The gently sloping stone path ended at the gurgling waterfall of a beautiful Texas creek. White chairs sat along the path we walked in vividly green grass canopied by massive pecan trees. This is the stuff little girl’s dreams are made of.
Smiling faces turned to watch us approach and get the first glance at the bride in her shimmering white gown.
I was walking my baby girl down the aisle to bestow her on the anxious, grinning groom.
My role as her knight in shining armor was now being usurped by this newly-minted prince charming. My place as the masculine protector and heroic warrior of her imagination taken by this fresh-faced man of her dreams.
My lap was being replaced by his arms. Butterfly kisses were giving way to passionate ones. The patriarch was making way for the partner.
In short, there was a new sheriff in town and I was losing my silver star. It was the longest walk.
It was an ending…a happy one.
The most poignant endings create new beginnings. The most meaningful beginnings rise from painful endings.
They are “begendings”.
There is always something bittersweet about these transition moments where one thing ends and another begins.
I couldn’t be happier about the man she was marrying…I couldn’t be sadder that I was losing my sweet baby girl. I couldn’t have picked a better man for my only daughter…but I would never have let my little toe-haired girl become the ravishing blond beauty I was walking down the aisle if I could have made time stand still.
Beginnings are about promise and potential; excitement and expectation. Endings are about completion and closure; reflection and release.
Some endings are heart-breaking; some beginnings gut-wrenching.
But the good ones, the “begendings”, are transitional seasons that take the best from the past, build creatively on what has been and make us more than we were before.
In those moments, letting go is the only way to take hold.
As I led my Lauren down the aisle to start life with her fine new husband, Chase, it was for me an ending. The consummation of years of teaching, protecting, motivating, cheering, encouraging, loving–in short, Daddying. My role will be different now. Background. Secondary.
The leading man has now becoming a supporting actor.
When I placed her hand in his, it was an ending for me. When he accepted her hand from me, it was a beginning for him.
As Chase led his Lauren up the aisle, an adventurous new journey began. He will be her partner, defender, best friend, attender, lover…in short, her husband. The bit part has now become the basic plot.
Thankfully, this is not my first begending so I am at peace with whatever comes next.
In my life, God has been a master of these beginning-endings. I have found Him to be constant during every change, tender in any transition and reliable with each realignment.
He sees around every unexpected corner and beyond each apparent dead-end from start to finish. He is never surprised and has never said, “I didn’t see that coming!”
He is the ultimate Begending.
Listen to the promises He makes to His children in unpredictable times:
- “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG)
- “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)
- “Don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:9, MSG)
- “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
So in moments of upheaval when I feel something slipping from my fingers, I do not have to grasp in panic or cling in fear. Whatever is beyond what I can see is not outside of what He has planned.
I can rest, relax and release. I can let these changes happen because I am confident in Who is behind them. He is good. His mercy endures.
He has made the far longer walk to place our hand in the nail-scarred palm of One who loves us perfectly, unconditionally and eternally. We are espoused to the One who never fails.
His tender voice whispers, “I got this.”
It’s only a begending.