Jesus really loves weddings. Like a whole lot. Consider how often He uses the bridegroom picture in Scripture. In John 2 we see that a wedding is even where Jesus’ first miracle took place. Looking to the future, I know I am made to be a husband and to take a wife one day (prayerfully soon). As I have mentioned before, this picture is my favorite representation of how greatly Abba loves us. How deeply and passionately He pursues our brokenness until we are to be reunited once again. My best friend, Erik, took a bride, the love of his life, Ashley, on Sunday, October 25, 2015, and the time spent in preparation and execution of the day will go down as one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences of my life.
The Tuesday previous to the big day, I took a flight from Oklahoma City to San Diego, landing some hours before the groom to be. Enter my other best friend, Alex, genuinely one of the most hardworking, honest, loving, and caring individuals you will ever meet. Jesus has tied his head on straight to be diligent in the work of His Kingdom! Over the years, I have learned so much from this man. Super thankful for him!
We hopped on a bus to the Enterprise center, where we walked to the Sheraton Hotel, to sit and talk. Most humans would probably sit and wait at baggage claim. Evidently, we are not most humans! We enjoyed some laughs and caught up. Then we made our way back to the terminal to meet up with Erik.
The three of us, for the past 3 or so years, have been unable to spend more than 20 or so hours straight together as a trio. This week marked a beautiful first time in a long time for us to not be rushed into anything, but allow for our time to be infiltrated by Jesus, and love each other genuinely well. It was beautiful! Our discussions edified and empowered one another, encouraging our brotherhood further. We were able to check in on one another in a way that actually mattered. And yet, now as I sit on this side of it, all I can think about is how we need another month’s worth of time before we could feel at all accomplished in our care for one another. The week will suffice for now.
The bride and her father picked us up from the airport and we traveled north to Temecula, the gorgeous suburbia complete with mountains, vineyards and a plethora of organic eateries. A sincerely lovely homestead!
We found our accommodations across the street from the McGrew residency; a big room in a large house. I couldn’t have been more excited to be staying in such close quarters with my best friends. In the past, we have only needed a single mattress for us all to sleep on, but I guess growing up sometimes looks like having more than one bed!
Wednesday, we went shooting. Handguns, shotguns, rifles-the works. Mr. McGrew has an arsenal of weaponry and is extremely passionate about owning firearms. It was great to become more educated from a man with such a heart to see guns used to serve a protective purpose. Then we got some Thai food, and returned back to the home for an evening of tasks and relaxation.
Thursday was a work day. Alex and I worked diligently on the seating arrangements for the reception while Erik prepared some gifts and such for his bride. We went over music for the ceremony. Then we took an adventure to retrieve some other items for the weekend’s festivities.
Friday was wild. We woke up. We drove to San Diego. There we proceeded to pick up nearly every one of the groomsmen. We rondevoued at the ocean. It was awesome. Surreal even! It was fun to have everyone together for the first time and to feel like everyone fit. Jesus does this from time to time. Takes a team and solidifies it spiritually. It's a cohesive bond that doesn't have a tangible explanation outside of the connected love of Jesus! It was the unification of the groomsmen. And it was supreme.
Saturday felt like one of the longest days of my existence, but not in a bad day. It was rehearsal day, suit fitting day, rehearsal dinner evening and the bachelor party (that didn’t actually happen). Ready, set, go! It felt like a really long sprint. All day there were different potions of hurry up and wait, until the rehearsal dinner, where Holy Spirit took over. We enjoyed a meal and community. Then we joined in worship. Jeremy broke out the cello, Erik and myself on guitar. Needless to say, it was special. The night before the wedding, all of us declaring what this whole thing is truly about. Erik and Ashley are super important because that is what brought this group of people together. But in the midst of everything, is the presence of God. There was a true hunger for the Lord around the fire. Family coming together to declare the goodness of Abba Father! We sat under the star filled sky and marveled at the power of a God that loves us more than we could ever imagine. And then something really cool happened. There was a ring around the moon, a nice reminder for the day to come!
On the Wedding Day, Jesus could not have been more central. Preparing for the ceremony, we prayed and asked God to come. We watched as Ashley and Erik shared vows. We watched as they tied a unity knot symbolizing their commitment. We worshipped. We had communion. This wedding was wonderfully spiritual. We danced at the reception to worshipful songs, all to the glory of God. The whole day was packed full of the love of the Father. And then, as the reception came to a close, the family all joined together. Under the moonlit sky, in the same place the two exchanged vows, under the mesmerizing sounds of the waterfall, we sent them off. There is nothing quite like family realizing how important their role is in the life of a married couple. We stood there, proclaiming the goodness of Jesus over them and prayed for peace and understanding. It was a blessing to be a part of this amazing week. To encounter God through the beauty of marriage. To watch these two kiss for the very first time. To be a witness to their matrimony. It was divine! And Jesus totally loved it.
My prayer looking forward is that my wedding hold the power of Jesus that their’s did. He is central in everything we do. Continue to be central in my heart and life!