8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” ~ 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)
Note from the mamas: One of the perks of being a minister is that you have the opportunity to speak during your own child’s wedding ceremony. Below are the incredibly touching words that Brother John said during his son Seth’s recent wedding to his new bride, Leanne. Grab some tissues, mamas. You’re going to need them. (And congrats to the newlyweds.)
By Bro. John L. Cash
Seth and Leanne, it is your wedding day! I’ve put together some thoughts for you. Don’t worry. There are only a few.
Dear Seth, it’s hard to believe the time has passed by so quickly. Do you remember that whenever we had to divide the family up for some reason, you always went with me? When you were a toddler, it was MY job to rock you to sleep at night. Your mother said you and I are a good pair; she said we’re very “simpatico,” and I agree. Other people always have to be GOING and DOING exciting things as they live their lives. But Seth and Dad could always just BE. We could BE together and BE happy. And because of that, I have lots of happy memories, and I hope you do, too.
When you turned 15, we didn’t get along at all for a while; I don’t know the reason, but you and I didn’t “chime.” Fortunately, I’ve grown up a lot over the past 6 years. But even though we’ve gone through “rough patches,” there has never been a time when I have not loved you. And I love you even more today. I’m so very proud of you and the fine young man you’ve grown up to be.
I have sensed that you’re worried to be starting out without a lot of money. Don’t worry! A lot of people start out without much money. Your mother and I started out with just a little. My father and mother started out with even less. But the Lord has blessed us in our lives and prospered us. When Spencer was little, he said “We aren’t rich. We aren’t poor. But we are MEDIUM.” He was right, and MEDIUM is the best thing to be.
Just use your Pappaw Leonard and your Peachie Elizabeth as an example. Take the little bit of money God has given you, and manage it well. Give your heart to the Lord, and serve Him in His church. And always give your tithe FIRST to the Lord. If you will do these things, and always love Him, I believe you will always have ALL the things you need and SOME of the things you want. That is the happiest life of all.
Something you will see as you live your life is that there are people who start off with a lot of things — but they are not rich toward God. For them, life doesn’t always go well. Other people start out with fewer things, but they have the blessing of God. Because of this, their lives are full of blessing. I will pray that this is what the Lord does for you.
And now, to your wife:
Dear Brenda Leanne, we love you so very much. When you and Seth went on your first date, we looked you up on Facebook and thought you went by your first name, Brenda. So that’s what we called you, and still do! You are good to put up with that….
When our younger son was a baby, Miss Susan began to pray God would send the perfect wife for Seth. How does it feel to be the person we asked God for? We believe you are the perfect wife for Seth. Your family did a wonderful job in raising you to be a lovely girl. And we are glad to be joining our families together.
Brenda, you know I’m always preaching about Martin Luther. He lived 500 years ago in Germany and reformed the Church. He said that God is the Trinity — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is like a family. God the Father is like the father, Jesus the Son is like the child, and the Holy Spirit is like the Mother. (This analogy isn’t perfect, so I won’t bind this on you.) But it seems like there’s a lot of truth in what Luther said about how this relates to human homes. The Father (Husband) CREATES the home. The Son (Child) obeys the Father and the Spirit.
But the mother is like the Holy Spirit in the home. She helps to determine the SPIRIT within the home. In Mississippi we say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!” (Miss Susan has figured this out. Twenty-five years ago we would have had a fight on your wedding day from all the stress! But today, she has been trying to promote a peaceful spirit, and we’ve had a wonderful day.)
You will have a happy home (if Seth does his part) and you remember that YOU are the SPIRIT of the home. The people of Antioch tell me, “That Leanne is a ray of sunshine.” Live for God, and fill your home and the world with sunshine.
It is sad when your children get married and leave home. But it wouldn’t be good if I wanted you to stay children forever. As your parents, we all wanted to have our own lives in the world, and it’s good and holy and right that you want to go out on your own, too. It’s a comfort that you live nearby where we can see you.
So, go with God…and rejoice! You are dearly loved.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the honeymooners stopped by for a visit when they got back from Pensacola.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21) and his wife Brenda Leanne (age 20). You can send him a note at email@example.com.