The First One

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I went to a wedding shower for my friend’s daughter last week. She was the first of my friend’s kids to grace the doors of middle school. We were all terrified. I remember holding my breath for the weekly report. How is she? Are those girls still being mean to her? Should we form a mom gang and beat up their moms? We didn’t and she survived. She thrived. She learned to fly.

This golden haired beauty was also the first of any of my friends’ children to drive, go to college, have a real boyfriend. Next weekend, she will be the first of ours to get married.

Last weekend, I went to her wedding shower. I ate biscotti and a scone and drank the best coffee I have ever had and I tried to hide the fact that I had cried in my car on the ride over.

We gathered around her and we prayed. We named the ways we have seen that she has been anointed, set apart, called, equipped and tested. We noted the growth we could testify to, and we prophesied over her that she already has everything she needs for whatever comes next, that she is held secure in Christ’s hand, and that He can surely keep her steady. We called her kind and good and smart and tough and ready because she is.

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As we prayed, I kept my eyes open and scanned the room.

There were women holding her up before the throne who have walked through fire in their own marriages. Some of us have come through to the other side still as one, others are being resurrected from the holy ashes of marriages that couldn’t be kept. These are women who have known the wild and wonderful road of real life, lived in intimate proximity to fallen humanity. These women knew what to pray over her because they knew what it takes to survive the transition from singleness to oneness. From a woman to a wife. Perhaps one day, from a wife to a mother. These are women who know what it means to be kept steady, clinging to the promises of God, and flying to Jesus all the day long. These are women who know that the nights can get long and dark but that in this Kingdom, the morning is always coming and it’s always bringing brand new mercy with it.

Marriage is a mystery, this much I know. The church is a mystery, too. Sticking and staying in both can sometimes feel like lofty goals, and each holds it’s own reward. They are both good, hard work and they are both worth all they require.

How are two individual people knit together into one? How does a church become a family? It’s not always pretty, it’s rarely easy but I know I’m better because of both. And she will be, too.

And so to you, dear Natalie, we send you out into your own new family with great joy because you have chosen well. You are ready, precious one. We are behind you and beside you and forever interceding for you. You will be blessed and kept, He will always turn His face to shine upon you and you will know His peace all the days of your life.