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FATHER OF THE GROOM: EL TERCERO (THE THIRD ONE)

Our son Nathan is getting married this weekend!

As the big day approaches, my mind is overflowing with memories. Great memories. Memories of raising a boy who had a happy temperament from day one. His dimpled cheeks, Lake-Michigan-blue eyes, and infectious personality drew me in, and I was hooked! Among the memorable moments of his childhood, here are a few that stand out to me today:

When living in Traverse City, we attended a church where the pastor’s wife would “interview” newer families during Sunday morning service as a way to introduce them to the congregation. One night, while at the pastor’s house for dinner, his wife told Nathan he needed to practice because she would be interviewing our family at church sometime in the near future. So, with a wooden spoon in her hand acting as a microphone, she asked my five-year-old: “Nathan, what would you like to say to all of the nice people here at church today?” And with a huge grin, he blurted out: “I hate you! I hate you all!” I can still hear the belly laughter from everyone in the pastor’s house that evening.

Praying at bed time with Nathan was always a special treat. At an early age, he asked Jesus one night: “Lord please protect me from gingivitis and gum disease.” Apparently, those two maladies were discussed in school earlier that day.

And I’ll always remember Nathan’s favorite word as a youngster… butt. I could insert the word “butt” into any sentence, and Nathan would burst out laughing. He still maintains that people incorrectly pronounce Butte, Montana.

Parenting boys is a privilege. It’s also hard work. It’s exhilarating and disappointing at times, joyful and nerve-wracking at times. You pray for them daily, asking God to help them become godly men, to help them discover their destiny, and to help them find a spouse that loves Jesus and loves them (and loves Laura/me too). When your boys grow toward these prayers, nothing seems better as a parent.

Nathan—you’ve grown into a wonderful young man. You’re funny, considerate, tender-hearted, and kind. Mom and I have always loved you. We’ve enjoyed watching you grow as a man, a Jesus-follower, a soon-to-be husband, and a great employee at 3-Dimensional.

Nathan—we’re proud of you. As the big day nears, we’re happy for you. You have chosen well. Klar—welcome to the Opalewski family! We love you! Can I give both of you a bit of dad-advice? Place Jesus at the center of your home. Learn to depend on Him and not on your own strength. Love unconditionally. Forgive quickly. Make each other your priority. Be willing to take God-inspired risks together.

Mom and I are filled with joy as your special day nears. Nathan and Klar, we speak God’s blessing over you, your marriage, and your life. We commit to pray for you daily and love you unreservedly.

Let the wedding festivities begin!

Dad

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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