Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Being a Bride

Tim says I am "event-oriented". 
I think I just love celebrating LIFE...
and God...

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecc 3:11

I also love being a "bride". If there is one word to describe me, it would be "BRIDE". 
When I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I began to understand what it felt like to be a bride.
I know this sounds crazy but I really had a "honeymoon" season with Jesus after I gave my life to Him. I backpacked through Europe and knew every sunrise and beautiful place was the Lord just wow-ing me with His love. He made me feel like the only object of His affection. I would see the sunrises and and just smile. That is how close He was. He proposed to me that night in my room and asked me to come away with Him and be His "BRIDE" and I said yes.
I entered into the greatest love story ever told.

"As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; 
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you."
Is 62

"For your Maker is your husband— the Lord Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; 
He is called the God of all the earth."
Is 54:5

Receiving and believing this type of agape love is really hard. How could God love us like we were the only person on earth? I don't know. 
But He does. 

Being the Bride of Christ is such an honor. I can't believe He chose me. I can't believe He STILL chooses me!
He chooses YOU too!
He not only loves you and me...He SO loves us.
We will never fully understand the depths of His love.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; 
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness."
Jer 31:3

For close to 20 years, I have known the love of my heavenly Husband. This year, I will have known the love of an earthly husband for 14.  I know this is kind of morbid but I want to be buried in my wedding dress because I am Christ's Bride. I want to be READY when I see Him face to face. I know I will be given a much more glorious gown but for this body, this one (that my mom worked so hard to pay for) is as glorious as it can get!

I want my tombstone to read,

"Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready."
Rev 19:7

Tim and I have been through A LOT in these 14 years but, by God's grace, we are still ONE. We have learned the power of "oneness" and how to fight to protect it. We have learned that God's purpose is to create ONENESS and to destroy dividing walls. We have learned that Jesus Christ is our peace when the storms rage.

 "For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility"
Eph 2:14

We did a formal vow renewal at 10 years. It was so special to us and the children that we decided marriage is worth celebrating and vows worth repeating! So, I asked Tim if we could say our vows in front of our kids every year. It strengthens our marriage and it shows them the power of a covenant.
We were just going to gather around and do it in front of the fireplace until Hope said, "you HAVE to wear your wedding dress". I thought, why not???
My dress is just hanging in the attic collecting dust.
 Marriage is such a gift and to be held in honor.
It is so beautiful and sacred.
Let's treat it that way.

"Let marriage be held in honor among all"
Heb 13:4

We don't take our marriage for granted. It is the sweetest treasure to both of us.
We want our kids to grow up looking forward to marriage.
Because it is so sacred and beautiful. 
Marriage can be ALIVE and growing deeper over the years.
We also want them to feel safe under it's (our) covering.

Here were my "vows":
I am so thankful I have gotten to a front row seat to your life during the last 14 years. I have gotten to watch such a beautiful transformation from wild/carefree guy driving his motorcycle 100 miles an hour to a mature, caring, (sometimes) cautious father.
I remember when God spoke to me so clearly on the beach that night when He promised me  that He had a husband for me. He spoke 1 Cor 2:9 over me and it was TRUE. No eye has seen no ear has heard no mind can imagine the plans God has for those who love Him! I could never have imagined a life this beautiful or full of love. I could never have imagined being married to the most handsome guy in the world.
Thank you for choosing me. For giving me a new name and a new life and a FAMILY.
Thank you for loving me and fighting for me and the children. Thank you for putting us first. Thank you for teaching the children the Bible and showing them how to be a man. Thank you for teaching them how to play sports. Thank you for doing millions of dirty dishes everyday. Thank you for teaching me how to do dishes more efficiently! Thank you for showing me how to cut a mango. Thank you for showing me how to eyeball how much will fit in Tupperware. I am so good at that now! Thank you for putting the kids in bed at night. Thank you for ALWAYS supporting me and cheering me on as I serve God.
Thank you for laying your life down for me just as Christ did for His Bride.  Please forgive me for all the times I have hurt your feelings or spoken unkind to you. Thank you for living with me in an understanding way even when you don’t understand! I have so much respect for you.  You are God’s gift to me. And I am so HONORED to be your bride.
"By God's grace and God's power... I will love you forever and I will NEVER divorce you."

Tim didn't type his out so I will just treasure them in my heart. :)
He did end his with the same vow...
"By God's grace and God's power... I will love you forever and I will NEVER divorce you."

We invited our dearest friends and Tim made a HUMUNGOUS pot of (delicious) spaghetti and meatballs in a blush sauce.
Hope was the flower girl.
Crew was the ring bearer.
Evan played the wedding march.
Reece, Evan, and Lake were the best men.
Rhett yelled and ran around.
It was such a safe and pure evening. Filled with love and grace.
God has gotten us this far.
It hasn't been easy... AT ALL.
Some people think we got a free pass on suffering and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Our marriage has been tested.
Every Christian marriage will be.
But no test is stronger than Jesus.
Our faith in Him to survive it all has been key.

We want our kids to know that marriages can last and not only "last" but THRIVE when Jesus is the foundation.

I taught this passage to my children and it is SO TRUE in regards to marriage.

"So then, everyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like a wise man. He builds his house on the rock. 

 The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. But it does not fall. It is built on the rock. 

 "But everyone who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man. He builds his house on sand. 
 The rain comes down. The water rises. The winds blow and beat against that house. And it falls with a loud crash."
Matt 7:24-27

The storms are coming. The ONLY difference is the wise an put God's Word into practice. He built His house on the rock.
Again, the storms are coming
They come in the wise and foolish man's lives. They will come in each of our lives too.
Obey the Word and build your house on Jesus. It is the only way it won't collapse during the storm. 
Nobody gets a "storm-free" life.

"This was illustrated when Ike, a Category 4 hurricane with winds up to 143 miles per hour almost destroyed Galveston, Texas, in 2008.
Not long after the hurricane swept through, one picture surfaced that caught the world’s attention. It revealed a yellow house that was standing almost unscathed in the midst of miles of coastal rubble.  Investigators determined that the house had been damaged in an earlier storm so that the owners had rebuilt it to hurricane standards. When Ike unleashed its fury, the house remained standing when everything around it was flattened."

So, we choose to celebrate!
Because of our foundation, our house is still standing.
It is built on the Rock.
"From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."
Ps 61:2

You have access to all the building materials we have!
They are all found in Scripture.

So, this is my first blog about our sweet ceremony.

To be continued...


Cara H. said...

M thinks I'm event oriented too. Someone reminded me recently that we don't have "festivals" like they did in Bible days, so don't feel bad for desiring these monumental occasions to gather and praise God for what He's done. I love that you celebrate these things--they're a big deal!

Unknown said...

I love photographing your event oriented fam! As a person that loves family events myself...that seems like nothing but celebration to me. What a fun life to live! :D Happy for y'all on number 7! Hoping Hopey gets a sister but also...the world needs more men like the ones you're producing. Either would be a blessing.

KMG1226 said...

Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story