Someone I love very much is getting married tomorrow.
I don’t remember the exact moment I met Audrey, but I remember the note I received from her 14-year-old self seven years ago, telling me that she and the girls at her 8th grade lunch table were praying for me every day.
You remember. Eight years ago I was 26 and expecting to lose our daughter Evie. These girls knew because their families attended our church, and so they agreed among themselves to commit to praying for our family every day.
We were newish to the area, in a newish church plant, and newish to the idea of opening our home and lives to young people who would most certainly require more teaching and investing than they would ever be able to repay. But there was an urging from the Lord to let these girls in—these girls who were boldly taking my name to the Father, spring chickens though they were.
I should have known then that the tables were turned from the beginning—that I would spend the next eight years watching Audrey and her friend Lizzie pray for those in need, give their teenage lives to caring for orphans and widows at home and abroad, learning languages that would equip them to love, and serving when the world was prepared to serve them.
These girls. Do you know we literally never paid for a babysitter our first five years of parenting? They were always willing to love our babies, always insisting that it was their privilege to be in our home, and yes, always praying for us.
We spent a lot of time in the kitchen together. I taught the girls how to roast chickens and bake pies and the quickest way to bring butter to room temperature. While we cooked, we talked. We talked a lot about Africa, and Iraq and broken systems and the issues that weighed heavily on their teenage (yet somehow, so adult!) hearts.
I told them stories about dating Ryan, and how the entire time I dated him, I kept a journal full of notes to my future husband, never assuming it was Ryan. I told them about how writing to my future husband kept me accountable in my relationship with Ryan. I was determined to remain faithful to that future guy, even through our engagement. I got to tell them about the moment, on my wedding day, I handed that book to my Ryan, ready to vow to be his forever.
That Christmas I wrapped up blank journals for the girls—“husband journals”, we called them.
About a month ago, I got a text from Audrey. It was a picture of her husband journal, with a note:
“Do you remember that you gave me a husband journal for Christmas in 2008?! Here it is now, almost full and stuffed with letters and things and ready to be given to him in a few weeks! So grateful for that gift.”
These girls have made more of a difference in my life than I could ever make in theirs. But knowing that the Lord put us together—that He chose to use me in their lives as a mentor—is one of the greatest privileges I’ll ever know. And tomorrow afternoon, our Hazel—the baby we all hoped and prayed for together—will be the flower girl in the wedding of a bride I’ve been praying for for years.
Today, I’m making a flower crown for Hazel to wear in Audrey’s wedding. Audrey hoped and prayed with me for Hazel, and Hazel has grown up loving Audrey. God is good.
And tomorrow, as our Audrey-girl walks down the aisle to the love of her life, we will be giving thanks for the front row seat we’ve had these past seven years to watch this young girl grow into a lovely women—a wife!
All the congratulations and best wishes in the world, Jamie and Audrey! Praising the Lord for the work He has begun and is just now beginning in your lives together!