Mine to Give
She was a joyous surprise from the first day we met her. We were grateful as could be for Tyler and Justin, but we openly hoped baby number three would be a girl. That hope grew and grew as delivery day approached, and many well-wishers cheered for the same. (Yes, there were ultrasounds in those days. We simply chose not to know. To this day I am grateful Kristin was willing to embrace the joy of surprise!)
However, as we checked into the birthing center, the nurse said that when there are already two of the same gender, the third is the same 80% of the time. We suddenly realized we had better get our heads prepared for a boy. A few hours later the doctor said those wonderful words: “You have a little girl!” I can still hear Kristin exclaiming over and over in disbelief, “Are you serious?! Are you serious?!” Indeed, he was.
Tyler, our oldest, may have been the only one not surprised. He had asked God for a sister and declared in no uncertain terms God would deliver (couldn’t help it). We privately worried about the theological crisis another brother might create, but our fears were unfounded. Perhaps he was given divine insight.
So it was that Autumn completed our family in the spring of 1998. I was ecstatic, since I had always had a soft spot in my heart for daughters and longed to have a “daddy’s girl” to dote on. Even when Autumn was only a few years old, she would race to fish out a cup from her kitchen set so she could share a bit of my morning coffee. “Rules be blowed,” I thought; I wouldn’t trade this coffee date with my little girl for anything. To this day, Autumn is the one most likely to be up early with me, sharing the quiet, the coffee and the Lord.
Now our sweet girl is engaged to be married. Last Friday afternoon, a wonderful young man by the name of Chris Crenshaw knelt down and asked for her hand in marriage. She said yes. This summer, I will be giving away one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. My eyes are watering as I type this and I admit my heart hurts to think about it. But my joy is far greater than my pain. It was easy to say “yes” when Chris asked me for our blessing on their marriage, because this has been our hope all along. We weren’t raising Autumn to keep her for ourselves, but to give her to the man God would bring. Chris is an admirable man and Kristin and I couldn’t be happier for them.
It hit me with great force this morning that the same is true in pastoral ministry. I love this church family, but the goal for me and the other pastors is to prepare the church for Jesus, the bridegroom. “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” (John 3:29)
I am eagerly anticipating the wedding Day.