7.22.2017

Celebrating a soon-to-be BRIDE!

Today I had the honor of being a part of a bridal shower for one of my sweet girls ~ Karen.
All of COMMITTED was there to celebrate her and we enjoyed a delightful day sipping tea, consuming scones, salads, and sandwiches, being entertained by the lovely hostesses, watching Karen open a myriad of gifts to help make their new house a home, and rejoicing over the beauty of marriage.
It was a fanTAStic day!
The Lord has drawn Brett and Karen together to love, honor, and cherish one another until death parts them, and it is a privilege to be invited into their relationship to encourage, support, challenge, and love them as individuals and as a couple.
The Lord formed a friendship between me and Karen almost two years ago when she sat on my couch for her first COMMITTED night. She was willing to share the truths buried deep within her heart, ask hard questions, and say, "I need more. Will you meet with me?" And since then, both of us have rejoiced together, cried together, prayed together, and loved one another with sincerity.

Because of this, it was an absolute joy to have been asked to give a short devotion at her shower before she dove into her pile of bridal gifts. Trying to sum up the character of a person in the span of only a few minutes is quite difficult, so I asked the Lord to give me something succinct that would match the need of the moment, and He immediately reminded me of Karen's own words when describing the theme she wanted for her wedding. 

I want to share it here because though written for a specific person, the truth applies to every one of us, and sometimes we need to be reminded how much we are loved by an amazing God.

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● grace ●

It is the theme of Brett and Karen’s wedding - because they want the truth of what grace means to touch every part of their day.

When you look up the word "grace" in the dictionary, it may as well have a photo of Karen next to it!
Dictionary Definition: simple elegance or refinement of movement
Synonyms: elegance, poise, gracefulness, courtesy, decorum, tact

While I think we would all agree that this word accurately describes our sweet friend, the dictionary definition is not the definition that matters to her.
What grips her is the Biblical definition of grace: the free and unmerited favor of God
Synonyms: approval, acceptance, esteem, regard

This definition matters, because no matter how hard we try, no matter what we do or say, we will never receive from any human relationship the amazing and perfect grace offered only by a holy, wonderful, loving, and merciful God.
We will never make everyone happy, we will never meet all of their desires or demands, and we will never be “enough.” This is disheartening, but without something unattractive to measure against, beauty does not shine as brightly. 
We will never be enough as we are to satisfy any person - but we ARE enough to satisfy a God who willingly sacrificed His own Son to save us though we did absolutely nothing to deserve it.

I can speak confidently for Karen when I say that this is the truth that drives her.
The same God who created this world, parted the Red Sea, knocked down the walls of Jericho, healed the blind, and raised the dead … this same God looks at Karen Ann Rockwell with eyes full of love and says, “I approve. You are my beloved daughter, and you are enough - just as you are.”

And that - is grace.

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I wanted the last thought to come from the man you are going to marry, so I asked Brett how he would connect the word “grace” to you, his future bride. This is what he said …

Karen has said from the beginning that she wants the theme of the wedding to be grace, not because we are going to have the perfect marriage, but because we are going to be two sinners coming together for the rest of our lives where showing grace to each other is vital to the integrity of our relationship.
She has a relationship with Jesus who died for her despite her sin and brokenness. She recognizes that sacrifice and strives to show other people the same grace that was freely given to her.
Karen has a heart to serve others. She sacrifices her personal time to take care of kids in the nursery. She volunteers to babysit so that her friends can have a date night. She went to England to help spread the gospel to lost, broken people.
With me, she has forgiven me for things I have done that broke her heart. Yet she still wants to marry me and spend a lifetime with another sinner.
I think this shows how beautiful she is on the inside, that she is not choosing to marry me because we share happy feelings about each other. Instead, she is choosing to marry me because she is willing to be shaped by God into the woman He created her to be, even if it means showing grace to people who let her down.
Our marriage is not going to be perfect. We are both going to disappoint each other. However, I am lucky and undeserving to be marrying a woman who is more focused on loving others despite their faults, than she is at pointing them out.

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