It has been a long time since I’ve published anything. This stems from a few things, one of which being the wedding, which is what we’re going to be talking about today. Roughly two months ago, I married the love of my life.
The first thing I want to mention is how grateful my husband and I are for the community around us. On our wedding day, and estimated three hundred people showed up. Each Sunday since then, folks have stopped us in the church hallway to thank us for how we opened it up to everyone, that they could come. This left us with a little something to set straight. Jonny and I are the grateful ones here. Having moved over from California just under a year ago to be a missionary here and do life with an insane half-gypsy woman who was still on her Indian escapade, Jonny was surprised just to have his immediate family able to attend. Being the insane half-gypsy, I was shocked when four of my Youth With A Mission friends were able to fly in from all over the States and Europe, as well as two of my Danish half-gypsy cousins. If only this small little band had been our witnesses, we would have been happy. But no, my god-brother came down mid-semester from Michigan to be there, and without him Jonny and I wouldn’t have been able to eat that night, things were so crazy. Friends from high school made the hour long drive. The entire church congregation, the ones who raised me and supported me, who accepted my then groom-to-be into the flock instantaneously all came and brought enough food that after we all had feasted, forty of the Miami Beach homeless community were fed full plates of it the following day. We didn’t know this until after we had returned from our honeymoon- this was all done singlehandedly and quietly by one of the wedding guests. Never have I felt more celebrated or treasured than on this day.
Let me give you a bit of insight into how the weekend went down. It began with two fellow Southeast Asia sojourners arriving at my sister’s house for an Indian wedding blessing, given to me by a sweet sister who has run sound and discipled me for years. During this incredibly sweet time, my engagement ring went missing. While you can read the rest of that story here, suffice it to say the women around me amazed me with their compassion and grace, reminding me both that everything will be okay, because it always is, but that I was allowed to be upset and feel the loss of such a special ring.
Fast forward to the day before the wedding. Nerves and sickness finally beginning to set full sail, I was ushered into an office while close friends and family, especially Jonny’s mother and sister and my own mother’s best friend, transformed our church in the middle of the city into the garden of Lebanon. While I rested and relearned the art of breathing, they all ordered pizza and called me down only to eat, then caravanning me back into hiding, forcing me to only be a bride in the way they all knew I needed. When I did come down, the beauty of it all was overwhelming. My girlhood bridal fantasies were all tangibly in front of me, and I had nothing to do with it. Reader, I am so undeserving, but I am so grateful.
As I write this, I am struck by the image of Christ’s way with us which this paints. Once we give Him access, He comes in, takes old concrete walls in the busiest intersection of a metropolis, and transforms it to Eden.
Anyways, back to the story, because it gets better. The church is decorated, we have the rehearsal, during which time Chris, the one who very literally kept me alive when I was sick in India, is dubbed a groomsman last minute, and we head over to Soyka for a sweet rehearsal dinner. Following the dinner, the ladies headed back to David and Isabelle’s for a bridesmaid slumber party, kicking David out to my parents’ place so we could have full reign. Full of laughter, memories, righteous anger and sisterhood solidarity, it was a night I will never forget. The next morning, my father picked me up for breakfast. For years, he and I have made a point to try and have breakfast together at least once a week. This was the last one where I belonged solely to him, and we both felt it.
After breakfast, he dropped me back off at his house to get ready with the ladies, who had been carted over by David while I was eating. Celebrating with exorbitant amounts of coffee and chocolate, the get ready time was along the same lines of the previous night, this time also with the only hairdresser I trust added to the mix, as well as Heather, my mentor, boss, and today, wedding photographer. We stayed mostly in the living room, getting ready and giggling all together in one place. However, when the time came for me to get my dress on, fresh coffee was drenched down the front of it. Mind you, there had been no coffee in the room for over twenty four hours. Think what you will, but I have become familiar with demonic attacks of this kind and remain convinced that this and the ring saga were both such cases. Either way, the bridesmaids got to work while I sat in shock in a corner. First, baby wipes. One, who had just run to K-Mart to replace the tiara which had also gone missing overnight, was ready to run with me to pick up the prettiest white dress Goodwill could offer the moment I said “go.” The baby wipes were out, drenching up the cold, wet liquid. When they had done all they could, out came the baby powder, then the dry shampoo, until finally all that was left was a little spot Heather convinced me simply added to the antique feel of the dress. And we laughed. As a houseful of women, we laughed. Because at this point, it was funny, and nothing could steal the joy of this day.
I’m realizing in this season that that is one of the main lesson’s Abba is teaching me. When the small things hit, the things you felt you could control suddenly take a turn, how will you react? Will you let it overtake you, or decide simply to laugh, because in the end the spots add character and nothing is worth stealing any day’s joy.
Fast forward to the ceremony. In all the years we’ve been at this building, I have never seen the church so packed. When Jonny and I saw the amount of people who had come out to support us, it was overwhelming. Come the reception, everyone is laughing and hugging and eating, like the family we are. Because we had a potluck, everything was family-style, so Heather’s daughter stepped up to the plate serving around hors d’oeuvres and desserts. As I mentioned early, Don, my god-brother, gave me his plate of food, then waded through the sea of people to get Jonny dinner, routinely checking in on us afterwards. The words of wisdom and blessings from everyone around us kept flowing as the night went on… Reader, never in my life have I felt so loved.
So when we hear someone is grateful they were invited, touched by how we opened it up to the congregation, know this: we are the grateful ones. We did nothing, you all did everything. In this mess of words, that is all I am hoping to somehow express. This is our thank you. Our thank you for supporting us through everything, all the crazy, all the time leading up the wedding, before our engagement was even fully known. Our thank you for how you have loved me for as long as I can remember, been the village that raised me. Our thank you for how you welcomed him into this merry band of Jesus followers. Our thank you for how you have continued to support us since the wedding. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Until next time,
p.s. It felt so good to write again. Thanks for reading this.