As I prepared for my wedding, I wrote this, reflecting on the heart of unity:

Lately my mind has been thinking about unity. As the countdown closes in on Emily and I’s wedding, (November 19th) I can’t help but evaluate what doing life together truly looks like. Now, before I begin using the buzzword of all buzzwords, let me remind you that both Paul and Jesus remind us that life together is sacrificial, sanctifying, joyful and woeful. Being in a family, or community, (there I said it) takes time, resources, relational reverence, and most importantly love. If we can’t receive love from God and in turn love ourselves well, there is no way we can begin to love others well.

This year I have had the privilege of attending or being a part of nearly a dozen weddings. My fiancé can attest to the fact that I love marriage and I love love. Seriously, enjoying a wedding will probably always be one of my favorite events. With each marriage comes a new spin on tradition, and each has its own personality. Yet, it always boils down to the people involved. Weddings are the beginning of new families, and a community’s opportunity to lavish love on the newlyweds. Jesus loves weddings so much that He performed His first miracle at one, (even though He didn’t feel like it was time yet).

Lately, my fiancé and I have been growing closer together. She is without a doubt the most amazing woman ever (she is a super babe as well, I am WAY out of my league). It seems like a majority of our time is spent together, (which I am not complaining about). What is happening in our relationship is forcing me to refocus my time and energy toward relationships that the Lord is leading me to either keep or let go.

Engagement is hard, and understanding friendships and family in the midst of engagement is intense. Honestly, I feel entirely inadequate when it comes to keeping up with friends at the moment. There is no doubt in my mind that I am letting people down. That truth hurts my heart, but it is a place I have to let Jesus take care of me. He is the one that brought Emily and I together and He will be the one to lead us in our future. With that, I would like to take a moment to apologize to every couple that I have ever questioned regarding friendship in the midst of the pre-marital into early marriage seasons. I would also like to ask for grace from those of you who don’t quite comprehend what it is I am talking about. In order for me to be a good husband, I have to leave my family to be one with Emily.

This is where relational reverence comes into play. If in our seasons of being challenged and experiencing change, we don’t allow the Lord to speak to us and create a “save” and a “set aside” pile, we will likely step into our next season overtaxed and unable to function. Mind you, no one wants to hurt people’s feelings, but our responsibility is to be true to the Lord first and faithful to the season He has us in. People are powerful beings, but as my brother AT always says, “if someone is pressing your buttons, that means you gave them the remote.” Be a powerful being with self-control.

The Lord is bringing to light the importance of past relationships and helping me to have reverence for them. Having deep-founded respect for your friendships, both past and present, will allow you to better recognize what it means to be sons and daughters of God. It is through love and by love we can give love. God is love. Understanding and respecting love will allow us to cover others in love. Love itself cast out fear. Fear is one of the major deterrents in relationships. Take a moment to reflect on past relationships that were challenging. Fear and brokenness, which are made whole by love, are oftentimes the things that keep us from going deeper and becoming more transparent with others. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25. The word “may” in this excerpt is an invitation into these suggested ideas of community.

    “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. Sacrifice. Jesus teaches us what it is to sacrifice, and reminds us that there is no greater love than sacrifice. Great love costs us! Are you willing to spend yourself in order to love others? 

All of these thoughts have been running around in my brain as I prepare to step into marriage, and figure out once again how to have friendships and in the light of marriage. Jesus, help me have reverence for every relationship that I have, help me to be sacrificial in love and help me to trust you above all, in the process of everything! Thank you friends, both past and present, for continuing to teach me about Jesus, and consequently, teaching me more and more about who I am in Christ.

October 2016.