Reader, I’m marrying him.
The man I talked about in my last post—well, he proposed in March, and we’re getting married in September.
I held off posting, mostly because I’ve been doing stream-of-consciousness posts on my Facebook page about wedding planning. But also partly because none of my jumble of thoughts have come neatly around to the Gospel. Or they’re so tangled up in the Gospel that I can’t sort them out? Yeah, we’ll go with that one. In any case, I just thought I’d type and see what comes out.
Being engaged has been lovely. Everyone says engagement is sooooo hard. Okay, it’s hard. But it’s not soooooo hard. It’s hard to be not living with my man yet. It’s hard to do wedding planning while also moving him into our new condo and figuring out which walls to paint and furniture to buy. It’s hard to be figuring out step-motherhood when your future bonus son is with his dad unpredictably (actually, no, that part has been pretty fine so far; it’ll probably be harder later). It’s hard to plan a wedding in the middle of a pandemic. It’s hard to find time for premarital counseling and date nights and downtime.
But being with Brian is lovely. When I’m with him, I’m the calmer, more tame version of myself. As we figure out life together and make life decisions together and get on the same phone plan and combine our bank account and DVD collections—as we do all these things, the pieces of myself feel like they’re coming into place. And it’s not the crazy hard ride everyone told me it would be.
People ask me how wedding planning in the middle of a pandemic is going. Ha. It’s…going. When I first got engaged, before California put shelter-in-place orders into play, I had very well-meaning people give me two opposite pieces of advice:
- Hold everything loosely and be flexible, because you’re probably not going to get everything you want.
- Hold out for everything you want, so you won’t look back and regret that you compromised on the things that were important.
I was thinking last week that I’ve kind of done both. Like, I’ve had to be flexible, but I’ve still been able to find ways to make my wedding dreams come true (and more!). We’re not going to have a dance party reception, but we will have a drive-in wedding with the most epic receiving line ever. We’re not going to have toasts in-person, but my siblings will do them online. We’re not going to have people sit down and eat their tacos, but we’re still finding ways to serve tacos while people are in their cars. I didn’t want to miss out on my father/daughter dance, so we’re going to do that, just me and my dad and the photographer. I didn’t want to miss out on a sweetheart table, so we’re doing a styled shoot right after the wedding in an epic San Diego location. You know…stuff like that.
Through it all, God has been so gracious and merciful and kind to Brian and me. From people giving us stuff and doing stuff for us for free, to people pitching in to help, to a venue that is super flexible with all my changes…everything has gone so much more smoothly than I expected. I think the most amazing thing is that I’m okay with all of this—and more than okay, I’m excited to have a wedding that will be memorable and beautiful and crazy and awesome and a reflection of the 2020 times we’re getting married in. And I have found that in the areas where I had no plan (say, for a cake topper), God has had the most room to surprise me with the cutest stuff (you gotta see the cake topper; it’s freaking adorable).
It’s true that engagement is a unique time of waiting.
- In waiting to marry my man, I’m getting to know Jesus better, as He waits for His bride.
- As Brian goes ahead and prepares our new condo for me, I get to know Jesus better, as He prepares a place for me in heaven.
- As our wedding turns into an epic drive-in, taco-filled, Valentine’s Day-themed unforgettable affair, I get to know Jesus better, as he plans the wedding that no one will forget for eternity.
- As I get to know my future bonus son, I get to know God the Father better, as He sacrificed His Son for me.
- As Brian and I work out our differences of opinion and learn each other’s quirks, I get to know the Holy Spirit better, as He teaches me to be humble and gracious and patient.
I think the thing that’s helped me the most as I have moved away from my old roommate, moved back in with my older roommate, dated and engaged Brian, and prepared for marriage to the love of my life—the thought that keeps coming back and back and back— is that Brian is not my perfect helper. He’s not my perfect emotional helper or physical companion or spiritual guide. Only Jesus is those things.
- When Brian doesn’t have the right words to say as I cry on his chest, I know I have a Savior who collects my tears.
- When Brian misses church because of a headache, I know I have a God who meets my every spiritual need.
- When Brian thinks it’s too hot to snuggle (even though I think it’s never too hot to snuggle), I know I have something better than snuggles: a Creator who made, knows, sees, and understands my need for physical touch better than Brian ever will.
Even in the times when Brian and I are being very human—not connecting with each other well, miscommunicating, sinning against each other—even in those times, I’m so grateful for the wonderful gift of a fiancé that God has given me. Brian completes me in ways I didn’t know I needed to be completed. When I’m around him, I can relax parts of myself I didn’t even know I was holding in tension. He comes with a son, so I get to be a “mom” without ever bearing a child. When I look at Brian, my heart swells with thankfulness at the good gift God has given me. Even when he’s annoying me! Go figure.
So here’s the Gospel: Singleness was a wonderful gift. Brian is a wonderful gift. Jesus is the best gift of all, and He is available no matter our relationship status. We are complete in Him and only Him.
Here is another pic of us being cute, in case you’re into that sort of thing. P/C for both photos: Jovanna Penney.