By Mike Willis
About the time that you read this, the Lord willing, my family will be attending the wedding of our daughter Jennifer Lynette to Robert Mann of Phoenix, Arizona. They are to be married on June 10th. I have just one daughter, so her wedding day is a special day for our family. I hope that our readers will not feel that these following remarks are an imposition. I recognize that this day happens in every family, but I have just one daughter to give away in marriage.
A Daughter Is A Special Treasure
I do not altogether understand why fathers and daughters bond the way they do, but I recognize that they do. From the beginning of her life on June 15, 1971, she has been so very precious. She and I are so much alike. We have the same brown eyes, serious nature, drive to succeed, temperament, and so many other similar qualities. I have learned so much about myself watching her mature.
There are moments in her life indelibly impressed on my memory. I shall never forget her sitting on the big rock at the end of the driveway waiting to catch the bus on her first day of school, while her mother and I fought back tears in the garage. We enjoyed snow sledding together and she has persuaded me to risk my life on every roller coaster within driving distance so that she could watch me cringe. Her sensitive nature made watching movies together a tearful experience, much to her embarassment and her brother’s delight. Her participation in school plays always caused a lump to come into my throat and a tear in my eye. I’ll never hear “The Rose” without thinking of her singing it in a program at junior high school.
Teaching her to drive was an unforgettable experience. Her mother never had the courage to undertake the task. Consequently, Jennifer learned under my guidance and she drives as aggressively as most men. Aside from several scares, a damaged gas pump and one dented door, we came through learning to drive without much damage.
Her baptism is recorded on audio cassette. Brother Harold Smith was leading “I Am Coming Home” as the invitation song at the Knollwood congregation in Xenia, Ohio when she came forward to be baptized. I knew she was coming forward and had some remarks prepared to say, but I never got them out. Tears began to trickle down my cheeks and I don’t remember much else that happened that Sunday night. I do understand the significance of what happened a commitment to the Lord that impacted every aspect of her life.
Soon the days came when she began dating and there were a new set of concerns in the hearts of her parents. We worried about her marrying a Christian and have prayed about it so many times. She met her future husband while she was dating his roommate. When she concluded that relationship was not going anywhere and realized that she wanted to date his roommate, she called me and asked, “Dad, how long do you think I should wait before dating Robbie?” I replied, “Two or three weeks.” Not hearing the answer she wanted, Jennifer exclaimed, “Two or three weeks! Let me talk to Mom!” They started dating later that week and have been together ever since.
Sandy and I thank God that our future son-in-law is also our brother in Christ. Jenny and Robbie’s commitment to Christ has been such an encouragement during the four and one-half years they have dated. They have conducted themselves in a way becoming to a Christian during these years. Their innocence has sometimes been humorous, but always appreciated.
So Richly Blessed to Have Christian Children
Our home has not escaped the turmoils and conflicts of rearing children to adulthood. However, we have been richly blessed not to experience so many troubles common to American families. We have never experienced such troubles as drugs, drunkenness, an illegitimate baby, and other troubles common to godless children. We did not have a battle royal over the prom she never asked to go. Jennifer has a personal faith in Jesus that has guided her moral decisions. Her purity through her teenage years is what motivated me to dedicate the workbook which I wrote on the book of Proverbs to her. We have been blessed to have a daughter who has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There are millions of parents who would gladly trade their set of troubles with their children for the small problems with which we have had to wrestle.
As the father of the bride, I can assure you that our way has been easier because of our decision to live according to the commandments of the Lord as revealed in the Bible. Without reservation, I commend the Bible to other parents who are seeking guidance in establishing their home and in rearing their children.
Her Wedding Ceremony
When the decision was made about whether or not I would conduct the wedding ceremony, Jennifer and her mother decided that choosing me to conduct the wedding would be inappropriate because I would break down in tears and become a distraction. Consequently, everyone agreed that we should ask H.E. Phillips to perform Jennifer and Robbie’s wedding ceremony. And why not? While attending Florida College, they worshiped at Fletcher Avenue, where brother Phillips served as an elder. He became their close friend. Recently, brother Phillips wrote Jennifer an 8-page letter about their upcoming wedding and signed it, “Your adopted grandfather.” And besides that, in 1966 he performed the wedding ceremony for two eighteen-year-olds who became Jennifer’s parents. Sandy and I will celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary just eight days after Jennifer’s wedding.
So, if our family of readers will kindly remember my family in your prayers on June 10, I will appreciate it. I will be consumed in activities related thereto between now and then. Bear with me for she’s my only daughter. We’ll keep this magazine rolling right on through these times. Perhaps these moments of my nostalgia will evoke a few warm thoughts and stimulate some kind words and deeds toward those whom you love.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 11, p. 2
June 2, 1994