Extravaganza? Yes! Led by one of our creative Hills' Children's Ministry leaders, Susan Conway from our South Lake campus, it was a night of arts and crafts, dessert buffet, dinner, dancing, pictures and carriage rides--everything a little girl dreams about happened at this event--extravaganza! My daughter and I had a magical and memorable time together.
With the door bell rang, the flowers given, this picture taken and the door to the car open--we began our daddy daughter date night. As I said, extravaganza! We had a blast completing arts and crafts, eating a fabulous meal, dancing to all types of music (yes, Bieber Fever raised its ugly head on the dance floor) and taking three rounds on the horse drawn carriage. All of this was memorable but what followed transformed the night into a powerful moment of blessing and transition.
Towards the end of the night Chris John, one of our outstanding church leaders, called all dads and daughters into a circle in which each was facing the other. With permission, here are the words Chris shared (be warned, they are Kleenex worthy and powerful):
Tonight is a very special night. It’s a night that you will treasure forever. This is a night for the Daddies to honor their daughters. This is a night that is the beginning for some and the end for others. We want you to see your daughter for the princess she is-not a princess of worldly things but a princess because her father is the King Of Kings. Yes, all you men are pretty important but our heavenly Father is our King of Kings.
I would like all the Fathers to get on a circle with their backs to the middle of the circle. Have your daughter or daughters stand in front of you facing you. You may want to kneel on their level or just bend down to them. I would like all the Fathers to repeat after me.
Father: I promise to always love and honor you
Father: I promise to be the kind of Father you can look up to and be proud of.
Father: I promise to raise you with God in the center of our family.
Father: I promise to raise you into a loving Christian Women.
Father: so you will find a Christian Husband who will honor you and God.
Father: I will always be here for you. Forever and always.
Father: I will hold your heart until God is ready for your future husband to hold it
Wow! Saying these words, while looking into your daughter's eyes, is both an awesome affirmation and challenge for dads. But wait--it got even better. Chris then called current 5th grader daughters and their dads into the center of the circle. You get a sense of what happened next from his notes:
Call the 5th grade girls and their Dads to the center of the circle and have everyone else face the center as well.
Talk about Jesus and their Dads being the Cornerstone of their lives
Pray over the 5th graders and the rest of the Daddies and daughter.
Here is a picture of that inner circle.
Chris spoke of how the young ladies were about to enter their teenage years, affirmed the change and assured them that their dads and the family of faith would be with them through it all. Did I say "Wow!" It was a powerful Rite of Passage moment that no one will be able to forget (which is exactly the goal of such programming).
Shortly after the blessing the dessert bar opened for celebration and then the song played--butterfly kisses. My daughter and I were swaying slowly with the music when she suddenly stopped, motioned for me to bend down, stood up on her tip toes, and gave me a butterfly kiss--priceless!