The countdown continues for a wedding at our place this week! You can read more about that here. Today, in true “traces of faith” style, I thought we’d take a look back at how this wedding happened to end up at our place. In the first place.
I read on Facebook that Sara and Ben wanted to get married in a rural setting. She inquired about any local places people knew of that weren’t too expensive.
All of the places friends mentioned seemed far away or pricey. As sort of a joke, I said,
“You could have the wedding at our place.”
And God winked down at Sara and Ben. And us.
Let me explain.
We have a family friend who doesn’t believe in coincidences. I mean yes, things seem to fall into place at times. But is that a coincidence? That is so much of what this blog offers. An answer to the question:
Is there such a thing as a coincidence?
Our friend would say “no!” Not with God in charge. He has a name for these moments when you see God at work.
Don’t you love that image of God? He sees a need you have, in this case a location for a country wedding, and He helps us put two and two together. All the while winking down on us.
We read a book for our summer Bible study a few years back. Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge. This book takes an unconventional look at Jesus.
We know Him as holy.
We know He is sovereign.
We know Jesus to be just.
We know He loves us.
But this book (I know it’s a good one because us Bible study ladies, we still reference it) presents Jesus in some different lights.
Playful. Witty. Scandalously Free. Human.
So, Sara and I began private messaging one another. Because this conversation about a wedding had suddenly turned serious.
Sara: “If you are really offering up your place, we’d like to consider it!”
Me: “I think it’s a great idea.”
Sara: “Are you sure?”
Me: “Well, let me check with my husband.” **Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your husband.
I asked Sara what date they had in mind for the wedding. October 4.
One day before I have a milestone birthday. I turn 40 on October 5. My mom has always joked with me that I don’t have birth-days. I have birth-weeks. Sometimes birth-months.
That’s when I knew. God had found the perfect place for Ben and Sara to have their big, beautiful country wedding. And He fully planned to throw me a grand party for my birthday.
God: Wink wink. Nudge. Nudge.
We’ve had so much fun planning the wedding. They put a ton of thought and effort into every detail. We’ve worked on special projects around here to spruce the place up a bit. A handful of times, they’ve come out to Sunday lunch and our girls have played. They took their engagement photos here.
And if we’re not careful, if we don’t train our minds to think intentionally, we’ll miss God in all of this.
And God in all of this is the very best part.
Author John Eldredge shares a Scripture passage early on in Beautiful Outlaw. The story of the resurrected Christ appearing to His fisherman disciples. On a fishing trip. Because that’s what you do when you think Jesus has died and your greater purpose died with Him. You go back to everyday life. You get in a boat and go fishing.
You can read the whole story in John 21:1-12 but here is a portion:
“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,“ they answered. (verses 4-5)
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some...” (verse 6a)
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153....” (verses 10-11a)
After a night of catching no fish, Jesus appeared on the scene. And His friends didn’t just snag a handful of fish. John wants us to know, it was 153!!
Note also who dragged that net of 153 fish to shore. Simon Peter.
John Eldredge brings this story up again later in his book. And I quote:
“Think back to the story of Jesus and the boys fishing, post resurrection. Remember now - what did Peter do as Jesus was being tied and tortured? He renounced him. Not once, but three times. Then the rooster crowed and Jesus - face swollen, upper lip already burst open and bleeding - looked him right in the eye. Peter ran outside and wept. Can you imagine how torn apart he was inside? How full of shame and self-loathing? The doubt that Jesus would ever want to see him again? When the 153 large fish pop into the nets, and John figures out it’s Jesus, Peter hits the water swimming like a Labrador retriever. And there, on the beach, Jesus restores him.
I wouldn’t be surprised if He arranged that whole wonderful moment just for Peter.”
Readers, another gentle reminder. I want you to soak in the truth. God restores. Stay tuned. The wedding happens Saturday! We’ll be ready.