Tag Archives: marriage

Wedding Pictures, Part Two

Rick and I just got back from a long walk around the mountain we’re staying on.  Then we drove the car up, up, up a crazy-steep, rutted dirt road to a top-secret cabin hideaway that we’re not staying in.  Ha!  I was really glad Rick was driving on our little adventure.  We just wondered what was down the dirt road and then I really wished we hadn’t been so curious.

While my heart is returning to it’s normal rhythm, I figured I’d post few more photos from the wedding.

Mom helping me with the finishing touches

We were laughing to keep from crying.  I had no idea my mom could make such funny faces.  She helped me keep it together after my makeup was done.  As emotional as I felt, I only shed a few tears throughout the day.

Our Family is Growing!

We had a hard time getting everyone to smile with our eyes open AND keep the 3-year old happy.  My brother-in-law is holding my brand-new nephew.  In order from left to right, we have my brother-in-law, niece and nephew, sister, me and Rick, my little brother, and my parents.

The Entire Female Wedding Party

Here are all the beautiful friends who stood beside me on our wedding day.  They have been the most wonderful friends a person could ask for.

Rick and Me with our Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Our bridesmaids, groomsmen, ring bearer, and the posing-princess, our flower girl!

Lighting the Unity Candle

Thanks for checking out our pictures.  Now we’re off to play some minature golf…

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Wedding Pictures

Me and our flower girl, my niece Alexis, with our matching bracelets.

In between going to the aquarium, riding a ski lift in 18 degree weather, and getting thoroughly beaten in air hockey, I’ve spent a few minutes today working on wedding pictures.  My good friend Leslie Coelho travelled from Michigan to photograph our wedding, then downloaded the pictures to my computer.  I’ve done a little cropping and color-correcting.

Inside the prayer tower at our church

One last father-daughter hug before he gave me away...

One last look in the mirror before walking down the aisle

 

Ceremony Decor

 

Table Setting at the Reception

 

Okay, now my husband is saying I should not be spending time on our honeymoon messing with my blog!  He is waiting for me to make use of our cabin’s hot tub.  I’ll have to catch you all later…  🙂

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I’m Married!

It’s January 1, 2012, and I have been married for 2 1/2 days!  Rick and I are happily holed up in a cabin in the mountains.  We have an amazing honeymoon planned and I have no intention of spending it on my blog…  However, in honor of the new year, I thought I should write one quick post.  I plan to change my blog soon and write about my new experiences as a rural mid-western farmer’s wife.

In the meantime, a few pictures from the wedding for you…

We Did It!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bridal Bouquet and Wedding Rings

My Dearest Friends

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The Inner Ring

There was a time in my life when I didn’t care about marriage.  I’m sure of it.  Really.  There MUST have been…  When I was younger I knew it wasn’t time yet, but I still looked forward to the day I would have a husband, when I would have that part of my future determined and set.  When my parents had my baby brother, I was nearly eleven years old.  I don’t think I realized he wasn’t my own son – until I wanted to go outside and play…  His baby sweetness consumed me and I knew I wanted to have children of my own.  As the years of perpetual singleness dragged on, my empty arms ached, longing to be a part of marriage, a family, that elusive world I couldn’t seem to join in spite of the ease with which nearly everyone around me seemed to be entering it.

One of my favorite writings addresses this issue.  By C.S. Lewis, it’s a 9-page article entitled, “The Inner Ring”, published in his book The Weight of Glory.  He addresses the reality of our human desire to get into the group we are excluded from.  We always want what we think we cannot have, want to be accepted by those who don’t accept us, want to climb over that fence that separates us from whatever is on the other side.  At times, we think there is no way we can be happy until we cross that line.  We strive and strain and turn ourselves inside out, trying to get into that elite group that eludes us.

The craziest part of it all, as Lewis points out, is that once we are a part of the group we wanted so badly to become a part of, it suddenly loses it’s magic.  After all, the group accepted us, so it can’t be as great as we thought it was to begin with!  We realize there is a better group that hasn’t yet accepted us, and so we begin seeking acceptance into the next group.  The rings never end because each time we get deeper into the inner ring, the same thing happens all over again.

Lewis’ answer to this problem is that we should forget about getting into anyone else’s inner ring.  We should do the best we can at what we have to do and soon we will be known for our excellence and be included among those who make decisions about the thing we do.  In our spare time, we should hang out with people we actually like and do fun things with them.  Then we will form friendships and without even meaning to, we will find ourselves at the center of an inner ring of our own.

I’ve been caught up in the tasks of planning my wedding, preparing to move to another area of the country, leaving my jobs and friends and church, settling into a new house, and learning to know and understand my fiance better.  Yet today I opened my email and saw a newsletter from a website for brides that provides resources to help in the planning process, and I stopped for a moment.  I stopped because I had a flash, my heart squeezing tight, remembering how it felt to be on the outside of this inner circle – the inner circle of “bride”.  I remembered the longing, the feeling that I might never belong to the group, might never experience how it felt to be chosen, loved, and accepted, and might never get to pick out the perfect white dress.

