I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember how clear and how blue the sky was, and I remember the warm, salty breeze from the ocean rustling the streamers in the old oak trees. I remember the charming, antique hotel– the same place where Richard Nixon burned papers in the fireplace and where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald vacationed at the grey Atlantic.
I remember the notes from the bagpiper on the hill, the little girls in white dresses and flowers in their hair. I remember taking portraits and gently grasping the golden sea grass on the ocean’s dunes. I remember my dad, shining in his uniform, walking me down the aisle. I remember being so nervous saying our vows. I remember the wind picked up right as we all bowed to pray. God was with us as He is always with us. But I, surrounded by those whom I love on this earth and by those whom I’ve lost to heaven, sensed His presence that day– the day I married my best friend.
Turns out– this decision was the best I could have made.
Throughout my church life I was told what a godly man looked like. I made lists in youth group of “what I was looking for.” But, what if what you are taught to look for isn’t really the whole truth? I thought I knew best, but I think, to paraphrase Woody Allen, God laughed at my plans.
“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” (Psalm 16:9).
The man I married wasn’t the man I envisioned on my list. Instead he is the man God knew that I needed. He serves sacrificially every day. He shows me Christ’s love in a thousand ways, small ones and big. His compassion is his greatest strength. A few weeks ago we took in a cat to be rescued. The cat shook in fear. Over and over, Jacob stroked the cat’s head, his back. “It’s going to be okay. You’re alright. There’s no need to be worried.”The cat would tense at my touch but soften at his. Over and over I am reminded how he calms me, too. He is an umbrella arching into the storm for me, protecting me– yes– but in comforting me, leading me– helping me on to do the hard things, too.
He proves one can be gentle and strong. Tough and kind. He is resilience to my sensitivity. He is steadiness to my worry, an anchor to my wandering. In the Bell Jar, poet Plath writes, “The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.” Once upon a time I too thought like Esther– the protagonist of the novel– that I wanted this life. Then I realized– this life with J– is the greatest adventure. Everything that I thought I wanted was not in fact what I needed. And I am deeply grateful.
photo by Alamy
Wedding photos by Jenelle Sewell