Hallie was half-engaged to be married at four years old. She had a little friend who was at church every time the doors were open, just like we were. We loved her friend's parents. We still do. The mom taught Hallie her first Bible verse at the age of three in Cubbies. I'll never forget hearing her quote that verse. She'd quote it just about anywhere. One time it was in the restroom at our favorite Mexican food place in Marlin. With her little legs hanging over the side of the toilet she recited- "Chust in the Lowod wif all you hawt and lean not on you own undewstanding . Pwovubs 3:5"
When we moved from Chilton a couple of years later, we got a letter from her special friend (written with a little help) reminding her that she was his. I'd be delighted if that worked out.
To my kids' future spouses:
I love it when things get all worked out. I say that, but I can hardly remember a time when I felt like things were worked out. Sure there are breaths of relief when some struggle has been overcome like Algebra II, appropriate application of eyeliner or the whiny stage. But I reckon God is with us, working all things out little by little, all the days we're here.
I bet you've heard that there are moms who pray for their kids' future spouses. Those are wise mamas. I've felt terribly guilty in the past because I'd only think to pray for you once or twice a year. I haven't been diligent, but I've prayed for you. For my future daughter in law, I have prayed you will look to God and trust that He alone makes you complete. My prayer for you, future sons in law, is that you will love God more than you love my daughter; that you will be men who will lead my girls in the way of Christ. That prayer is deep-seated. I won't forget it. God won't either.
I don't mention you on a daily basis...yet. But I'm still praying for you in a sense. Here's how.
I'm praying for my son. I'm praying that God will be first in his life and that he will learn to give himself time cushion instead of waiting until the last-minute for everything. I pray that his heart grows for Jesus so that he'll know how to give his heart to you when he learns you're the one.
I pray for my girls.
For one, I pray that she will come to understand when strength translates to pure old stubbornness and that she'll learn to bend when needed. Her strong will comes from me. You'll probably have figured that out after you've been around me a couple of times. I pray that she will do more than just understand the real definition of beauty. I pray that she'll embody beauty.
For the other one I pray that her need to please people would be replaced with a desire to "be filled with the knowledge of His will.... so that she might walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him". I trust that as she lives to please Him, all the while conscious of grace, she will be pleasing to you.
I pray these things along with a thousand other little prayers; prayers for safety, prayers for illnesses to subside and prayers for each of them to always have at least one good friend. I pray that their heart wouldn't be broken and that they'd have grace and greater understanding in the overcoming, when their heart does break. I pray for their daily footsteps and for the whole path. I'm just beginning to learn not to let the requests hog my prayer time. I'm learning to make more room for thanks. And I'm learning to create blank spaces of prayer where I'm simply placing trust in Him.
Thoughts of you are woven into those spaces.
Here's what I want you to know
The more I pray, the more I'm coming to understand that
it's not so much about who I'm praying for
or the things I pray for
as it is about who I'm praying to.
It's not about the requests; my best thought-out wishes. He knows what I want before a word is on my lips. Even better, he knows what I need. He knows what my son and two daughters need. He knows what you need.
It goes back to those sweet words uttered (Mexican music in the background) in a small bathroom in Marlin ten years ago. Trust in the Lord. Those same words stretch forward to today and will meet you any place you find yourself tomorrow. I hope these words will be your truth when you think you have the perfect plan and when you don't know how to pray.
That's my prayer.
Trust in the Lord with all (my)heart.
And I'll lean not on (my) own understanding of what this future blessed union will look like.
We wish for all of life to be tidy, but life is full of tides. Thankful God is in the tides.
I love you even though I (probably) haven't met you,
Your mom in law
Now. Here's a less serious wish list of what I hope you'll be:
Someone who likes me. Jason too. But he's pretty easy to like. If you like us you'll come around (with my kid) more often. It would be nice if your parents like us too. That way we'll be better at sharing y'all
Someone who likes to laugh.
Someone who shares your kids. Not one of those parents who won't let them have a sleepover with the grandparents until they're like four.
A little money wouldn't hurt.
To my future daughter in law: Someone who likes to shop (but not like a marathon shopper) and invites me occasionally
Someone who can cook. I can't cook that well. Which means that my kids probably won't start out knowing how.
Someone who plays board games without much of a fuss (win or lose). It just has to be that way. We're a bunch of sore losers (besides Jason). It's too late for us to change.
A few or all of these things would be great, but no worries.
Life has a way of surprising.