Our first Little Sparrow flew the coop. She’s been testing flight for 5 years, leaving home for longer periods each time. This time, she flew away, never to return to the nest (to live) again. She walked the beautiful aisle-journey from her Daddy’s arms, into her husbands’ arms.
What an incredible adventure it is to parent a child fully into adulthood. I never could have imagined the refining God would do within me during the journey of motherhood. Parenthood must be the most sanctifying gift on the planet.
As the process came to a close and she flew away with her lover, I wondered, “what now?” How does one process such a monumental milestone in their child’s life? How does a mother wash her hands from the last 23 years of “dirty work” and simply move on to the next day? The sanctity and reverence of such a holy experience of raising a child and seeing them leave and cleave seems to deserve more than simply going to bed and rising the next day to go about life.
Reveling in the beauty of their union and of the day, I became acutely aware that something inside me felt unfinished. As I pondered this thought, I realized something. Fathers receive such a gift in walking their daughters down the aisle. They symbolically and physically give their precious daughters to their husbands. They hug them, place her hand in his, hug the young man, and in a sense, finish their duty as a father who is responsible for his daughter. He dances with her, perhaps reminiscing about childhood or sweet memories together. What a gift the father receives in these beautiful acts. Mothers, on the other hand, do not typically have such an experience. “Why not?” I wondered. Although our Little Sparrow had chosen me to be a bridesmaid, although I had been given the gift of holding her bouquet as she spoke her vows, although I had gotten to straighten her dress as she stood for all to see, I still felt undone. She flew the nest and it felt unfinished. “Wait, come back, Little Sparrow!”
For 2 days I pondered this feeling. I am sure I am not alone in these thoughts, these feelings, this grieving of sorts.
God is so very good and His voice is so sweet and gentle if we will just listen closely. He placed the idea in my heart to reach out for support. He reminded me of His presence in fellow believers. He reminded me that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His name, He is there in the midst of them. I decided to draw on my community to help me. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted but I knew I needed godly women. I wanted them to celebrate with me, to let me ramble about the details of the day, to let me cry if I needed to, and to laugh! I needed God’s presence and this time it was going to come through my community.
I asked and they came. The doorbell rang and I invited them in. What better way to celebrate, grieve, laugh, and cry than to use the hundreds of flowers from the wedding to make flower arrangements with my friends. And that is what we did! The house smelled divine as we pulled stems, dropped petals, and trimmed leaves, placing them beautifully in vases to send home with these women who had become God’s comfort to me in human form. We laughed, they listened and encouraged, I cried a little, and then we reminisced about our own weddings- which brought even greater laughter. We finished the wedding cake, we made a mess, I got many hugs and so much love, and we had fun!
Do not underestimate the power of presence. Community is God’s marvelous idea- we were created for community! The interesting thing is that a couple of ladies whom I consider some of my closest friends couldn’t come. But the aroma of sweetness was still floating through the air. The reason is because the presence of God was there. Don’t get me wrong- I would have loved for the others to have been there! But God’s sweet presence isn’t bound to who can or cannot show up. He simply promises to be there when we gather in His name. I felt content when the day ended. I felt satisfied and full- full of love and support. What a gift we have in community. May we take full advantage of it and never take it for granted!
“There was an intense sense of togetherness among all who believed; they shared all their material possessions in trust…they were unified as they worshiped at the temple day after day. In homes, they broke bread and shared meals with glad and generous hearts.” Acts 2:44-46