Just a few Saturdays ago, in a worship field in Dallas, Georgia, I became a mother-in-law again. #1 Son married a precious beauty who sets his world aright in the company of a very few. Mr. and Mrs. ReillyThey wanted something very small and intimate. Though they have known each other since 2005, they reconnected at the neighborhood cookie swap last fall and have been engaged since early April.

Becoming a mother-in-law for the first time in 2011 found me influenced by both good and not-so-good examples. As taught to me by a wise woman years ago, “If you treat the son-in-law well, you’ll see your daughter often.”  She helped give me a great start.ChristineMark

Care packages would be sent every other month filled with consumables: holiday paper plates, napkins, ingredients to favorite recipes, gift cards, and cold/fever medicines that can break the budget of a young couple in bible college. Encouraging text messages were sent with no expectations of a reply. We celebrated and encouraged our son-in-law’s hobbies with golf balls and his zeal for caffeine with Dunkin’ Donut gift cards. We began building memories and family stories with him in them like when we took the whole family to an NFL football game.

NoahFamCMasThe first night we met Pretty Girl as a family was Christmas Eve and a colleague took our first family photo where she was included.  We have sought to love on her ever since with scrapbook materials, flowers, dinners, lunches, pretty shoes, lots of hugs, afternoon tea, and being fully present whenever she enters the door.

As I sat on the front pew watching Pretty Girl sway back in forth in giddy nervousness that Saturday, my eyes were on #1 Son who would take on the world for her.  As I thought of how he’d love and protect her, he reached up to brush away a bug from her arm (the worship field is surrounded by woods.)Mr. and Mrs. Reilly 2-91

This time around, it’s not just me reaching out to my new in-law. I am surrounded by a posse of Titus 2 women who have been blessing the socks off this new Daughter-in-Love (DIL) from practically day-one.  These are the Bridesmaids of my life.

The Titus 2 women and their families who have surrounded this young couple come from church, from #1 Son’s childhood, from my prayer group, from my Emmaus reunion group.  These are the Bridesmaids of my life.

A small wedding has it’s own challenges, yet table decorations and flowers Mr. and Mrs. Reilly-10appeared from the hands of #1 Son’s Children’s Pastor and my prayer partner in the middle school/Nineva days.  Picking up the cake, we found a note attached that it’d already been paid for by the parents of one of my past preschool students.  Loading up the food at the local bbq joint, another note was passed to me that it, too, had been paid for by two couples who we share life with in my Emmaus Reunion group.  The officiant was a clergy person who had watched #1 Son grow through high school into this fine young man who pays his own rent, has a job in his degMr. and Mrs. Reilly-80ree field, and has prayed for him, along with my other Bridesmaids for longer than I can even recall.  Another Bridesmaid provided for their first dinner to be celebrated on their honeymoon.  Photographs were taken by a husband and wife team who have shared every remarkable moment of our lives for years. These are the Bridesmaids of my life.

The last two weeks have also been filed with taking my Mother-in-Law to multiple doctor’s appointments always followed by a girly lunch. In 29 years, Pretty Girl may just be wheeling me around to my doctor’s appointments.  I hope she’ll like to do lunch.Mr. and Mrs. Reilly 2-128

“For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”  Ruth 1:36