Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Sweet Love Between These Two

    Neither were actively looking for another life partner. After debating and discussing his phone call with family and dear friends, she agreed to go out with him as a "friend." He wanted the same. The parameters of the relationship were clearly delineated for these two mature adults. Companionship, movies, nice dinners, concerts, walks, long conversations. Very safe and with no strings attached. Sounds good, right?
     Then something began to happen. She made him laugh. He made her laugh. She began to feel at ease with him and to look forward to their times together. He was like an open book, sharing the sorrows and joys that had made him the man he is today. She began to experience a freedom and a joy she had not known in a long time. She found herself smiling every time she thought of him. The worry lines around her face began to disappear. She seemed almost carefree. She talked to her pastor. She talked to her children. She talked to her friends. She didn't want any secrets, but it was obvious what was happening.
     He was smitten. And so was she. But she wanted to take it slowly. No rush to the altar here. Just slow and steady. He listened and agreed. In the meantime he got to know her children and to adore her grandchildren. He couldn't wait for her to meet his own children. His family is small. Ours is large and raucous by comparison. I saw his head swivel in astonishment a few times at our large, noisy, robust family gatherings, but he hung in there and took the teasing and questions in stride.
     They came for a quiet dinner at our home. One hour stretched into two, then three. We laughed about our long-standing connection with this man (we have known him for 41 years) and how the years have changed us all. It was relaxing and enjoyable. He was kind and thoughtful to her throughout the evening, and I knew it wasn't an act. The months passed.
     Then one evening he called to ask if he could come by. He sat in our living room and talked for a long time with The Husband and me. We all shed tears and then we prayed together. He had done the same with her children. Nothing required him to come to them and to us to ask for her hand in marriage, but his honor and integrity impelled him. It says a lot.
     On Saturday, these two tied the knot before the Lord and before the most important people in their lives. They were surrounded at the altar by their children and her grandchildren. His minister and her minister each spoke to the couple. One of the pastors talked about forgiveness being the oil of relationships and how wonderful it is to be surprised and delighted by the way God continues to work in our lives.
      I felt the powerful presence of the Lord that day. It was a day bathed in grace and mercy, a day bathed in hope and secured with promises. It was a picture of the way God loves to delight His children.
      No one is naive enough to believe that this marriage will be easy, because if you have been married or are married, you know that every marriage is hard work. Period. It requires commitment and sacrifice every single day. No one is exempt. No one gets off the hook. To love another person well is contrary to our "human" nature. It is only as we walk by faith and daily surrender our own agenda can we begin to live and love sacrificially. We must have that oil the pastor, Todd Jones, was talking about. The oil of forgiveness. It's a good thing that God gives it freely to those who love Him.
       Here's to new beginnings. Here's to my precious sister-in-law and her new husband. May their joy be made full in Christ.
The beautiful Stanford Chapel at First Presbyterian Church

The Bride arrives accompanied by her son and his new bride!
 My lovely sister-in-law
 pictured here with her beautiful granddaughters
The Bride wore a collection of family heirlooms: her maternal grandmother's brooch, her paternal grandmother's watch, her daughter's pearl bracelet, 
and she carried a spray of white roses with an antique handkerchief on top of a Bible given
to her parents on their wedding day by the great-grandmother for whom she was named.
Her earrings and the family crest ring were gifts from the Groom.
 Another picture of the granddaughters...I couldn't resist!
The Bride, her daughter-in-law and daughter
 The Groom

 There was no rehearsal the day before. The Bride and Groom wanted to keep it low key and simple.
Both families gathered at the altar, and the 
Bride came down the aisle accompanied by her grandchildren, daughter, and daughter-in-law.
Here she spies her Groom waiting for her.

 Just before they are pronounced husband and wife!
 The new Mr. and Mrs.!!
 Are they happy or what?!
 More joy!
 Part II to follow with pictures of family and friends!

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