Photo credit: Margie Padelford
I coordinated another wedding on Friday, my fifth in less than two years. I love it. I love
- everything about weddings.
- being in charge of things.
- looking pretty while being in charge of things.
Therefore, wedding coordinating gives me warm, happy, fuzzy feelings – and usually incredibly tired feet.
But this wedding – this one touched me, deep in the heart of my soul. (I know that’s cheesy, but stay with me here.)
It also wore me out physically, like way more than I expected. I literally gave blood, sweat, and tears* to this wedding, and I came home aching from the top of my sunburned hair part to the end of the toe that was smashed during dancing.
But it was worth it. There was a time in my pre-San Diego life that I was starting to get bitter about all my friends getting married, especially when I would lose touch with them afterwards. But in these last four years, I’ve come to appreciate the Gospel in new ways – and thus, to appreciate weddings in new ways.
You see, when a bride and a groom come together and take life-changing vows and are pronounced man and wife, they are portraying a picture of Jesus and the church. In the love story of Jesus and His bride (the Gospel), Jesus sacrifices His life in the ultimate act of love so that the people who believe in Him can be a part of His family, the family of God. But it wasn’t enough for Him to die; He also, in the only time this has ever happened in history, raised Himself from the dead so that we can live with God as part of His family in eternity.
But wait – He didn’t stop there! Jesus promised to return for us one day and make us (the church, the believers in Jesus) His bride in heaven. He promises us a wedding reception better than all wedding receptions in the world combined. And let me just say, He’s got His work cut out for him after Lindsey Jo and Brandon’s wedding last Friday.
I loved a lot of things about their wedding, and none of them had anything to do with the details (though the details were whimsical, hipster, organic, and wonderful – and included an ice cream bar BEFORE dinner). Some things I loved:
- The communities that came together to make this wedding happen. It wasn’t just the church, it was the bride’s family and the groom’s family and all the neighbors – everyone pitched in and made me look like I was doing way more as a coordinator than I actually was.
- The sense of joy that pervaded the whole day. No one was frantic or rushed or grumpy or put out or disappointed (or, if they were, they kept it to themselves). Everyone was super willing to jump in, serve, lay down their own preferences, and do whatever it took to make the bride and groom feel special and loved.
- The way the Gospel was portrayed. I’d been processing lately about how singleness makes me long for heaven in the same way a fiancé longs for the wedding to arrive. And someone said later in one of the toasts that all the joy of an earthly wedding day is but a drop compared to the joy we’ll experience in heaven when Jesus takes us home to Heaven and makes us His bride.
- How everyone was so encouraging to each other. Everyone went around, pitching in when needed, using their words to build each other up, telling each other that they were doing great, encouraging each other to take breaks or keep going as necessary. I saw people praying with each other randomly, praising each other, and pointing each other to Jesus effortlessly and spontaneously.
- The dancing. There’s something special about the dancing at weddings with this particular group of church people, and it was heightened on Friday. The wedding was at 4:30, and we had to kick people out at 10:00 pm because that’s all the time we’d paid the DJ for. There was even a Harlem Shake that involved dinosaur costumes.
At the end of the day, after my roommate and I drove an hour to get home, I put on comfy clothes and fell into bed. My roommate snuggled up next to me for a few minutes, and I made a rudimentary effort to tell her how I felt about the day. I had been thinking a lot of seemingly unrelated things throughout the day, but they combined into one point.
- Singleness is a picture of how we wait in anticipation for Jesus.
- Weddings are a picture of Jesus and His bride.
- Some friends from overseas sent messages to the bride and groom, showing that community can be all around the world.
- I wasn’t able to say good-bye to certain people as I left; but in heaven, we won’t have to say good-bye to anyone ever again.
- The bride’s mother and father both expressed at different points in the day that the wedding was bittersweet; their daughter was moving out, but she would be with the man God had planned for her. In heaven, there will be only “sweet.”
All of that combined into one big, growing, longing for heaven. At the end of the day, I loved Jesus more. I longed for heaven more. I became more content with my singleness and more discontent to make this world my home. I ached for the day that Jesus returns and takes away the
- pain of community that is far away
- heartbreak of good-byes and missed opportunities
- “bitter” in the “bittersweet” of life
Even the next day, as I limped around the house and had my roommate apply aloe vera to my red shoulders, as I talked to my mom on the phone about how the day had gone, tears kept coming to my eyes about how much God showed His love to me through that wedding.
I’m infinitely grateful that God has made it possible for me through
- the Gospel
- my mad (God-given) wedding coordinating skills
- great community
to enjoy – and not just enjoy, but utterly delight in – weddings instead of becoming a bitter old recluse.
God is good. All the time. Can I get an “Amen!”
*BLOOD: As I was pinning boutonnieres on the men, I pricked myself and left blood on a couple of the boutonnieres and at least one suspender. SWEAT: It was sooooooo hot during the day. Driving back and forth between the house (reception) and the nature preserve (ceremony), walking around in the woods while trying to avoid poison oak (as if I even know what that looks like, haha), carrying chairs and hitching rides on golf carts all day – I was totally sweaty with no curls left by the time came to get dressed for the wedding. TEARS: The Father-of-the-Bride speech/toast. Let’s just all be thankful for waterproof makeup, shall we?