A family together celebrating a marriage learns that the newlyweds' love was foretold by the groom's late father.
- Posted on Apr 2, 2020
I stood in the corner of the reception hall, watching all the happy couples on the dance floor at my grandson Mitchel’s wedding. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful day. There wasn’t a raindrop in sight. The church sanctuary had been decorated with a “journey” theme, from model boats to compasses. Family and friends had flown to Minnesota from every corner of the country. As a pastor, I’d been asked to oﬃciate. I should’ve been over the moon. But something—someone—was missing.
My wife came over and handed me a piece of cake. We watched Mitchel twirl his new bride across the dance floor.
“They’re a beautiful couple,” she said.
“I know,” I said. “If only the father of the groom could have been here to see this.”
David, my son-in-law and Mitchel’s dad, had passed away six years earlier due to complications from an undiagnosed heart condition. Like me, David was a pastor. We often worked together. I couldn’t help but think how it should’ve been him here today, officiating his son’s wedding.
The song ended, and my wife and I returned to our table to listen to the wedding toasts. My daughter, Joy, stood up to give a speech.
“As you all may know, Mitchel and his brothers loved competitive swimming growing up,” she said. “But my daughter Hayley’s passion was ballet. My husband, David, used to play chauffeur, dropping the kids off at their various after-school activities.”
It was at Hayley’s dance studio that David met Katie, one of his daughter’s classmates, and her family. Katie and her sister didn’t see their dad at all. He had left the home when they were young. As Father’s Day approached in June of 2010, David got a strange idea.
“He came home one day and told me he’d gotten it in his head to write a letter to Katie,” Joy told the audience. “‘A letter?’ I said. ‘To a teenager? From a grown man?’”
David thought the idea was preposterous too. But he couldn’t get it out of his head. For whatever reason, he felt that God wanted him to write a letter to the girl in his daughter’s dance class. The type of letter a father would write.
“I told David that if God thought it was the right thing to do, I wouldn’t stand in his way,” Joy said. The church hall grew silent as Joy proceeded to read some of David’s letter to Katie.
I want you to know that if I were your dad, I would be extremely proud of you…You have a beauty, strength and excellence about you. As a father myself, I would be honored to have a daughter like you…
I believe with all my heart that God is preparing you for someone. I also believe that, at the same time, God is working in the heart of some young man, preparing him to be a blessing for you. He is shaping his heart by his own hand and, through life’s experiences, forming him to be blessed by you and to be a blessing to you. God is working in two hearts, fashioning them to beat as one in life and ministry.
Joy paused and blinked back tears. “Nine months after he sent the letter, David passed away,” she said. “He never knew that the girl he’d felt so compelled to write would one day end up marrying his son.… But God knew.”
I glanced at Katie and Mitchel, so happy and so in love.
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