Wowza - big breath in, big breath out... This blog post is one I have gone back and forth on posting for the last week. With sudden changes from day to day, I think we can all agree the virus is more impactful than many of us expected, especially couples with upcoming weddings.
On March 11th, Jordan and I had our first real conversation about the possibility of the wedding we have been planning for 10 months being shifted by the virus. "I think this is something we should be paying attention to... It really could have an impact on us in a big way." I remember replaying these words Jordan spoke over and over that day at work. I felt myself becoming nervous, anxious, and overwhelmed quickly. That evening, Jordan and I agreed we would watch the pandemic closely and make our final decision regarding postponement two weeks later.
As the next weeks seemed to both fly by and drag on, the situation continued to worsen. Our emotions and worry followed quickly behind. As I tried to hone in on every ounce of optimism I had, I prayed profusely for our wedding to not be impacted. It became more and more apparent the decision to cancel our long awaited wedding plans was being made for us. With several family members being impacted or immunocompromised, we couldn't imagine our day without them and we ultimately decided the wedding needed to be postponed.
After making the announcement to our close friends and family, we cried together and said goodbye to the vision we had for our day. I found myself questioning how God was going to use this awful experience in our lives. What could there possibly be to learn from such a terrible situation?
Whenever I found myself feeding thoughts like this, I found anxiety, anger, and fear were not far behind. I began encouraging myself to list positives about postponing our wedding. I feel like God has been tugging at my heart to share the lessons I have been learning the last few weeks, even if to help just one other couple.
While postponing our wedding after a year of planning is definitely not ideal, it is now a part of our story and who we are as a couple. God is utilizing this situation to draw us closer to one another and to Him.
If this piece helps even one person through this tough time, it is has done exactly what I am hoping to accomplish. Remember, we are not alone in this. Through every experience, good or bad, there are lessons God is teaching us along the way.
1. Marriage > Wedding
The first lesson I found God teaching me, is our marriage is so much greater than our wedding day. In our society, we are so easily enthused by the idea of beautiful photos, a gorgeous wedding cake, and cute getting-ready robes. While postponing a wedding certainly warrants feelings of grief and sorrow, our main goal of this all is to be joined in marriage.
A wedding is a beautiful earthly celebration of our commitment, but it is also just that - an earthly celebration.
When Jordan and I were first engaged, we were eager to follow authors Jeremy and Audrey Roloff's encouragement to "plan more for your marriage than your wedding day." After our vendors had officially been notified, I quickly realized my mind-frame had somehow drastically shifted in the last 10 months of our engagement. I was overcome with sorrow for not experiencing that day the way I had originally planned, rather than the sorrow that our marriage could potentially be shifted as well.
First and foremost, I have been taught to shift my perspective. While May 18th might not be exactly how we had hoped, we should first be focused on preparing to love and honor our spouse. Our wedding day will eventually happen, and we must remember that day is just one out of a lifetime of commitment.
2. Vulnerability is Key
For any of you Enneagram followers out there, I am a '3 Wing 2' to a tee. Titled as 'an achiever', I am extremely driven by accomplishing goals and my desire to be admired and accepted. While this can come with many positives, it also has its hardships. One of those being that vulnerability can be very difficult for me.
More often than not, I am nowhere near eager to share negative aspects or situations with others. While I will share from time to time, I have to realllly encourage myself to do so. I struggle letting others know I'm uncomfortable or that I'm dealing with a difficult season because it goes against everything my brain encourages me to do.
This is where the second lesson comes in. God is teaching me vulnerability can be helpful, positive, and even necessary throughout our lives.
If you are an engaged couple during this time, I strongly urge you to share your true feelings with your friends and family. Unsure when your wedding will actually be? Tell them. Angry about having to cancel? Tell them. Now more than ever, they want to be there to support and love you. It's okay to outright say, "this really sucks and we're very sad about it." Share with them your true raw emotions, even if those feelings are sensitive or negative during this time.
3. Lean on The Father
The third and most important lesson God has been teaching me, is to put my trust in Him. The phrase "do not be afraid" is listed in the Bible more than any other phrase, which I do not find accidental. During these months of uncertainty and worry, God is teaching all of us more than ever to lean on Him.
As a bride with a postponed wedding, it's easy to feel discouraged or like you've been let down. The truth is, these emotions are not emotions that come from our Father. Thankfully, God did not give us a heart of fear, but instead a heart of courage.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV we are told, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
If you are someone struggling in finding where or who you should place your hope and trust in, look no further than God's Word. Weddings and other special events may be postponed until further notice, but we are being taught more lessons through this each and every day.
One day (we're not sure when), Jordan and I will gladly make the commitment of marriage to one another. Whenever our wedding is, I know it will be beautiful... But for the rest of our lives, I will always remember this and the lessons I was taught through experiencing it as an engaged couple.
My encouragement to all of us is to look for the positive in every situation. May we remember this unprecedented time and what it has taught each of us. And for all engaged couples, may we always remember:
to hold our marriage above the hype of a wedding day
sharing vulnerable moments does not make us weak, but rather draws us closer to those who love us
we have not been given hearts of fear, but instead hearts of courage