We fast and pray on Mondays for God to move: to move men toward leadership, to move women’s hearts toward softness and responsiveness, and to move both toward marriage where desired.
In March 2011, I went on a beach retreat with several close girlfriends who were walking this path of unexpected singleness (recap here). I have to credit my friend JB for giving me the “push” to make the retreat actually happen, and in the years since then, she has continued to be a strong and encouraging friend as we’ve both moved cities and transitioned jobs.
This past weekend, she married a solid Christian man and I was privileged to attend the wedding. She is the third of the beach retreat girls to get married (all three in the past seven months!) and as I sat under the gorgeous canopy of trees at the outdoor wedding, I couldn’t help but think about how good God had been to all of us.
To be honest, being grateful at a friend’s wedding is evidence of God’s work in my heart. I’m not saying I’m never going to feel bitter at weddings in the future – in fact, I know I will sometime, probably soon! But I’m saying there’s no reason to live in that place when we have so much to celebrate and we are called to rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15).
Here are a few snippets to remember this wedding season…
- Remember that wedding hype does not a happy marriage make. In the words of my unintentionally hilarious mother: “I always cry at weddings. Not because I’m sentimental, but because those people have no idea what they’re promising to each other.” The hard work of marriage is good and worth it, but the wedding day is not an accurate reflection of that work. Don’t get distracted by the fluffy dresses and stacks of gifts and professional photographer.
- Realize that other people (yes, even married ones!) could be struggling with the same negative emotions you have. I told my mother that I thought I might be growing in grace regarding weddings, instead of feeling like it was evidence God had ripped me off in the spouse department. Again, my mother’s blunt humor: “Did it ever occur to you that married people could feel that they got ripped off too? Like, why does the bride get to marry that guy and I have to be married to this idiot?!” [For the record, my parents are happily married!]
I so often assume that my negative wedding emotions are because I’m single. That if I were married, this would just be 100% blissful happy celebration time. But the reality is that my circumstances are just the mirror that reflects what has been going on in my heart the entire time. I could have rings on my finger and be equally miserable.
- Celebrate well! If a big wedding is something we’re also going to have in heaven, then I consider partying at a wedding reception something akin to some heaven on earth. I hope that’s not sacrilege. Regardless, I want to celebrate well at both places!
Seeing God’s goodness should move us to celebrate with a full heart. If it doesn’t, take a look at the heart situation. I know that I am sometimes effectively acting like the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15): he was “angry and refused to go in” to the party (v. 28) and bitterly tells his father that he “never gave me even a young goat (or wedding) that I could celebrate with my friends” (v. 29).
So even if summer wedding season is guaranteed to drive me crazy at points, I pray that we can each catch a glimpse of God’s goodness and care in our particular life details…and then celebrate fully in light of His faithfulness to us.
By His Grace,