Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflecting on the Day I said “I do”

I just finished watching a slideshow of pictures from my wedding day. It was a beautiful day! We couldn’t have planned it better. The weather was sunny and cool, not cloudy, cold or frigid. The high reached the low 60s. We had a brunch time ceremony, with a start time of 11:30 am, and YES we started on time. I can’t stand waiting, and I certainly didn’t want people waiting on me. Starting on time was a non-negotiable. Confirmation that it would indeed be a lovely day came when my groom was pulling up outside as I was walking into the church. Yes ma’ams (and sirs, because I know some of you are sneaking a peak at this blog, too :-)), we didn’t come to play. We had some business to tend to.

I didn’t sleep well the night before. In the wee hours of the morning I woke up in a panic. Like a dog chasing her tail, I tossed myself around on my hands and knees in the middle of my hotel bed looking for my cell phone. It was 3ish in the a.m. Whew! I could have sworn I saw the sun laughing at me through those blackout curtains signaling a missed 6a.m. hair appointment, but alas it wasn’t so. Needless to say, trying to get any sleep from that point was a useless endeavor.

Watching the slideshow brought some less joyful, untapped emotions of my wedding day storming to the surface. I guess they’ve had enough and refused to lie dormant any longer. I did cried that morning, a little, but I knew there were more tears where those came from. There wasn’t one nervous bone in my body as I walked that 100 foot aisle to the altar. I knew I was at the right place at the right time, and we were surrounded by our closest friends and family on both sides. Sadness stirred as one by one I saw the faces of my father’s friends. Somehow each of them seemed to be perched right along the aisle. Tears began to breach the borders of my eyelids, but I held it together for the most part.

So I knew this wasn’t the end of the story. In my hotel room that morning, I prayed. I told the Lord, “I still don’t get it, but I’ll go on.” I was talking about the fact my father wasn’t there. One of his very best friends gave me away. It was a beautiful thing, and I know my father was happy I chose him. There was no better choice, but a substitution no matter how appropriate is still a substitution.

Today, it finally hit me. I am the 3rd of 4 girls. Daddy was present for the marriage of each of my 3 sisters. For many years I prayed he’d be present for me, as well. Maybe subconsciously I knew he wouldn’t be. I don’t know. Although sometimes I don’t understand God’s timing, will and ways, I will go on. I must go on.

Looking at that slideshow reminded me just how beautiful our wedding day truly was. Sean and I have chatted quite a bit about our inability to take credit for the abundant blessings that worked together to create such a beautiful occasion, not to mention the work of the Lord that brought us together. We are humbled and thankful. If the Lord wills, there’s a whole lot of life left ahead of us, and I know daddy would want me to soak it all up. That’s exactly what I plan on doing.

“You are safe in my heart and my heart will go on and on.”

Daddy, this song is for you.

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 1, 2012

On the Road to the Altar – 54 Days left

Sunday in church our campus pastor shared the story of a young newlywed couple (members of the church). On their wedding day, the excited groom presented his blushing bride with a bag filled with 77 marbles (I believe he said they were purple). The marbles were to represent the number of years of marital bliss he hoped they’d share together.

The couple’s lifetime of holy matrimony lasted somewhere around a year. Til death do us part came unannounced and much earlier than either of them ever imagined. The groom died in a tragic accident while communing with God’s goodness on a nature hike. I imagine this beautiful young woman’s bag of shiny purple marbles now felt like no more than shards of their shattered dream and her broken heart.

With 55 (54, by the time you read this) days until my wedding day, the truth of this young woman’s story and the reality of the uncertain future that lies ahead of me is now lodged in my throat and tries to take my breath away.

I wept at my seat as an entry from this young widow’s personal journal was read aloud to a very silent congregation. My tears met the cries of her heart poured onto these pages. I identified with her basic pain of losing a loved one and my thoughts threatened to careen out of control at the mere possibility that something so tragic could happen to me in the early morn of my marriage soon to come.

The text (biblical scripture reference) for yesterday’s message was Philippians 4:12, 13.

12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Armed with these verses I can annihilate those extra pounds I want to lose; I can steward a bank account that runneth over or I can manage a more meager existence. I can diligently type my way to my first book or I can wade through the frigid waters of rejection letters. With the strength of Jesus Christ, I can be high, low or anywhere in between yet be content and make it through, right?

But could I survive that?? Could I do that thing? Could I walk her path?

I’ll be honest. Hearing this woman’s story made me shake. Indeed, life is unpredictable; I get that. But what do I do with this truth as I prepare for my own bag of marbles? I can’t say I landed on any solid answers except this: I keep going. That’s all. I just keep going. I commit myself to this very moment, because this moment, this breath is really all that’s certain.

My heart bleeds for this woman, and I admire the grace and courage she’s exhibiting as she puts one foot in front of the other and tries to tap into the power of the verses above. Lord knows I don’t know what I’d do if I suddenly, quickly, unexpectedly lost the man I’ve waited and prepared so long for. Today, that’s not my “all things,” so there’s no sense in my trying to figure out what I’d do if it were. Nope. I’m moving forward, carrying her story in my heart as a reminder that life is precious; our loved ones should feel and know they are loved, and I now have a mere 54 days left on this road to the altar (*insert me dancing a little jig here*).

Until next time…

Completely me,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Experience of Love

Whew!

May I just note that my Love is in the Air post from a few days ago really generated some MAJOR traffic to my blog home, far more than I’m used to getting. WOW! I mean, this was the likes of rush hour in my city, all for my little corner of the blog neighborhood. I hope it’s a preview of things to come, because I love sharing with you all. Now if I could just convince my visitors to leave a comment. *Hint:Hint* Hmph… I guess I’ll have to work on that one. Anyhoo, it was wonderful seeing how this positive four letter word still commands such attention.

Love is a pretty wonderful topic, isn’t it? Let’s face it; it’s something we all enjoy hearing about, talking about, and definitely experiencing first hand. Some of us spend our entire lives in pursuit of it. Some of us are disappointed when we find it, only to discover it wasn’t the real thing at all. It was just an illusion, a counterfeit, an imposter!

Confession: Over the years, I’ve become pretty well-versed in the “illusion, counterfeit and imposter” areas.

No sympathy needed. These experiences taught me priceless lessons. One such lesson is it’s impossible to truly know what love is – what it looks and feels like – without considering the source of love. Here is what I found:

1 John 4:8b – …for God is love.

GOD. IS. LOVE!

I can tell my last post ignited a mini firestorm of curiosity and led many new visitors to my little blog home. They may have been intrigued by the picture and possibly expecting to read some big BLING announcement. If that was the case, I’m sorry to disappoint. However, the real jewel in that post was that small passage of 8 verses in 1 Corinthians 13, and I hope you didn’t miss this treasure. Those verses outline, what I consider to be, the character and personality of love. Understanding this passage is crucial to navigating, with wisdom, the most pivotal relationships in our lives – relationships with family, friends, and (if the Lord wills) future husbands for us single girls. Knowing ourselves is one aspect. Knowing the origin and character of love is another. Without the proper perspective, we are at risk of mismanaging, or even being abused in the name of, this sweet gift.

Again, this is surface talk. We’ll go deeper later, and I’ll even share some of my personal love-like experiences that led me to the lesson I mentioned above. That lesson moved me from a painful path to a positive one. The new path is reflected in the picture you saw in the last post. So far, so good… 🙂 (If you missed it and you want to know what all the hype was about, click here.)

Until next time…

Completely ME,

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