We’re about 4500 km apart as the crow flies—closer to 6000 if you drive—but thanks to a video camera and Youtube, I’ve just watched you transition from girlhood into a married woman. The livestream has ended, and as I imagine you and Connor chatting with the 25 guests Nova Scotia’s Covid regulations allow you to have, I’m praying for you.
Prayer is, of course, the first and most important way we can love another person, but since I can’t be with you in person on this special day, I wanted to share with you my prayer.
Here, then—my love, and my blessing. The things I pray you’ll never forget:
You are loved
Perhaps more than anything else, what will shape how you see each other and the situations that come your way is the knowledge that you are already loved. You do not need to prove it or earn it. The One who created you did so in love, and nothing you do or don’t do can change His love.
On this day, we celebrate your love for Connor, and his for you. But, as Josh sang the song you chose, “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God,” you reminded us all of what you know: the source of all true love is God.
I pray you’ll never forget that.
I pray that you’ll keep looking to God as the foundation and ever-springing source of your love for each other.
May you be to each other an icon, a holy image through which each of you encounters not just the love of each other, but the faithful, gentle, loving presence of God.
There is great beauty in the love of husband and wife. And yet, in the end, your completeness will come not through each other, but through God. And so, with Paul, I pray that you and Connor will “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:18-19 NLT).
You are held
As I’ve watched this beautiful young woman marry, I remember the first time I held you. My hands touched you, held you, before you took your first breath of this world’s air.
Never forget that far greater hands than mine have held you since you the moment you were conceived, and will carry you all the way through this life until you are born into the presence of that One who will never let go.
Today is a day of celebration and hope, and I pray there will be many moments of rejoicing in your life together with Connor, many days of enjoying God’s extravagance poured out in the everyday beauty He weaves around us.
But I’ve lived long enough to know that everyone’s life, no matter how beautiful, is also, at times, touched by pain. I know this too: as much as we might prefer to avoid pain, life’s greatest blessings often come wrapped in it.
You and Connor spoke your vows today at the foot of a wooden cross draped with greenery and resurrection white. When the hard moments come, may you see again that reminder of the love that is stronger than death,. May you look into the face of Jesus, feel his hand in yours, and know that you will never walk alone.
A Final Blessing
You are loved and you are held: those two truths are the heart of what we need to live well through any transition or new life stage. I find that when I’ve said those two things, I have nothing left to say, except to offer you a final blessing.
I always remember your joyful jumping in the ocean on the Hampton Haven beach, and you standing in the path of the light as though God’s blessing was being poured out on you, enfolding you in His light.
Those pictures capture for me this final blessing:
As you and Connor begin your life together, may you be wrapped in the blessing of God’s presence that He joyfully pours out on His children. May you be given the grace to open to God’s love in ever-increasing measure. And
‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’ (Numbers 6:24-26, NLT)
With so much love,