I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

A Wedding Remembered

I try not to share too many of my boys' stories. Last year, I never told of one son marrying and leave the nest, other than what you heard in the Christmas letter. This year another marries. I try to share my reflections to help other moms.

My second son married recently. His wedding, like his courtship, was unique. He married a girl from Ukraine he met in nursing school.

Their Inter-cultural wedding ceremony had several aspects that were refreshing and precious. Although the service was dual language—English and Russian—these meanings were not lost in the translations.

Weddings are meant as a public display of an inner commitment of the couple to each other before God.

My son walked me down the aisle. Symbolic of his leaving his parents and cleaving to his wife.
The bride’s father walked her down and gave her hand to Josiah. It was the first time they had touched.
The discipline of waiting for the wedding showed in both of their sparkling eyes.

They did not have a unity candle, nor exchange rings, but the admonition from the pastor was not only directed toward the couple building a wall to protect and guard their marriage and family, but that we as parents would not interfere with their wall building and protecting.

Each parent blessed their marriage in offered prayer.

Here was mine:
Dear Heavenly Father,
You made a little boy who loved words and time.
You shared him with us, for a short time, as he learned to speak and told how he loved us.
He learned how Your Words have power to create the world in a moment’s time.
Your Words—“It is finished”—meant he could speak to You anytime.
It seemed just a moment ago, the little boy grew to be a man who used his words to encourage Your church and to tell others about Your love.
How important Your Words were when he stood against others who tried to change them.
How comforting Your Words when he was cast out by those he loved because he followed Your Words.
Long before he knew he needed one, You prepared a helpmeet for him.
He found words he never knew before, as he learned to know her heart.
Together they learn a new language, not only expressing their love for each other, and re-learning Your Words as it relates to them, but telling a broken world of Your love.

Through Your mercy, unite their hearts as one to conform to Your Father’s will to reflect Your Image, better than they could alone.
Through Your grace, unite their souls as one to complete man’s need for a helpmeet and woman’s need to be cherished in her helpmeet role.
Through Your blessing, unite their bodies as one to raise up leaders who will show our broken world the love of our Savior.
Through Your Words unite their steps to follow the path that pleases You.

And today especially, give us the words to praise Your Name for what You have done in their lives.

During the reception, the blessings continued. 
Friends and family presented stories, advise, and gifts. 
The bride’s family presented a poem, with each family member presenting a gift.
With each gift, poem, song, or advise, the wedding couple stood to honor its reception.

We ate to a bounty of food.
I had never thought to serve beets and liver at a wedding for so many of different backgrounds, but those who loved them were thrilled and those who would rather try something else walked from the table well satisfied.

Before dessert was served, the couple circled the reception floor taking pictures with each table of guests.
The overflowing table of desserts were all home-made by the bride’s mother, sisters and sisters-in-law. 
Each contribution was worth the wait.

As part of the program, the bride's mother wrote a poem to her daughter. She quoted it from memory. Though spoken in Russian, the heart message could be felt.
The bride, in turn, told a poem to her mother.

When my turn came, I did not dare quote anything. But my words were read between tears. 
It’s been said, “Your son will hold your hand for only a little while,” And that is too true.
It seems just when a mom trains her boys to be kind, to be gentlemen, to do what is right—when she can finally enjoy them without spanking or yelling at them—they leave.
A mom doesn’t reap the benefits of all that work. After all, who’s going to take out the trash now without being told and without grumbling?

The Irish saying has a lot of truth: “A son is a son until he takes a wife, a daughter is a daughter for life.”

My husband and I have prayed since all the boys were babies for their wives. 

The boys have heard all my warnings about girls.
Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God.
Watch out for those women in Proverbs!
When a girl from college asked one of my boys for his phone number, he declined. When she asked, “What if your car breaks down and you can’t get home?” He responded, “I’ll call my brothers.”
They know my fear of taking the wrong wife.
Because as a mom, I know what kind of hell on earth a wrong wife can bring.

In spite of my warnings, several of my boys have found wives.
But they don’t fit the Proverbs warnings. 

Moms want to think they can do everything for their sons.
But we can’t.
And my sons’ wives do what I could never do for my sons: They complete and make them whole.
It doesn’t make “the leaving” easier for this mom.

When Josiah was going through a rough, lonely time. It was also a time when my boys were leaving me like swarming bees.
I wrote him a note:
“Wait for God. For this mom’s heart would break if a son left too soon. God will bring someone to you—in His time, and she will be worth the wait. And in the meantime, God will also prepare this mom’s heart to be ready to let go.”

I’m not sure any mom is ready to let go.
But God’s time is always best.
And God has prepared Josiah and his mom for the special gift He gave in Dana.

That saying, “Your son will hold your hand for only a little while,” That is too true.
But the saying continues, “He will hold your heart for a lifetime.”
All my boys, married or not, are leaving my hand faster than I want, but my heart cherishes the memories of what they have brought me.
And what their wives have taught me—that not all women are to be feared or avoided, but are to be cherished and held special.

So though I lose another son, today. I have gained another daughter who will do for my son what I could never do. 
They will not only create a little bit of heaven here on earth.
And they will hold what is in my heart for a lifetime.

A wedding remembered brings those who are already married a reminder of the preciousness of the commitment and a renewal of ones' own vows.
It is truly a time to remember.

Displaying 1 comment

This sounds like a wedding to be remembered all your life, may God bless Josiah and Dana with a lifetime of following Him and they will be blessed indeed. I always felt special toward Josiah, maybe because I talked with him a few times and was very impressed. Thanks for sharing, I've been wanting to hear about the wedding and would love to hear more and see pictures.

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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