Today I took care of some precious children I have grown to love, laughed as the little one threw her arms in the air twirling and dancing, calling for me to watch her, and then helped her older sister write a story for school.  I listened as my precious niece sang me a song and felt the joy of anticipation that I get to spend time with her in a few weeks.  Motherhood now looms before me, the next inner ring that I have not yet been welcomed into.

I have to laugh at myself.  I must be still for a few moments tonight to soak it in, appreciate the tremendous blessing I’m currently walking in.  I don’t want to rush through this beautiful time in my life without even recognizing that this is GOOD. 

Tonight I’m thankful for love, even though I understand it is not the solution to every problem.  I’m thankful for the children God has given me to love at this time, in this way.  I’m thankful for hope – finally a hope I can sink into a bit – that I will one day have children of my own.  I’m thankful for the home being prepared for me, for the family that Rick and I will create, to provide that stability and security I’ve been missing.

And I pray for all my dear friends who stand outside the circle, waiting for the day when the boundary will melt away and they will be welcomed in.  If I could pull you in myself, I would.  Instead, I will pray as so many have done for me.

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Budget

As anyone whose ever planned a wedding before knows, these events are shockingly EXPENSIVE.  The average cost for a wedding today in the USA is just over $20,000.  Yikes!  The daughter of a pastor and a minister myself, these numbers are very intimidating.  There is just no way we could be fiscally responsible and still spend that much money.  And if we chose to spend that much money, what in the world would we do with it all?  My sweet fiance has offered to help out a bit, but he has major expenses to prepare for himself:  honeymoon, new home, furnishings, and eventually, children.  At this time, I don’t have a job lined up there, so he may be supporting us both for a while.  It doesn’t feel right to expect him to make major contributions to it as he prepares for all the other aspects of married life.

My parent’s have been generous with me.  They are handling the lion’s share of the expense, and I am incredibly thankful that I was raised by gracious givers.  As we go to the bank this morning to set up a wedding account, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the wise way they have managed their money over the years.  The legacy they leave me is a great blessing.  With all that gratitude also comes the realization that we cannot afford to spend $1200 on a cake, $5000 on a photographer, $2000 on a wedding dress, and $3000 on a discount videographer.  (All actual, fairly normal amounts to spend.)

I’m a person who has spent my life building relationships.  I love having friends, being a good friend, and networking all the people I know together so they can be blessed.  As I consider my wedding day, it’s hard for me to imagine who I can exclude from that wonderful celebration and meaningful sacrament as we pledge our lives to one another.  Which relationship is less important than the other?  (BIG sigh.)  I keep hearing that I need to cut, cut, cut the guest list and I react strongly against that idea.  I love my family (all 125 of them).  I love my friends.  I want Rick to have his precious family around him (all 150 of them)!

The solution I’ve decided upon is to trust those friends and family who I have spent my life celebrating.  I will have the extremely talented folks I know provide the entertainment, create delicious food, make beautiful pictures, arrange stunning flowers, and manage all the details that we can possibly work together on.  And I’ll be delighted to tap into Rick’s amazing network of friends and family as well.  They are a very talented bunch!  Then I can take our limited budget and use it for materials and supplies.  I am praying that with this philosophy, we will have a beautiful wedding that’s a community affair and brings blessings to many as they are able to display their gifts and talents.

I’m not the kind of person who wants every single person I’ve ever met at my wedding.  I want those who I’ve built relationships with over the years to be there, to celebrate with us.  Rick would probably gladly to go Vegas or get married with our parents and siblings around us.  On this issue, I’m thankful that he has told me the wedding is mine to plan and he’ll do whatever he can to help.  He’s a good, smart man!  Even with all the help from family and friends, we still won’t be able to have an unlimited guest list.  But I’m thankful that we’ll be able to invite many of those who have meant so much to us over the years.

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Man in the Middle

A single woman recently wrote in to an e-newsletter I subscribe to for advice because she’s very attracted to a kind, godly man within her small church.  In spite of her attraction, she’s chosen not to pursue any type of relationship with him because… he’s married.  She’s horrified by her feelings and so she avoids him, doesn’t make eye contact, and can even be cold when he approaches her.  She said he makes an effort to be kind to everyone within their congregation and she feels even worse about not responding warmly to him; but to maintain her integrity, she avoids him as much as possible.  She doesn’t know what else to do.

