My Wedding Day

It may not surprise you to learn that I was a bit of a control freak about my wedding. I’d been planning it since I was 3, after all. It may also not surprise you to learn that not everything went the way I planned for it to on my wedding day. #pandemic, am I right?

In every wedding, there are things that don’t go quite according to plan. When that happens, you adjust, you move on, and you hope the bride isn’t traumatized. At my wedding, there were definitely those things. For instance, I had planned for us to take pics with special “Bride” and “Groom” masks, but we accidentally left the masks in the car and took pics with them on our honeymoon instead. Things like that. No big deal.

PC: Jovanna Penney – I’m pretty sure we never got a smiling pic where everyone was looking at the camera. And three of my attendants attended on a tablet.

But there were two big things that didn’t go as planned, things that kind of rocked my world when I realized what God was doing.

  1. The wedding was outside. In a parking lot. On the hottest day of the year (111 degrees!). Gone were the dreams of my indoor, climate-controlled wedding in a beautiful setting. Because of COVID-19, we decided to have a drive-in wedding where people all stayed in their cars for the wedding and tuned in on their radios and/or Zoom. I was actually kind of excited about that part, as the parking lot at our venue was quite lovely and manicured and treed. But then, we started checking the weather. The average temp for Sep 5 was 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The temp forecast for Sep 5, 2020 was 114. At the moment of the ceremony, it was 111.
  2. Because it was a drive-in wedding, we reserved an actual 1920’s Model T car to drive my dad and me down the aisle, and then Brian and I planned to take pics with the car after the wedding. Right before the wedding ceremony, my dad and I got into the car, and it drove us to the back of the parking lot. Then before it could drive us up the aisle, it broke down. Just stopped moving. We had to get out and walk the entire length of the parking lot.

The day before the wedding, I had some serious time with God, and I prayed, “God, let this wedding reflect Christ and the church in ways I haven’t even thought of yet.” Having done everything I could do to ensure the wedding I wanted would happen, I came to the point where I had to let go and let whatever happened happen—and, knowing, that nothing ever goes `100% according to plan, I wanted it to 100% glorify God.

So on the day, as we took pics in 100+ weather and then had to move pics inside; as we braved the heat and some of the wedding party had to stand in the sun; as we struck things off the schedule because Brian had a massive anxiety stomachache; as we had people almost faint from the heat…I kept thinking, “Somehow, this is going to glorify God.”

PC: Krystal Robin – The glitter on my cheek is from my dress! I wore a butterfly necklace in remembrance of my sister in heaven.

When my dad and I were sitting in the Model T, and it stopped at the other end of the parking lot at the top of the aisle, and we had to get out and walk the whole way, I somehow knew it was going to glorify God, but I didn’t know how. (And anyway at that point, I didn’t mind walking extra because I was just so happy to be getting married to the love of my life.)

PC: Jovanna Penney – I had little girls carrying my train all day; we had a collective “princess moment.”

But then after the wedding, everyone came up to me and told me how my whole dress sparkled as I walked down the aisle with my dad. Everyone said how much of a *POW* impact it made as I walked into the sunlight, and my dress shone all over.

PC: Jovanna Penney – Celebrating at the end of the ceremony. My dad officiated!

My (now-twice) former roommate Kat came up to me after the wedding and said, “Charity, THAT was the most beautiful picture of the bride of Christ, to watch you walking down the aisle like that. It could only have happened outside, it could only have happened with that dress, and it could only have happened without the Model T.”

And there it was—the reason for the outdoors, the overheating car, and all the discomfort. It was an answer to my prayer from the day before. As everyone else was mesmerized by my dress, I was mesmerized by my groom. While everyone else had eyes on me, I had eyes only for the groom to whom I was about to pledge my troth.

All those years of being single. All those weddings I planned for other people. All the online dating and crushes and talking to other men. All the sanctification of a relationship. All the hardship and uncertainty of a pandemic wedding. All the heartache of the people who couldn’t come. All the things that broke down and went wrong. All of that led up to me, in wedding clothes that were literally shining, standing at the altar with my groom. With my vision filled with Brian’s face, my thoughts filled with Brian, and my heart full of love for Brian, my dreams came true. And joy ruled the day.

