Tomorrow I wake up and celebrate my upcoming marriage with a bridesmaid brunch with friends and family who have loved me for years and loved me well -- the good parts and the not so good parts! What a blessing to have a few good friends and even more of a blessing to have several godly women who have been my second family for the past several years. Single years can be lonely for many, but for the past several years, I have had friends to celebrate happy moments and mourn sad ones with.
Likewise, I will spend the day with my parents, family and sisters. My family is the type of family you want to be a member of. I don't say that arrogantly. We aren't some "exclusive big name" family...but we are the type of family who has your back. Do not hurt one of our siblings because then you face the whole crew. My sisters are my maid and matron of honor and have been there for me for years. My sister Marley never quit thinking I would get married and would refer to one day at your wedding, when you have kids, etc. I very vividly remember calling my sister soon after my broken engagement and crying and she didn't say anything, she just cried too. Ansley is my "first daughter" -- always encouraging and believing in her older sisters and acting as our younger sidekick. She's been interning in Jackson this semester and was at almost all my wedding appointments, helping me make good decisions (because she has more fun taste than I do, I'm afraid!) My brother is a sweetheart, always getting defensive of his sisters and always trying to be silly and make us laugh.
My parents raised me to know the Lord and know what a marriage should look like. Its possible I could have gotten married earlier if I was willing to settle for something less than what they have. They are far from perfect, but they love and forgive and show grace to each other and their children. They raised us in a home where the gospel was a daily aspect of our lives. They pushed me to be my best and not just grow up and get married. We could be anything we strived to be - if that was a mom, great, if that was a lawyer, great! They prayed for me to meet Dave and believed he existed even when I didn't and they helped me (and all their children at some point) through the worst time in my life. Like Ansley, my mom has amazing taste and helped make my wedding great! My dad worked hard to provide me with a lovely day!
And finally, I get to marry Dave, the one for whom my soul longs. I waited 27 years to find him (which isn't quite true as I was quite unaware of boys for half of those years!) He is so good to me, so hardworking, so loving, so loyal, and absolutely adorable. Additionally, the way God worked it out was that He has a lot of the qualities I don't and vice versa and I truly think we are shaping eachother into better people, although painful at times. Like Keller refers to in his Meaning of Marriage book, I am excited to see the man God is making Dave into! I look forward to spending years getting to know Dave and getting to know him again as we grow and change.
The thing is -- only one blessing is new to me. I think thats why weddings are special. I think thats why others are involved. Dave and I could do this by ourselves, and at times, I thought we should just elope, but I am so blessed to have so many people who have made my life rich. I love Dave and he makes me life great, but my life was full of goodness even before him! If I could do one part of singleness over, it would be that I would aim to realize my blessings more. I think I realized them more and more the older I got! And when I realized my blessings, I was happier, more joyful and more grateful. Probably a good lesson to take into marriage as well.
So thats why today is special....yes, I see God's faithfulness and provision in bringing Dave along and in preparing us for a lifetime together. But, its also a reminder of God's faithfulness all along the way, even in childhood, to surround me with Godly wonderful people who love encourage and challenge me.