I have written on this topic before so nothing I say will be particularly new. But, this past weekend when we ventured up to North Carolina to participate in Scott Brown's Memorial Day picnic, we had the benefit of witnessing some of the fruit of courtship. Nothing encourages quite like seeing those who are a little farther down the path and to witness the good fruit of your convictions vicariously. What a blessing it was!
Since I first talked about our convictions and decisions, my daughters have grown older. I now have one daughter of marrying age and one very close. Unlike today's culture, I do not encourage my daughters to delay marriage. I pray that the Lord will send them the husband of His choosing in good time so that they may enjoy marriage and children from an early age. I was married at 21 and I have always found that to be a great gift of the Lord.
We have one camp of relatives and friends that are telling my girls to wait. Don't get 'strapped down' with a husband and children too early. There's plenty of time for that. Enjoy life! See the world! Get a college degree! Build a career! And, as I heard Voddie Baucham say in a recent talk, suck all the fun you can out of life and when you've done it all and there's nothing left, get married and die. Gotta love that Voddie!
Our view is that our daughters have been prepared by the Lord and by us from birth to be wives, mothers and keepers of their homes. It is their dream, their aspiration and their calling. In the Lord's good time, we pray He will be pleased to send them the husband He has chosen and He will bless them with a houseful of delightful children!
Then there is another group of concerned citizens that accuse us of sheltering our poor girls. Our twenty year old daughter has never been kissed. ~gasp~ She has never been on a date. ~shudder~ She has never had a boyfriend. ~oh, the inhumanity!~ This makes a few people a little twitchy. As much as we aspire to see our girls married and embracing their call as wife and mother, we also don't allow them to frolic about the dating scene. How can these two convictions possibly go together? After all, if we want for our daughters to marry, shouldn't we let them get out there and find themselves a man?
The correct answer is no.
Here is our position in a nutshell. We believe the Lord has chosen each husband and wife for each of our children before the foundation of the earth. Our children are preparing themselves for this man or woman and have been throughout their lives. We have prayed for these future spouses. They are preparing and keeping their hearts for these future spouses. Our daughters do not pursue a husband. We believe scripturally the Lord reveals to the man His choice for a wife and the man then, out of reverence for the Word of God and respect for familial authority, approaches the father of the young lady for permission to pursue her with the intent of marriage.
From this point on, courtship will look different for every family and probably different for every son and daughter in our family. We will let the Lord lead us when He brings us to that phase of life.
Making the commitment to not only keep physically pure but also emotionally pure is unusual, unfortunately. But, this past weekend in North Carolina, we were surrounded by many happy endings. David Brown, at the ripe old age of 18, married his bride... the one he had set his intentions on when he was 13. The one he built a beautiful house for when he was 16. The one he prepared for all his adolescent years. He married her and they are expecting their first baby. They are both 19. Another courting couple was happily married and expecting their first child. All the families that we met were like minded in this and the interaction between the children was respectful and refreshing. The little boys waited to be seated until the girls all had a seat. A brother traded places with a sister so that the sister would not be put in the awkward position of sitting next to an unknown boy (who happened to be my oldest son). The boys catered to the girls with a protective and respectful reverence. I can't even express what a balm to my heart it was to witness this at all the various ages represented.
There is a reason why we do the things we do. There is one purpose in all things and that is to glorify the Lord and to give great weight and significance to the things the Lord says are to be dear. The relationship between husband and wife is one of those things. My daughters are ready, in the Lord's timing, to be wives to their husbands... husbands we have prayerfully remembered and asked the Lord to raise up under the stewardship of like minded godly parents who are no doubt praying the same for my girls right now.
When the Lord brings them together, it will be a time of great rejoicing for both of our families and I pray that the testimony they will have on that day will be an encouragement to other families a little farther back on the path.
And, I can't wait to be a grandmother. Icing on the cake.