In spite of a raging root canal infection developing
In spite of her own emotions and needs
Kelsie was there for me…
We sat together, observed the Salvadoran wedding ceremony,
I think I even put my hand on her lap just because it felt good to have her near
I did not feel alone anymore. We haven’t been family for all that long. She and Aaron have only been married since May but her kindness embraced and ministered to my spirit.
Though I told her that I was her project for the evening, I didn’t expect her to take it seriously. Or to do it cheerfully. For someone so new to the care of feeding of a mother-in-law, Kelsie is a pro. That night, our entire family welcomed a new dear one to our family together.
Lu became Kelsie’s sister that night. Lu became another daughter for me to love.
I’m one blessed gall bladder.
Thanks be to God. Thank you Lord for noticing me and for using a special girl to offer me things I needed.
My experience with rehearsal dinners is limited and I’m only three weeks into having a daughter-in-law and a married son. That’s a lot to process, lemme tell ya! So today with permission from Aaron, it’s my privilege to share the beautiful words my ministry-minded middle olive shoot shared less than 24 hours before he got married.
For a young man, Aaron’s words and reflections are beyond his chronological age. I never expected him to speak so beautifully and yet, I am not surprised at his eloquence and maturity either. Nonetheless it still took my breath away, the loveliness and depth of his words. I am a proud mama to be sure.
Aaron spoke after my husband and I both shared. Soon, I will post the words we spoke that night. But as I sat at the table that evening, I wiped away tears full of emotion and amazement.
Here is Aaron’s tribute to his bride-to-be…
My life has been pretty exciting so far. I’ve been able to travel around the world and the country. I go to college in a big city. I work at Starbucks! I mean, what could be more exciting than that?
And now, at 19, I’m getting married.
I’d say the Lord has richly blessed me.
More than I know, more than I could ever express. I could not be happier or more excited to join Kelsie’s family; I consider it such a joy. And I have no words to thank my parents and my brothers for the love they gave me and continue to give me as I get older.
Thank you to my friends, especially Caleb and John who have helped me grow over the past two years more than I could have imagined. Y’all have been with me through incredible struggle and encouraged me and advised me so much. To all of you I want to say thank you. Thank you for blessing me. I am a blessed man. I realize that continually and I realize that far too little.
The world thinks of marriage as death, as boring, as stifling. It sees the union that God creates in husband and wife and calls it the “old ball and chain.” And as a very young man getting married I may have to agree with them. Marriage will kill you and it will hurt.
But the Lord has shown me this in a different light.
The song in our first dance tomorrow attends to this. It says,“‘I do” are the two most famous last words, The beginning of the end, But to lose your life for another I’ve heard, Is a good place to begin. ‘Cause the only way to find your life Is to lay your own life down, And I believe it’s an easy price For the life that we have found.”
I was so nervous the day I proposed. I went to the bathroom at the P.F. Changs before we walked to the Chicago River where I was going to propose, the ring in my pocket. My heart was beating so fast; I actually couldn’t believe it. I had no doubt that she would say yes and I was still so nervous. I was pondering the weight of what I was about to do. I was gonna ask this girl to marry me. I really couldn’t believe it. It was such a momentous step, a leap into the unknown, this unbelievable thing that was marriage. And honestly, I feel the same way now. I have very little doubt that Kelsie will also say “I do” on Saturday. But I’m nervous stepping into this uncharted, terrifying territory that is Holy Matrimony.
But maybe that’s the beauty in it.
The world looks at the requirement of marriage that is dying to yourself with spite and malice –
I look at it and am dumbfounded that I would be so blessed to have the offer of the love and security within our marriage and to be told that what I have to do in return is to lose my life.
To gain the life that we will have together it means I must lay my own life down. The song goes on, “‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man So there’s nothing left to fear, So I’ll walk with you in the shadow lands Till the shadows disappear. ‘Cause he promised not to leave us And his promises are true, So in the face of all this chaos, baby, I can dance with you.”
So, in one sense I understand the world’s qualms and cavils against marriage. It will kill you, but it is the most beautiful thing.Thomas Torrance, a Scottish Theologian wrote of marriage, “When a man and a woman come together in this way, they are made to participate in the active will of their Creator, and in their union and society they reflect the image of the Holy God. In them God brings his act of creation to its fulfillment. Therefore when a man and a woman marry, God is at work doing a new thing in which they both share in their innermost being. Ever after each is unthinkable apart from the other.” Life in another, mutual self-giving, for the Moody Bible students with us, here’s a word for you, perichoresis.As Christ lays down His life for His Church, as He gives Himself to us, so it is with marriage. And that scares me, that makes me nervous. I bend beneath the weight of that calling. But it is a beautiful thing.
Kelsie is an incredible woman. I had no clue that I would ever marry a girl like Kelsie, I had no idea that I would ever see such beauty. She’s asked me before why I love her and I quickly responded, “You’re little and cute.” And that’s true, she’s very pretty.
But that falls so short of all who Kelsie is.
She is tender and feels strongly. Not high-maintenance or overly emotional but tender.
She is caring and compassionate, I am often anxious and I’ll tell her. She’ll ask me what I need and I tell her I need to be anxious with her near. I need her compassionate tenderness close to me. She is, as Caleb will quickly say, industrious. I have never seen such diligence and desire to learn about the Lord.
She is constantly reading and teaching me and challenging me. I always feel out-learned because I really am.
She is skillful and talented, at her job as a nanny, she is incredible. With three little boys 5 and under she works incredibly hard and does wonders for children who are not even her own.
She is fun. Kelsie and I are both homebodies. Most of the time we just want to sit and hang out drink some coffee, read, watch a movie. But there’s no one else I want to sit around with.
She loves Jesus, is captivated by His grace. It is a beautiful thing to see the girl you love continually encounter Christ.And she is little and cute.
That is the beauty in Kelsie, the truest beauty that comes from Christ in her. I am a blessed man, more than I will ever know, or ever feel, or ever express.
And I’m nervous about this Saturday, and for that matter, the next 20 or 30 or 100 years that we have with one another. I am blessed man but I am also an unable man.
So I pray that God will love Kelsie through me. I read that we love because Christ first loved us. So I ask the Lord that we will, in the love of Jesus only, love one another. Thanks y’all.
Here is the link to Aaron and Kelsie’s first dance as a married couple. You have to listen to it!
I was honored to share this with you, thanks so much for reading!
To see a groom behold his bride for the very first time
That moment when they first lay eyes on each other
It’s hard not to cry, isn’t it? Heck, I’m verklempt even watching Say Yes to the Dress and I’ve only personally known one bride that’s ever been on that show! Click here to watch the episode!
Yet to my surprise, when my middle olive shoot saw his beloved last Saturday morning in a church tucked away in verdant Pennsylvania
Tears escaped me as it happened in front of my eyes
Not that I didn’t find it precious and a bit surreal
But when I stood watching my son prepare to turn and step into the day and the role of husband
Times we had prayed for all these years – both just with him and as a family
It would have been wrong to cry because I just felt joy
Uncle Alan directed the photo shoot which kept the mood light which helped, thank you, kind sir!
Even after making this simple video,
It’s like after Thanksgiving dinner
When everyone is gone and I put on my pj’s. I pile my plate high with food – turkey and gravy, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, whipped cream. That’s my moment when I truly savor the meal minus any other responsibilities.
Now I’m able to soak up all the deliciousness
The quietude allows me to absorb it all.
Less than 60 seconds
I watch over and over again, my heart full of gratitude…
How about you? A special wedding moment you observed or experienced? I’d love to hear your stories and share the bliss!