Monday, June 6, 2016

Love Is In The Air

Wedding season is among us!

Phil and I actually attended two this weekend...and oh, what special memories I took away from both.

And I have all this stuff in my head just wanting to share about how I sat as a guest at both and was reminded that we truly are better together.

I've asked each couple if I could share some of their story with you so here you go...

America and Eduardo.

What a gorgeous couple, right?!?
And what a story they have!

Eduardo and America met five years ago and became good friends, but never thought it would amount to anything more than that.  America will tell you that she looked for love in all places...and could just never make it happen.  In that five year time frame, they both almost married the wrong people...BUT God had much bigger plans for them.  Eduardo decided he would pursue America...he decided that he was going to come and get her!  America said she had NO clue because if it wasn't something she had orchestrated then how could it be?!?  But Eduardo felt led to come; a nudging of the Holy Spirit.  

Each of them had two failed marriages.  
So much brokenness.  
And with "them" in the way of God, they thought there was no way those fairy tales existed.   At least not for people like them.  People who have lived and loved and fallen so many times.  Fairy tales, they thought, belonged to those in their 20's!

Yet here we are.
And they are a fairy tale!  
And they HAVE found their happily ever after! 
They are living the dream.

But...with their feet well planted on the ground and their hands tightly grasping on to God!

This weekend was the second time that America's parents had been in the same place since their divorce 30 years ago; the first time being 15 years ago.  And let me just share how God showed up for them this weekend.  

They cried.
And shed a lot of emotion.
Feelings about their journey with each other.
They realized the love they had for one another never subsided, but evolved.

They laughed and cried at all the memories they once shared.  America shared that it was for them like the time have never passed...they talked to each other the way she remembered them talking in her house when they were little...with love and respect and care.  She said you could just see so much love between the two of them this weekend that her happiness shifted from having an amazing ceremony for her marriage and party afterwards to seeing her Mommy and Daddy "make up."  She contributes that to God healing their hearts and also her own.  There were times this weekend that she wanted to encourage them to leave their now respective lives and run away together...she even offered to have a double wedding...and they just smiled.  They spent as much time together as they possibly could knowing full well this opportunity may never present itself for them again.

America said, "My parents love each other."
"But they love God more."

They are now each married to other people.
People who broke their marriage.
As she sat with each of them individually, away from the "noise" to see how they were "really" doing, they both said to her, "I will always love your mother/father...But I would never disregard God again."

America tells me it was so good to simply heal this weekend.  
That she has longed for this for 30 years.  

To hear her parents say,  "I am married to "so and so" and that's who I will die with, and I am ok with that, I love that person as well."

Did she want to want to hear differently?  Absolutely!  From the bottom of her heart she did.  But what impacted her the most was their respect for God's word that they WILL see this through to the end...and she knows God will bless that.  

America says this weekend was a gift for her and her family.  That it was as if God gave them all one last moment together.  Just them - her father, mother, and sister.  The way her parents were this weekend, no one would had ever known there had been 30 years between them all.


God is good and He works ALL things together for his Good and for His glory.

One of my favorite parts of America and Eduardo's wedding was a planting ceremony.  Both of their mothers had brought soil from their homes in Mexico and together poured each container into a pot. This represented the roots, the foundation on which they have each come.  Then America and Eduardo, together, placed their plants in that soil.  This representing a new life of two becoming one.  As they were finished, they were asked to "water their plants..." a reminder that it takes work to keep a plant alive; a marriage alive.  Daily nurturing each other through words and actions and love.  

Everything about their day was so very special.

You could feel the love in the church as they spoke their vows...and then at the reception as friends and family on both sides gave their well wishes to America and America singing and dancing for he laughter and dancing and lots of good Mexican food!!!

My heart is overwhelmed with happiness for our friends.
There is so much more to their story that I know one day America will find a way to share with the world...but I wanted to give you a glimpse of how God has not only worked in their lives, but their family as a whole.  

Luke and Sarah.

This was our 2nd wedding of the weekend and just as lovely.

Oh, know these two individuals is to love them.  

I've had the privilege of knowing Sarah for over 10 years and she was the first one to ever babysit our girls. And Phil has known Luke for several years through different bands and now together leading others through our church's worship team.

I'll never forget Phil coming home one day and saying, "You remember Luke, right?  He and Sarah are dating...and I think it's pretty serious!"  

Serious it was!!!

Yesterday, we watched as they promised forever to each other.  
In a beautiful ceremony officiated by her father, Steve.  
I mean, I can't even imagine "giving your daughter away" much less being the one leading the ceremony.  But everything was just perfect.

The storms held off and it was absolutely gorgeous outside.
The bridal party was stunning.
The musicians were amazing.
Her mom came down the aisle all smiles.
Followed by Luke with nothing but smiles.
And then Sarah and her dad - just smiling.

Sarah was simply radiant.

So much happiness.
And emotion.

Both of them had parent's praying for their one day spouses.
And each of them had prayed for their one day spouse.
These two are simply meant for each other.

One of my favorite parts of their wedding was the building of the Unity Cross:

The Unity Cross signifies the wedding covenant.  It is a lasting reminder of the Bride and Groom coming together with their faith in Christ, beginning their life long journey as One.  The bold, outer cross represents the Groom.  He is the strength and cover for his family and home, yet without his Bride, incomplete. The intricate inner cross represents the Bride.  Beautiful and multi-faceted, she brings creative abilities and wisdom.  The couple brings their hearts and faith in Christ together, joining their pieces of the Unity Cross and demonstrating their commitment to each other.  The three pegs represent God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  Thus, completing the sculpture and the two becoming one.     

Luke and Sarah have anchored their marriage in Christ.  There is no doubt in my mind that God has BIG things in store for them...and that no matter what may come their way, together they will be ok.

I actually had another takeaway from this day...
I truly enjoyed watching Steve and Carol, Sarah's parents, enjoy the whole evening.
They radiated joy.
This is another family that if you truly know them, you can't help but love them.
Watching them watch their baby girl marry the love of her life...enjoying the family and friends gathered for them...even getting a little dancing in.  
There was just something truly special about knowing that they know their babygirl is loved and happy that I just can't explain.

My heart is simply overwhelmed with happiness for our friends...and I cannot wait to see their story as now husband and wife unfold.

It's nice to just sit back and watch sometimes, you know?!
To be able to take in all the pieces of America and Eduardo and Luke and Sarah's day that built a beautiful picture for us all.

Here we have friends that have had failed marriages and family "stuff" they had to overcome to the exact opposite where our other friends are younger and truly know this first time is the only time they will be getting married.

But in each of these relationships today, they have made God the center...and by doing that, God will bless them and their journey together through life.

Friends, we are better together...
So many friends and family coming together, standing with our friends, encouraging them in their new life together.

My heart is full.

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