not yet a wife, when she faced what was quite frightening, God led me to lead her to Him. I am so thankful that in spite of any of the the times I failed at doing this--on this day--I did what pleases Him.
And so it comes to this, as the days pass and my treasure box of memories threatens to be emptied out and replaced with ugly disappointments, I continue to think of the wise words of my Father and I am determined to be more careful with the stories I tell.