You have stolen my heart...my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. ~Song of Solomon 4:9
My nine year old daughter has been asking a lot of questions lately. You know the ones. In one of our recent conversations, we discussed marriage and what it means to be married. I told her that when I was her age, I used to dream of that special day, when I would get to wear a beautiful dress and walk down the aisle to stand face to face with my 'Prince Charming!' Many of our quiet 'girl' conversations are about boys. Certainly, I wish that she didn't care a thing about stinky little boys, but I listen, nonetheless.
We do have rules...no boyfriends. She is way too young to even think about that! I asked her if she ever dreamed about her wedding day and the special man that God is preparing to be her groom, and she answered, "No."
Since we have been preparing to have 'the talk' with her, we decided to first give her a dream...
My husband and I spent much time preparing for our daughter to be a 'bride for a day.' While he stayed home with the two younger ones, I took her to the beauty salon to get a beautiful hairstyle befitting a bride.
Next, we stopped at the drug store and bought some Lee Press on Nails (with glitter tips, of course!) Then we went to the Bridal shop to try on dresses (we told the clerk we were just looking for a 'special occasion!') She tried on several and told me that she felt like an 'angel!'
She looked like an angel.
After playing dress-up, we went across the street to the jewelry store. I had prompted the jeweler, so he brought out some beautiful rings. We discussed what the ring means and why we wear them. Those fake nails made it all look so real!
After departing the jewelry store empty handed, we drove to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. It is a lovely place where lots of weddings and receptions are held. We got to see the splendid orchid display inside the Conservatory. My daughter felt like a princess running around that castle of glass with flowers dripping from the walls.
There was a light rain, but we still managed to cover the outdoor gardens. I watched her as she ran and played and thought about how much she is growing up. I asked God to help me embrace it, instead of wishing I could put a cap on childhood and keep her little forever!
As we were leaving, we had the good fortune of seeing a real bride during her photo shoot. We stood and watched and remarked how great it was to see a bride on her special day!
We climbed in the car and Ashlyn put her little veil back on and fell asleep on the way home...such a lovely site...so innocent this little bride-to-be.
We went straight to our church and quietly entered the dark sanctuary. Her dad was sitting there trying to keep the younger two quiet. My daughter was very surprised to see him, because she hadn't known he was a part of this special day...
He walked her down the aisle, and she told him all about the day. They sat down and he gave her a little blue box with a locket. The other blue box contained a key. He explained that the locket was to her heart and the key was for her future husband. He will hold onto it for now, he said. He gave her a card that started like this, "You are my dearest angel. My firstborn child. You have a heart of gold..." It ended with a prayer for her and her future husband. I hadn't expected the card and appreciated how much thought he put into it. She might not know it now, but one day she will cherish that card and the words of sentiment from a father who adores her.
Rob took our other children home, and Ashlyn and I went to Dunkin Doughnuts. It was late and the Bakery was closed. I had planned to take her to look at wedding cakes and to eat a cupcake to end our special day. She didn't know the difference and was thrilled to get a powdered-covered-strawberry- filled doughnut.
We talked about the surprised look on her face from earlier that morning. I asked her, as I often do, "What was your favorite part of the day?"
She answered, "The Lee Press on Nails and playing dress-up!"
Yes, of course.
She is only nine years old.
I hope to encourage those of you with young daughters to hold their hearts. I did not grow up knowing that I had value to a Lord and Savior who loves me so much that he died for me. How my choices might have looked differently as a young girl and into adulthood... This world will offer darkness. We can become desensitized to what is visible in our culture today. Even though I have prayed that the Lord would close my children's eyes and ears to the things they shouldn't see or hear, my children have heard many things that can be difficult to explain. Their little brains just don't have the cognitive skills yet to understand some of the heavier things in life! Our desire was to show our daughter how very much we value her and how special she is...and how the God of the universe is mindful of her...that He values her. It is our hope that she will value herself. We can only counter the darkness of the world by looking for the light and seeing the beauty that the Lord intends.
You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. ~1 Thessalonians 5:5