“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV).
Lately, I’ve been pondering full-circle moments, as I see each as an opportunity to acknowledge, despite all life’s twists and turns, that we’re right where God intended, rooted in love.
Perhaps I’m thinking of this largely because our oldest son recently married sweet Jordan, a bright and beautiful girl who’s been a delight to get to know, and we love her so much already.
Still, when one’s child marries, there’s that natural tug on the heart–a reminder that things have changed, that time’s passed. It’s in no way bad–just a stepping over a threshold, into a new season, undoubtedly with unknowns yet to be discovered.
I spent some time during the days prior to Ian’s wedding going through his cedar chest–rereading his baby book, the journal I kept, as well as the birthmother memory book he’s blessed to have from dear Cindy, his biological mother.
One recurring theme woven in and throughout all the items so carefully tucked away in that box is this–
God is faithful in all life’s seasons. He keeps His promises. He has a plan, and His plan is perfect.
Thus, after all those moments spent walking down memory lane, here are several ways I’ve seen God bring us full-circle.
Even though they’re written personally to our son Ian, they’re here for others to ponder as well. Because, no matter the season in which one finds him or herself, my prayer is that these will point each to a Savior who not only journeys with us but who delights in seeing us discover His full-circle moments.
And for what purpose?
That we might give Him praise.
You can’t possibly remember that day. You were merely a week when Cindy, who’d returned to school at the University of South Carolina, came for a visit–brought several of her closest friends too. Each took turns holding you, cooing over you, smiling down upon you.
You were so small, yet so strong, and I know Cindy must have wondered what her future would bring. Not yet two decades, she’d already endured the most heart-wrenching of decisions–whether to keep you or place you for adoption. She could tell you more, but I know a lot, and despite her shy nature, she’s never shied away from saying how difficult this was and yet, in the long run, how rewarding.
And on the day of your wedding, as Lynyrd Skynyrd sang Simple Man and we danced, I felt like all 2-dozen of your years passed before my eyes. Then, when you called Cindy to come and join us, well… that’s when I saw a full-circle moment, knew beyond doubt your special day was only possible because of the love and sacrifice of this wonderful woman.
I hope you sense it too–that you can know without question that God had a plan when He took you and placed you in her arms, then into mine, your dad’s. And we place you now into the arms of another, the woman you’ve chosen as your bride, and we do so with all joy.
Full-Circle Question–How have you seen God reveal a part(s) of His beautiful plan that you might have otherwise believed to be merely shards of brokenness?
And Ian, as we danced and I kissed my grown son’s cheek, I whispered in your ear, “Being a ‘simple man’–that’s what I’ve encouraged, haven’t I?” Even when you were a wee one, as little as your sweet Lila Grace and Emory Wren are now, I’d kiss your cheeks and try to teach you about the birds and flowers and trees. I desired to instill in you a love for God’s creation but, even more, an abiding love for the Creator, that you might, even while young, thank Him for the sun, the rain, and animals, too–like your kitten Beatrix Potter.
And as we danced, you affirmed with a smile, “Yes, Mama–you did.” And you made me smile as well, through tears, because I’m just so proud of you. So blessed by you, and so thankful for the difference you’re making in this world. And in that moment, things came full-circle, and I whispered again my gratitude to God.
Full-Circle Question–What things in God’s creation point you to Him? To His love? To His sovereignty? Have you thanked Him?
Son, your dad and I remember the day of your baby dedication. You were only several months but so very happy–full of giggles. We couldn’t take our eyes off you, and, despite our differences with regard to skin and eye color (You didn’t have much hair!), I saw myself–and Daddy too!–when I looked at you. I saw joy and light and life–and we knew you were ours.
You’d been born out of pain and longing, as we’d waited through dark, weary days sometimes–wondering when you’d come. So on that day, the day of your dedication–when Pastor proclaimed that you belonged to the Lord, exhorting you (though you couldn’t understand) to love Him your whole life long–we beamed just as we beamed as we prepared to walk down that aisle. You took my arm in yours and led me to my seat, your dad following close behind.
And we prayed, in that full-circle moment, that the blessing which was spoken over you on the day you were dedicated was a part of your wedding day too–believing you’ve grown to be a man who, despite imperfection, loves God most. Yes, even more than you love your beautiful bride.
Full-Circle Question–What is a specific prayer that’s been answered in your life or in the life of someone close to you?
And Ian, just as dad cut your hair on your wedding day–“One last time as I single man,” I’d said–he used to cut your hair, too, when you were small. But unlike now, back then you hated it. You’d cry, “Owie! Owie! Owie!”–though we knew it didn’t really hurt, and you were just scared of the hair clipper’s buzz.
As I sat on the floor beside your cedar chest the other day, I found an old envelope with bits of your boyhood hair–little curls, like lamb’s wool. I held it in my hand, felt its softness, and remembered those early hair cuts. Though simple, they were intimate times with Daddy, times you learned to trust even when you couldn’t see.
And as I watched him cut your hair again just prior to your departure for the wedding venue, I had a full-circle moment–realizing that, for your whole life, we’ve been trying to find ways to teach you to trust, though, in more recent years, it’s us who needs this lesson. Because, when you leave for work in a world that’s cruel and we read in the paper how sometimes, sometimes, parents’ sons (and daughters) don’t come home, we, too, need to trust.
And you, dear boy, will face unknowns with your sweet Jordan in days to come. There will be times when you can’t see the next step before you because of the cloudy torrent of tears or fears or both. And we pray–Yes, we pray!–you’ll remember to trust the One who always goes with you, who never leaves or forsakes you. That’s His promise!
Full-Circle Question–What’s an area in your life where you’ve had to learn to trust your Father, the One who never leaves, never forsakes?
Oh, the delight to see your sweet Emory Wren with Cindy and Maxx on your wedding day. Lila Grace, too! We all know how much they adore their Marmee and Poppy! And as we shared in the beauty of your special day, I couldn’t help but remember another special day eleven years ago this September 17th, when you stood up as Best Man in Cindy and Maxx’s wedding. So handsome and proud, and what a beautiful testimony of how God works all things together for good–because we love Him and are called according to His plans and purposes.
Wow! What a full-circle moment! And it’s our prayer, dearest Dorian, that you continue to not only see God’s hand in all life’s good and precious gifts but that you also know, even in the difficult, dark times, He is there. He’s at work. He never wastes a suffering. Never! We–your dad and I–are living examples of this truth.
How so? Just look at our life together–with you, your brother and sister… and now with Jordan. It’s simply amazing. Yes, just like the song you chose for your recessional, it’s God’s Amazing Grace!
Full-Circle Question–How has God worked all things together for your good?
Yes, dearest Ian–God is good. And I’ll say it again, just as each item in your cedar chest–every bootie, blanket, onesie and journal entry attests to…
God is faithful. He keeps His promises. He has a plan, and it’s perfect.
Dearest Savior, thank You for all those full-circle moments. As we acknowledge them, may we humbly thank You for Your presence in our lives. For Your faithfulness. For Your love.
So be it.