Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Wedding....A Lesson About Grace.

I cannot believe that it has been a month since I sat down and had a quiet moment on a Saturday to share my heart, thoughts and ideas with you.  Life has been busy.  But know that I have been thinking and praying that God has opened your eyes and heart to receive His abundant blessings.

On May 27th our youngest daughter, Alyssa, married a wonderful young man, Mike.  The days leading up to the wedding were stressful and seemed never ending. The house was full again.  All the children (adults) were home for the celebration.  There was so much to do.  Final dress fittings, the rehearsal dinner, pick up flowers, put the finishing touches on the d.i.y. wedding trinkets.  And so may more little little details that in the moment seemed very important.  The planned ceremony was to be held outdoors.  And the weather forecast, earlier in the week, was cloudy, rainy, and chilly.  The bride-to-be, along with my husband, tracked the weather for May 27th multiple times each day.  I remained calm and reminded her that God was in control.  As the day got closer the stress in her grew.  We all seemed to have moments of misdirected focus.  We received word that a few family members would not be able to make it to the ceremony and reception due to an unexpected surgery and some health related issues.  And because we paid over a hundred dollars per person we thought about who we could invite last minute to take their place without insulting them.  Yes, the focus in that moment was the fact that we couldn't get reimbursed for the last minute cancellations.  Don't get me wrong.  We prayed for Alyssa's step grand-mom, Mike's grandparents and our friend Tim to feel God's healing hand.  And we were thankful that they were courteous and told us instead of just not showing up.  The idea that hundreds of dollars were "wasted (for lack of a better word)" seemed difficult to swallow.  But even more difficult was the fact that these loved ones wouldn't be there to celebrate the most important day of their lives.  Their wedding day.  And the craziness continued to grow.  It felt like one disappointment after another. The wedding gown was hemmed improperly and had to be redone.  The forecast went from chilly to steamy hot and we had to place a last minute order for hand fans for the guests.  And a few other little things.

The Wedding weekend arrived!  And so did the sea of emotions. The day before the wedding we were all running around like chickens without heads. Alyssa and I went to go tanning (I got a spray tan) in the morning and have a little mom and daughter time. And the weather was beautiful and very hot.  We ran home and had to continue crafting.  Then we started throwing bottles, candles, flowers and wedding attire into everyone's cars.  I was sweating and my patience was wearing thin.  I realized that I had no room in my car, after putting my mom's, Greg's and Ashley's possessions in the back, for my bags.  So I crammed them at my feet.  And off we went to the hotel.  I looked in the vanity mirror and saw that my tan was running down my neck.  Ughh.  I started to cry. I just wanted to look nice for the big day.  And instead I now sat there thinking I looked like I was playing in the dirt.  Alyssa  called me and I told her about my dilemma.  She assured me that it would be fine. I hung up and quietly gathered my thoughts.  And began praying.  "Lord, help me to focus on what your plan is.  Keep my eyes on you.  Give me peace in my heart.  And thank you for your grace."

We all had our own idea about how the wedding day was going to be.  I know for the bride she envisioned it to be a bit different.  The sun was hot and we were all dripping with sweat.  The venue neglected to put the air conditioner on in the barn, where the cocktail hour was held, early enough to cool the room down.  We paid for extra time during the cocktail hour and because the temperature was unbearable it was shortened.  The guests ran to the reception area to seek relief from the barn because it was cooler in there.  The ovens broke as the caterer was preparing the food which caused a delay. The DJ wasn't playing anything that the bride and groom had spent months putting together for their perfect day.  As a matter of fact I think he must have been playing someone else's play list that evening.  I had to tell him multiple time to play songs that Alyssa expressed that she really wanted played.  And then he played a song that she was adamant about not having it played at her wedding (I heard it through the grape vine).  Then there were the "no shows". Yes, it was hurtful.  Alyssa and Mike had chosen people to invite to their special day that meant something to them.  They had to take friends off their list to include family members who touched their lives throughout the years.  So, as they noticed the tags and empty seats it saddened and hurt them.  Alyssa said, a few days later, that she was disappointed that they didn't call or anything.  And this is where "grace" comes in.

The beginning of this blog was me ranting about the disappointments that were felt about the days leading up to and including the wedding day.  Our expectations were not met.  We have all heard, "God's grace is sufficient".  But have you ever really thought about what that looks like in the aftermath of disappointment?  God's grace often has a way of offending our sense of justice.  His grace is one way. And it isn't full of prejudice.  No one asks for it.  He just gives it.  He doesn't give us grace expecting us to give Him something in return.  No, it's just the opposite. He gives us a fresh fill every day because He loves us. And we don't get to tell Him who we think is worthy or unworthy to receive it.  It's His gift to give and not our to decide who to delegate it to or how much each one should receive. I have said many times that if God's grace is sufficient for me my grace should be sufficient for others.  And this statement can be a hard pill to swallow.  Just as God gives me grace I need to extend that to the vendors that didn't do things "my" way.  And I have to be willing to give grace to those "no shows" too.  Because grace covers a multitude of disappointments and leaves us with joy.

Alyssa and Mike said their "I do's" and began to celebrate with their loved ones.  They had fun and will cherish the memories created that day. And as a result of all the disappointments they too are learning a lesson about grace.  They came home from their honeymoon refreshed and ready to enter into their new roles as husband and wife.  Alyssa experienced yet another disappointment when she looked at her wedding band and noticed a diamond was missing.  She was immediately crushed and upset.  We talked about what was most important.  She needed to be redirected.  The next day she called the jeweler and they repaired the ring at no cost.  This was unexpected.  She was thinking they were going to charge her and they didn't.  They even went above and beyond by repairing it the same day.  This is just a small example of grace flowing from God into the jeweler and out to the newlyweds.

Over the course of a few days we talked about the events of the wedding I encouraged her to focus on the beauty of the day  And for her to reflect on how God's grace was refreshing.   There were many truly amazing and wonderful thing that occurred on May 27th 2016.  Alyssa and Mike stood before the Lord and "promised to God" that they would love each other for the rest of their lives.  And in that moment nothing else mattered.  They stood there face to face and God poured a pitcher of grace over both of them.   Yes, the weather was hot but the sun was shining and the day was blessed.  Everyone loved the food and the signature drink was a hit.  And we discovered that people will dance to just about any song (even if it wasn't on the list).  The photographers were great and captured the joyfulness of the day.  And the photo booth had an endless line of people wanting to show their silly side.  All in all by the grace of God their wedding day was beautiful.