I have been attending quite a few weddings recently. For most girls, weddings are times for dreaming, and I cannot claim to be an exception. Weddings are so romantic, so sweet, so emotional...and so filled with an atmosphere of love that makes every girl dream of what she would do with her own special day.
As a pastor's daughter who grew up witnessing countless weddings a year, however, I have a slightly different perspective. The gowns, the flowers, the music, the candles, and the rings are all wonderful, but I seek for the meaning of the covenant more than the romance of the event. For me, my favorite wedding items are the promises, the vows, and one item that is not always present--the tribute to the parents.
In our church, the groom and bride often give verbal tributes to their respective parents before exchanging vows themselves. Right before they become an independent unit before God and man, it provides a chance for them to express their gratitude towards those who had raised them.
For me, I often dream of what I would say to my parents on my wedding day. I would thank my mom for her time, her love, her teaching, and all the skills and traits that she had passed on to "Hensie jr." Then I would thank my dad for his provision, his love, his guidance, and his amazing model of a heavenly Father's love. I would be such a teary-eyed daughter whipsering words of heartfelt gratitude.
During a wedding last Saturday, a truth hit me.
Even if such words on my wedding day would be based upon absolute sincerity, they would be meaningless if my life does not manifest the gratitude that I profess to have. If I truly understand what my parents have done for me, then I must respond by respecting and loving them through my everyday life.
A very good friend once agreed with me, "The more you grow, the more you love your parents." True, maturity will help us to see what our parents have done for us. However, it doesn't stop there.
Do I love my parents with the way I live? I don't know. It is easy to use flowery statements to say that I thank them, but it is a greater challenge to serve and honor them in my daily life.
This is a lesson that I hope to always keep fresh in my mind. May I learn not only to thank my parents with pretty descriptions sometime in the future, but may I truly live with such gratitude today. They are, after all, among God's greatest channels of blessings to me.