Stop Trying to Explain the Hard Stuff Away - A Review of Finding God in the Ruins
Truths About Story

The Wedding One

Looking back, it had been a whirlwind of a year. I’d met my husband at a “karaoke establishment.” (I wonder how long before my daughter figures out what her mom’s not telling her in that description.) We dated for six months, largely getting to know one another via phone calls during that time due to our travel schedules.


He proposed in Sedona. We went for my birthday and did much of what Sedona had to offer. Fine dining, martini bars and coffee shops. A Harley Davidson rides to the artist community, Jerome. A helicopter ride to observe Arizona’s red rocks from the sky. Topped off with a Jeep tour up Carousel Rock. Where we had a picnic and he got down on one knee to ask for my hand in marriage. He’d already asked my mother. Through tears, I said yes. On the flight back to Missouri, my then fiance looked over at me and said, "That's the last trip of ours I'll ever plan."


After 27 years, I had convinced myself God might have tagged me as a single. But in typical God fashion, I was going through life contemplating where I thought he had me going, when suddenly he tapped my shoulder and we went in an entirely different direction.


All of these thoughts and more kept going through my mind the weekend of our wedding. We had a six-month engagement full of wedding showers, fun dates and more travel for work. The weekend of our Engagement Encounter, a retreat where we looked deeply at our compatibility and were instructed about various aspects we’d encounter in marriage, we found out the offer we’d made on a house had been accepted.


A lot can change in a year. 


It rained a little the day of our wedding rehearsal. The forecast was iffy but we moved forward with our plans for an outdoor wedding regardless. After all the blessings of the past year, nothing was going to rain on my parade, so to speak. We had our rehearsal dinner that evening at a local hotel. My heart soared to look around the room at our family and friends, many of whom were out of town guests.


I slept on my mom’s couch that evening. We had a few family members staying over so I landed there. About 5:30 in the morning, I got woken up by a loud clap of thunder, followed by an intense rain storm. One that didn’t let up until about three o’clock that afternoon. Our wedding ceremony was at eleven.


I heard my mom coming down the hallway just a few minutes later. That hallway so familiar to me. “Mom, isn’t it a great day for an indoor wedding?


With that, we were up. Mom called our long-time neighbor to see if we could use the church. Growing up, we’d lived about half a mile from a little Methodist church. Our country road was in the middle of nowhere (but everywhere to me) and the church never locked its doors. I had spent hours and hours playing at that church. I delivered a mock sermon or two. Pecked away at her piano. Knelt at her altar when my granddad died. That church knew me intimately. I knew intrinsically that small wooden church wouldn’t mind at all if we moved our wedding there.


Wedding Me


Wedding Door


We received permission to use the church. I remember one of my bridesmaids sitting on the floor with her future husband, putting silk lavender flowers into mason jars. I remember the phone call from my friend and former Sunday school teacher, asking what he could do to help move this wedding indoors. I remember getting to the church and seeing they had used the choir loft seating as storage space for apparently quite some time.


The people nearest and dearest to us went to work that day. We set up what few decorations we had, which wasn’t much because we’d expected God’s grand outdoors to serve as our decor. Believe me, it wasn’t fancy, but it was meaningful. My mom and her sisters sewed my dress and the ones for my bridesmaids. The children in the wedding wore their Easter outfits. I remember hundreds of little details.


After the ceremony, we went down the road to my mom’s house for the reception. The rain was starting to subside, leaving behind a muddy mess. Many dress shoes were ruined that day. We tipped the sides of the canopy roof to let the rain drain off onto the already saturated ground. The party of family and friends-who-had-become-family was a grand one. Again, nothing fancy. Just a lot of being together.


Wedding Tent2-2


On the eve of our 13th anniversary, I am enjoying the memory lane journey back to our wedding weekend. It didn’t go quite like we planned. It perhaps would have left many a bride unsettled. It wasn’t ever about that for me though. God had joined us together before family and friends. That in itself gave us more than enough reason to celebrate.


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