My Sister's Wedding
Exactly one month ago today, my sweet sister married the love of her life. I was lucky enough to be her maid of honor, so I’d been anticipating the day for a while. I’d seen flower options and dresses and shoes and centerpieces. I was completely prepared for my job on the day of. Taylor’s wedding was the fifth wedding I’ve been in as a bridesmaid in the last 4 years.
I watched as my nieces, who looked so grown up in their junior bridesmaid dresses, walked down the aisle, the Blue Ridge Mountains just beyond them on the horizon. One by one the bridesmaids went. When it was my turn, I looked into a crowd full of faces I knew. They all smiled, and I thought about how special it was to be part of this. My dad sat at the end of the aisle, waiting to walk Taylor, and he kissed my cheek before I kept going. After nearly two years of illness and progress and setbacks, the fact that he was here, let alone walking, was miraculous.
As soon as Taylor appeared, my eyes teared up. I hadn’t expected to be this emotional. I knew I’d probably cry during the vows, but I could barely look at Taylor OR Stephen without crying. Their happiness was evident, and we were all there to witness it.
I’ve never been to a wedding ceremony quite as beautiful as Taylor’s, but I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased. What was so beautiful about the ceremony was just how much of a hand God had in their relationship in the first place. They met on a dating app, both having their distances set to 10 miles. Stephen lived 100 miles from Taylor, yet they met anyway. The reverend spoke about God’s providence in bringing them together and creating them as perfect complements to the other.
Taylor and Stephen wrote their own vows, and both of them let me read them before the ceremony. I figured since I’d already heard them, I’d be fine. Wrong. I held Taylor’s bouqet in my right hand and mine in my left, so I had no choice but to let the tears slide all the way down my cheeks. I expected to have zebra stripes down my face in the pictures, but God spared me that embarrassment.
The best thing about their vows was that they both promised to put Christ first. Their love is truly a reflection of the Creator who made them, who gave each one the other as a gift to show His love. I haven’t seen that in many other weddings. I didn’t realize quite how important that is.
I’ve spent a lot of my dating life willing to make compromises in order to keep a relationship. I’m not talking about “we’ll go to the scary movie if you take out the trash” compromises or “we’ll do Christmas with my family and Thanksgiving with yours” compromises. I mean the big kind, like being with someone who doesn’t love Jesus, who doesn’t want kids, who doesn’t think that mental illness is a real thing. I convinced myself that these half-relationships where I had to hide myself could be good, successful, and even better than singleness.
Watching Taylor and Stephen commit to God and each other, I realized that’s what I want. I want someone who’s first thought is Jesus, not me. I want someone who can appreciate who I am, yet push me to be better – to be like Christ. Standing up there, as Taylor and Stephen became husband and wife, I heard a sweet whisper on the wind: “You will have this, too. Be patient,” it said.
Later that evening, after filling ourselves with macaroni and cheese and barbecue and rum and Coke, I joined Taylor and my dad for the father-daughter dance. My tears started again as the three of us danced and celebrated a moment we thought might not arrive. A few seconds later, my mom and step-mom joined us, the five of us swaying in a circle, arms wrapped around each other. And in the circle with us – the grace of God – helping us disregard past hurts and conflicts, letting us be what we are: a slightly misshapen family, yet still so full of love.