Monday, October 24, 2011

I Have and I Always Will

Who doesn't love a good wedding?
This is a rhetorical question. If you're about to volunteer as the lonely miser who doesn't, please refrain.. I'm really trying to work on being less judgemental, and if witnessing two people promise to love each other unconditionally forever followed by a rockin' reception celebrating the union doesn't put a smile on your face, I can't help but question your character.

A few weekends ago I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the wedding of a friend who means the world to me (I think I've mentioned her before). A and her guy, J, have quite a unique, God-written love story that is inspiring for so many reasons, all of which were magnified throughout the week leading up to the big day. Everything about it defied all worldly odds, yet there they were, three and a half years later, officially uniting their two lives into one. I say officially because I doubt anyone in attendance that day would disagree that there was little in either of A & J's lives that they hadn't already joined together through love and sacrifice.

Love and sacrifice.

(Sound familiar?)

Like I said, there are so many inspiring things about these two, individually and as a couple. But as I was trying (and failing) to fall asleep that Friday night after the craziness of day-before prep had died down and the excitement of night-before fun with friends was complete, I started thinking.. why does the relationship these two have stir me like it does? I mean, it's always awesome to be witness to two people who are undeniably meant for one another take their relationship to the next level, but A & J had something more. What was it about them?

Love and sacrifice.
I'm a sucker for a good fairy tale, as attested to by my childhood Disney VHS tape collection. But even so, there are no impractical glass slippers sitting in A's closet, nor is there a team of seven glorified garden gnomes doing their dishes after every meal. J didn't have to slay any dragons or climb a rope made of human hair to win A's heart, and the words "happily ever after" may never be used to describe the next fifty years. But still, they have something. What was it??

Love and sacrifice.
Finally It hit me that what they have goes so much deeper than romantic ideals so prominent these days, and most importantly it reflects the One who is Love. It's the kind of love that lays dow its needs and desires for the other person, tries its best to be patient, kind, and unselfish, and refuses to give up when it would be easier to say, "forget it". It forgives bad attitudes and overlooks bad hair days, dealing with the best and the worst of things with a good sense of humor, some hard truths spoken with a pure heart, and a lot of time spent talking to the Father. It's the love Jesus showed the world when He sacrificed himself by being was nailed to the cross and what he told the disciples to do through His Spirit when He rose up again . And it personifies Ephesians 5:22-23 and Colossians 3:18-19, where Paul tells husbands and wives how to love and respect one another. The love these two share gets to me because it touches on what I deeply need and continuously recieve from my Heavenly Father every single day, and it's inspiring because it's an example of what I know in my spirit that I'm supposed to give to everyone I encounter, whether or not they deserve it. It's basis of the 1st and 2nd greatest commandments, pulsing through the veins of everyone who's made in the image of the Almighty. We're all searching for it, we all desire to recieve it, and we all feel most complete when we're dishing it out. 

That's the love I see so clearly in A & J, the love that will do what it takes and sacrifice what it must in order to benefit the other person.. and this weekend strengthened my resolve to show that same love to everyone around me, because without it life's really not worth much of anything.

A & her two best Bridesminionsmaids at the rehearsal dinner

The wedding cake (that A made, may I add)

Beautiful A on the big day

The Girls in Green

A & J cutting the cake.

Me and my handsome date :)


And B'maids 1&2 the next morning, as it finally sank in that we'd lost our BF to a boy..
Although we're pretty big fans of Mr. J so I think we'll get over it :)


Finally, here's A & J's first dance song- I Have & I Always Will by Dave Barnes. What a perfect song for the sweetest wedding ever!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Georgia on my Mind

I used to think blogging was only for select groups of people:
  • Starry-eyed newlyweds bubbling over with the joys of their recently discovered domesticity,
  • Mommies and daddies needing a venue to share the latest news about their rapidly growing kiddos with family and friends,
  • Crafty, creative, granola-eating hippie-types trying to convince the rest of us materialistic consumers that we really could do it oursleves if we tried hard enough,
  • And those just plain narcisistic enough to believe that the rest the networked world wants to hear the minute details of their daily comings and goings.
Thankfully Twitter has all but eliminated that last category, but as for the rest, I've obviously changed my tune. I'm unmarried, childless, and void of creative talent, but despite not fitting into any of my self-imposed blog categories I'm hoping that this will be a place that I can share some of what Jesus is doing in my life with those who are bored enough to care to read about it.

So for all 3.5 of you still reading, I want to update you on my latest-

As of January, I will be moving to Georgia!

I 'll be (re)starting school at Brenau University in Gainesville next semester to finish up my degree in Psychology. My heart hurts to have to leave behind my as-close-as-family friends in Searcy, but I know that God has something in store for this new season that is unlike anything He's done so far. There is no question that this is exactly where I'm supposed to be (ask me if you want details.. I would be happy to brag on how gracious Jesus has been with me concerning this transition), but I have to admit that I'm equally as nervous as I am excited about the big move. Needless to say, all your prayers are GREATLY appreciated!

There's a song I want to share that's been that song for me throughout the past few months.. you know, the one playing on the radio every time you turn it on & streaming through every coffee shop you walk into? Building 429's Listen to the Sound was this season's selection. All the lyrics are p-o-w-e-r-f-u-l, but there is one phrase that seemed to be magnified every time I heard it. It said,
"You never know what faith is 'til you don't understand. Sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan."
 If you haven't heard it, I highly recommend taking a second to listen to it:

Leading up to the final decision to move there was a lot of silence from the Lord, something I haven't experienced much until now. I was beginning to get really frustrated and jaded, knowing something needed to change but too scared to do anything about it without clear direction (as in clouds opening, dove coming down, audible voice from heaven-type direction- I'm not picky), when a very wise friend reminded me that far too often

we wait..

and wait..

and wait

for God to give us a definite instruction when what He really requires is movement, any movement, on our part. It didn't sink into my hard head immediately, but when paired with these lyrics and so many other things that were undeniably God-ordained I got it. And the rest is history!

As for what happens next God only knows, and I'm beginning to realize how much better life is when lived that way