Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Night to Remember

I felt naked today.

For the first time in our two years of marriage, I forgot to put my wedding ring on. It's actually rare that I ever take it off, but last night I was dealing with pizza dough and who really wants dough caught between a ring and a finger? So, I took it off... and completely forgot about it until this morning when I sat down at my desk.

I remember putting the ring on for the first time. The new spacer in between my fingers felt unnatural and weird, and I wondered if I'd ever get used to it. I'm not really a jewelry person, so anything foreign (earrings, bracelets, rings) bothers me. But, as everyone assured me, I got used to it. The ring became my normal, my every day. It's less sparkly than it was, and it's definitely dirty... but it's always on.

Ironically enough, on the very (only) day I forgot to put my ring back on, my husband and I reached our 2 year anniversary mark. Anniversaries are a funny thing... probably filled with expectations and anticipations. Mostly I just like to remember.

I like to remember our wedding day and all the people that bent over backwards to make it exceptional. The people who drove hundreds of miles, the people who spent way too much money, the people who gave up their time and their sleep and their energy. The ladies who made hay bales look pretty, the guys who moved giant stumps, the millions of other tiny details that caused many people to sweat it out in the too hot of a September day that it was.

I like to remember the go-karts and the batting cages, in my bridesmaids attempts at making sure my wedding day didn't solely consist of make-up and hair spray. I like to remember my sister-in-laws join effort in doing my hair because my hair plans fell through. I like to remember the bridesmaid dress that couldn't quite zip up minutes before walking out the door and the panic that then ensued. I like to remember the prayers that they prayed over me, moments before I was to walk down the aisle.

My husband and I saw each other before the wedding, choosing to take pictures prior to the event....choosing to allow our first glance of each other to be in private. I like to remember the moment when he first saw me and the moment when I first saw him. The moment when you realize: this is really happening. I like to remember all the picturesque locations, the giant mosquitos that got caught in my veil (which had to inevitably be edited out of a few pictures), and the heels that sank into the loose soil. The heels that I would forgo for bare feet for the actual ceremony.

Not long after, I clutched my father's arm to walk down the slope to greet my groom. I like to remember the faces that beamed at me as I made my way down. Faces from all over the country, faces I had seen just that day and faces I hadn't seen in many years. Faces of people who were cheering for me, for us. Faces of people who had prayed and pleaded with me for this very moment. Faces of people who had cried with me in the heartaches, faces of people who had loved me through my entire life. Faces of people who I didn't know well yet, but who were graciously welcoming me into their family with kind, open arms.

I like to remember the instruments (not real, of course) that orchestrated the verses that pierced my heart deeply with each step. In Christ alone, my hope is found...He is my light, my strength, my sound.

© Catherine Rhodes Photography 2014
I like to remember standing there, hands clasped with the man I was to marry, in front of our friends and family and listening to the words my oldest brother spoke to us as he officiated our wedding. His words were sincere, passionate, compelling - reminding us of the commitment we were making to each other.  I like to remember the way the sun began to set and the lyrics we sung as we came before the Lord in worship together. Jesus Paid it All.... all to Him I owe.. 

And while everything after those moments are a blur, I like to remember getting in a canoe in my wedding dress for a silhouetted lake shot, the toasts that were made, the crazy dancing, the friends and family that I finally got to talk to and laugh with (for too short of a time), and the fireworks that exploded as we made our way to the 'getaway' car.

It was literally a night to remember.
The best night.
And while it was just another night to almost every other person there, it was a night that changed my life forever. A night where the Lord swung me around happily in His arms, gently telling me: See?!!? This is what I've had in store for you! I've been waiting to show you for so long, and now it's here! Isn't delightful? Aren't you so glad you waited?

It was a night where I wept much, as I realized again and again how much He loves me. He was willing to give more than what I needed, more than what He promised... and He was willing to give it to me: impatient, selfish, demanding, entirely too human.

I wish I could do our wedding over again.
I wish I could have all those same people back in one place, for more time.

My ring is back on again, and life feels a bit more normal.
The ring reminds me- not only that I'm married and that I have to learn day in and day out how to live more selflessly, but it reminds me that the Lord is just who He says He is: faithful. In all things. In all seasons. And His faithfulness doesn't have to look a certain way for Him to actually be faithful. It can be slow, it can even seem painful...but it is real and it is good.

Because God is good.
All the time.
I hope I never forget it.

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