I decided to blog at 10:50pm. Most of you know I am not normally awake at this time. I am an early sleeper…preferably by 10pm I’d like to be dreaming! (Keana and Michelle can attest to this.) Kent is an amazing writer and now I’m following up with what I hope to be a decent post of the many changes I’ve been facing. Sometimes these changes are glorious and other times they are bitter sweet.
Coming into this whole wedding-planning stage was hard for me. First, I am a (capital A) type A personality to the core. Second, I shot over 30 weddings this year and a fairly close number to that last year. Those two things together can be a terrible combination. Who can compete with all of the sweet ideas I’ve seen at those 30+ weddings and what’s thrown around on Pinterest? To be honest wedding planning was more of a hassle and button pusher than it was a fun and memorable time. Last month I finally surrendered my crazy-perfectionist personality to Jesus after a lot of frustrated tears. God taught me so much through this turmoil in my soul. Kent was the biggest help ever in this, and so was my mom! They constantly reminded me that this wedding is about celebrating what God is doing, not about what it looks like. Kent comforted me in saying that we are not competing to have the prettiest wedding. It’s about sharing our testimony with others and worshiping Jesus while celebrating with the ones we love. That’s all that matters. