On this fine day five years ago, I walked down an aisle in a white dress to meet the man I knew was “the one” (even after earning failing grades in three of the Prepare/Enrich categories!) and declare in the presence of God and those who love me that I would be his wife.
I remember the tears I shed as I spoke with my grandfather on my dad’s cell phone, moments before walking down the aisle. He was not well enough to travel to the ceremony, and I told him that we were having “How Great Thou Art” sung in his honor.
I remember Grace Greenidge, suffering from cancer treatments, leading us all in worship. She and the Irvington crew barely made it to the ceremony in time as the drive up from Portland was terribly difficult for her to endure. But she insisted on being there. She could barely stand and at one point during the set of worship songs, she had to be seated in a chair. As we sang “I See the Lord”, I remember marveling at the power of her leadership: a broken vessel, stronger than she had ever been in engaging us in the presence of God.
I remember Pastor Mike telling everyone gathered that we had “thrown a shutout” in terms of our abysmal scores in the areas of personality, communication and conflict on the Prepare/Enrich pre-marital test. I remember him exhorting us that we were indeed “made for each other.” I remember him telling everyone how I had made the claim that I would rub Doug’s feet every day (which Doug will be quick to tell you has NOT happened!).
I remember David Nystrom talking to us about the “stones” that we would use to build the altar of our remembrance of who God is and how God has been with us, and how generations after would see those stones and ask of their significance.
I remember crying when Annemarie sang: “now walk with me tenderly out from this place and into the stretches of sky; trusting that he who began a good work will carry us home by and by.”
I remember Pastor Henry exhorting us to serve, to struggle, and to be satisfied (actually, I had to watch the video just now to remember the last one…the “struggle” part I have not so easily forgotten).
In reality, the day was full of glitches (of which I was blissfully unaware), but it was a day I remember as infinitely precious and beautiful. And I wake up every day with the reason for that beside me.
Some have already commented on our rather impressive statistics in these five years in terms of calamities and babies. We have seemed to be quite fruitful in both! We have indeed learned the fullness of what five years can teach about serving and struggling. And I think that God’s word to me today as I remember all of this is that third exhortation: to know true satisfaction in the midst of it all.
I love you, Doug. Five years, three babies, an MDiv and a church-plant later, we are stronger than ever. Take THAT, Prepare/Enrich.