My heart goes out to her because I understand her struggle well.  I started seminary in 2004, a few months before I turned 29.  I’d been engaged and if the relationship had worked out, could’ve been starting a family at that time.  My emotions were reeling from rejection, loss, and failure.  I already felt like an older bride, and it shamed me to know that I would be even older when I finally married the man God had for me.  Not marrying by age 30 felt like the worst possible failure as a woman. I felt unwanted, like something was deeply wrong with me.  Even though I had been the one to walk away, to choose shame over marriage to a man who wasn’t the best for me, I believed the lie that the failure was mine.  God knew best when He called me to Regent University’s School of Divinity:  the classes, professors, and other students revived my soul.  I learned so much about life, leadership, integrity, friendship, and becoming whole.  When I look back on that time, I see myself entering that world with a raw and bleeding heart and emerging with a whole, healed heart.

During my first week on campus, when I was soaking up the wonder of that place and hoping God had sent me there to finally meet my husband, I met a man.  He was strikingly handsome, which is what I first noticed.  I can’t lie about that…  But I’ve met many handsome men.  What made me notice him was that he was also warm and kind, friendly to everyone, and a capable leader who could think for himself.  He engaged in theological discussion (among other things) without ever making the other person feel less knowledgeable or devaluing their opinions.  He was a student leader, but he was one of the most humble men I had ever met.  I was smitten.

Then one day I saw him at a social event with a woman I had never seen before, and then I saw their children.  Stunned, I realized he was married.  Disappointment and frustration tried to swallow me up.  And a battle began in my soul.

This man and I were in classes together.  A lot of classes.  Small classes.  We worked together on projects and campus activities.  The more I got to know him, the more amazing he became to me.  And he was so kind and friendly – never flirtatious, but genuinely caring.  One day I realized I was in the middle of a daydream about what my life would be like as his wife and step-mother to his children.  Ugh!  Thoroughly disgusted with myself, I turned to God in desperate prayer.  What do I do with these feelings, Lord?

God took me through a process then of learning to die to myself.  He taught me such valuable lessons during this time.  At first, I did what the girl above did.  I avoided him.  I stopped making eye contact.  I was borderline rude.  But that didn’t sit right with me.  I cared about him and didn’t want to hurt him.  I thought about going to him and telling him I was attracted to him and didn’t want to cross any lines so I had to avoid him.  Ha!  I only considered that thought for a minute.  I knew that doing so would just make things really awkward (or if he’d been a man with less integrity, opened the door to a terrible moral failure).  I thought about going to his wife and confessing to her, but while that might make me feel better, it might also create insecurity and fear in her because she didn’t know me at all. 

In the end, through much prayer and seeking, I did two very simple things.  First, I told a trusted friend what was going on in my heart.  She is a good friend.  She didn’t judge or think less of me, but simply promised to pray and to be a sounding board when I needed it.  Secondly, I began to pray for the man and his family.  I had learned a few small details about his wife’s struggles, so I prayed for her.  At first, I had to beg God to help me mean it because the words were bitter on my tongue.  It didn’t take long before I really meant it though.  I prayed blessings on them.  I prayed for their children to be blessed.  I prayed for their romantic love to blossom and grow.  Lastly I prayed that God would help me see this man as my brother and his wife as my sister.  I asked God to help me love them in a way that is consistent with the family of God.

An amazing thing happened during this process.  The Lord replaced my feelings of disappointment and frustration with warmth and genuine concern. When I saw his family together, playing and goofing off, I felt my prayers being answered.  I began to interact with him as I do with my own brother.  I stopped idealizing him and even noticed a few of his flaws.  While I still admire him, I can now see specifically why we wouldn’t be a good match.

I am so thankful that God allowed me to experience this struggle.  Since that time, I have applied the lesson learned in countless ways.  There have been other times when a married man has caught my attention, but by immediately catching myself and praying for him in the same ways, I have kept the emotions in check and gained a brother.  A woman who greatly intimidated me at one time is now a beloved friend because I asked God to help me see her as my sister in Christ, was able to see her struggles, and then prayed earnestly for God to heal her wounds.  When I look at her now, all I see is a tender-hearted woman who simply wants to be loved and valued.

I will take this lesson into marriage one day.  I hear that just because you say “I do”, it doesn’t mean you never notice another person again.  If unwanted feelings come up, I plan to share them with a trusted friend and pray to see the man as my brother. As I write these thoughts, the prayer comes to mind:  Lord, help me to see all men (other than the man You have for me to marry) as my brothers. I also pray now that God will give me compassion and understanding if I ever notice that the man I marry is having a similar struggle and not take it personally.

The funny thing is that the married man I had idealized had character traits that I was trying to develop in myself.  He wasn’t a good partner for me, but a vision I hope to achieve personally.  He was kind to all, a good leader, humble, intelligent without being off-putting, and so on.  The man God has for me is likely to have a different style than mine, so that we complement one another and fit together beautifully.  Today I am blessed to know a man who is kind to all, humble, thoughtful, and quick-witted without being demeaning.  He leads quietly, without appearing to stand out front, living as an example that others can follow.  He leads by making choices that are full of integrity and grace.  While I tend to be emotional and on-the-move, he is as steady and stable as a rock.  And, praise God, he is somehow single and in love with me.

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