“Spiritual Fathers” (A Thank You To Lauren And D.J. For Blessing Me On Their Wedding Day)

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Articles, Religion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I recently attended the wedding of a young, sweet, God-fearing young lady named Lauren whom I’ve had the pleasure of watching as she has grown in her walk with God and witnessed her transition into someone that has become more sure of herself in the knowledge that God made her for a uniquely beautiful purpose.

Now attending a wedding is pretty common for us these days because when you are involved in youth ministry you tend to attend a lot of weddings because so many young folk that you minister to as well as the many, young co-youth leaders that us (umm) older leaders work alongside with seem to get married in bunches so Tracy and I go to at least six or seven weddings a year (probably more like two or three but who’s counting?).

Weddings always make me a little uncomfortable because they are so “frilly” and “froo froo(sp)” with a lot of flowers and “girly” stuff which my wife will tell you I have a hard time being around but I do love to see people bring their relationship to God and bring their individual lives into covenant with Him as they come into covenant with each other so I always get a little misty-eyed when I attend them especially if the young people in question are ones that God has allowed me to mentor, give advice to, or assist them in their spiritual growth or at the very least witness them as they grow.

This is how it is with Lauren; I really didn’t have a mentor relationship with her as much as it was more that since we were both serving in youth and other areas of the church and were around each other in the various settings/ministries that we served in as they and they often intersected that our paths often crossed that my interactions with her that I was able to watch how she chose to use her life to serve God (note to all of the “young-uns” out there; even when it doesn’t look like I am I’m always watching you! LOL!).

In all of these settings the younger leaders do look to Tracy (my wife) and I for guidance and the other (umm) older (no, more experienced!) leaders when situations arise that require a little more “experience” in handling or so that they can be guided in the direction to solve the situation themselves.

Though I didn’t mentor Lauren (my wife worked more closely with her than I did) I did, as I said, get to watch her grow and on the day of her wedding I reflected back on the numerous times I could recall her smile, her zeal for serving the Lord, her work ethic, her maturity for someone her age, or as I would watch her grow into to whatever task she was working on I was always impressed with her and I always tried to ensure that she knew that if she needed me for “back-up” like at Verge (youth camp) she knew that she could count on me.

Yet, what I reflected on more than anything that day as I watched her and D.J. stand before God and recite their vows was all of the Spiritual fathers that were present that God had used to “pour” into her life and I was even more amazed when she then recognized them as part of the ceremony.

I must admit that this blew me away because until that day I had no knowledge of Lauren’s dad being deceased so I was a little taken aback that I didn’t know this fact until the day of her wedding (I believe that God blinded me to this for effect) but as the scripture reference above shows God who is our eternal Father will ensure that we get all that we need from Him and many spiritual fathers (and mothers) if needed when we recognize Him as Lord of our lives and put aside our will for His and Lauren has done this well.

While thinking about this God took me back to my past for a second and I realized that though I didn’t realize it that I’ve had many spiritual fathers over my years of growing up “fatherless” and even at forty-six years old God has even made it possible for my biological dad and I to start developing a relationship and the pain that I endured as a child growing up fatherless has been abated and God used Lauren’s wedding to take me back down that road and teach me something (ain’t He great?).

As I watched Lauren give a letter to each of her spiritual fathers with the respect, admiration and appreciation that she had for each of them (it glowed on her face) it was then that God immediately showed me that as part of my mission in life (my lot if you will) is to (with His strength) be what these awesome men of God were to Lauren to the numerous children (and even the adults) that He uses me to minister to and I pray that I can make a sliver of the impact on anyone that God blesses me to mentor as these men obviously made in Lauren’s life.

It was a beautiful picture of the grace and mercy of God on display that wedding day and as much pain as I know that Lauren and her family had to be in knowing that her dad could not be there she knew that he was there in spirit and she also had the knowledge that God in His ever-loving faithfulness had taken care of her every need with men of his choosing to minister to her in that area of pain and now she has and will do the same for other young men and women thus exponentially proliferating God’s love to those who grow up without a parent or parents for whatever reason.

I salute all of the men and women who fit this description today and know that God also sees you and though He knows that you do not mentor or love the “fatherless” for any prize or praise but out of the gratitude of your heart for Jesus’ love on your life He will bless you richly for taking care of the needs of His children and that He loves you for being just like Him in having His heart for these young ones.

Working with youth especially teenagers and especially ones that have one or both parents absent can be the most taxing yet spiritually rewarding mission field and I love it and it is one of the few things that I truly get excited for (and NASCAR!!!!!!).

Seeing that young people get attached to Christ and His purpose for their lives is its own reward and the fruit was on display at this beautiful wedding when young Lauren gave up the purity ring that she pledged to her dad before he passed for her covenant ring with D.J. thus keeping her promise to her dad was an awesome thing and it is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

God bless Lauren and D.J. (and both families); your wedding was beautiful and may God bless all of the spiritual fathers and mothers that help the “fatherless” navigate down the path that God has assigned to them on this beautiful day that He has made for all that you have and will do in the lives of those that God will allow you to serve!

Be Blessed!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

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