One day, after the hardship and trials of this life, in the same way that Brian and I faced each other on our wedding day, you and I will face Jesus—our hearts full of love, our dreams coming true, and joy ruling our eternal day. A day that does not have horrible weather, masks, parking lots, or cars that run out of gas.

And it will be glorious.

EPILOGUE: I’ve been blogging for years about singleness, and I have a lot of single followers. I’m still debating what to do with this blog, but I do know that I don’t want to turn it into a place to muse about marriage. I was single in my 30’s, and I want this to be a safe place for people who are single in their 30’s and beyond.

However, I do want to muse about marriage somewhere, so I started an Instagram account. If you care to follow further adventures with me, find me on there @theblithewife. If not, that’s okay. Either way, know that I love you and am praying for you as we eagerly await the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

My Recent Adulting

I turned 34 this week. Gosh, I love being in my 30’s. I threw myself a pizza party, baked and decorated myself a cake, bought “Happy Birthday” plates and pink stripey napkins, and invited adult friends over who gave me flowers as gifts. I love it all.

Most days, I even love being single in my 30’s. I have friends my age whose kids are in middle school now, and I wonder when they ever had time to figure out themselves. I have friends with 6 kids, friends with a divorce or two, and friends with incredible how-I-met-your-mother stories. When I look at their lives, I don’t know how they do it, and I’m just so glad that God has given me the life I have.

(I even found out this week that some of the little girls at church think Nicole and I are SO COOL for being independent women and roommates in our own cute little apartment. We are pretty cool, aren’t we?)

What I don’t love so much is the level of adulting required some days. When I was a kid, I thought being an adult was 90% fun and 10% work. And some days, it really is. But these past couple of months have required some serious adulting. At a couple of points, I even had to fight back the lie that I could have dealt with my problems better if I’d had a husband to help me out. Read More

My Valentine’s Musings

I’ve blogged before about how much I love Valentine’s Day, but I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much I love my birthday. I love other people’s birthdays, too, but I LOVE my birthday. I celebrate all month.

Early in February, I threw a little birthday party for myself. I invited all my friends in San Diego to come to lunch on Super Bowl Sunday – after church, but before the game. I had 20-25 people RSVP, and I reserved tables at a local restaurant.

I know to hold RSVP’s loosely – especially in San Diego, and especially since most of the people on the guest list were from my old church (which is notoriously bad with RSVPs). But even I was surprised when only 10 people besides me showed up. Literally half of the people who said they were coming wound up not coming, and some of them didn’t even text to say sorry. They simply didn’t show. Read More

My Birthday Prayer

Today is my birthday. I turned 32 at 6:57 am (PST). I’m still single.

My prayer this week has been, “God, remind me of the value of waiting. Remind me in this limbo that You are still good.”

I’ve blogged a lot about how I get to know Jesus more in the waiting and in singleness, but this week I’ve been normalizing singleness. (Translation: I could have way worse problems.)

I would never, ever poo-poo the hardships of the single life. Valentine’s Day is coming up again, with its mixed feelings. Loneliness is real and sometimes inevitable. Dating is weird.

Sometimes, yes, singleness is actual suffering. But in blogging about it (in other words, processing it ALL THE TIME), I think I sometimes lose track of the bigger picture.

My church has been reading the book of Acts together, and those first-century Christians had some serious problems. Sometimes, the political leaders would say, “okay, you’re right,” and then beat them up anyway! (Acts 5:37-40) No matter how hard they did the right thing and spoke only good things about God, they were imprisoned, kicked out, beaten up, and even killed.

And it wasn’t just the first-century Christians who had that problem. Throughout history, Christians have been tortured and ostracized and separated from their families. In some periods of history, different church factions would burn EACH OTHER at the stake. Good grief.

I hear contemporary stories all the time about men arrested for holding church in their homes, or women killed by their families for professing Jesus over Allah.

Even if I didn’t want to talk about the persecuted church, there are plenty of other problems I could talk about: abortion, Syrian refugees, human trafficking… Read More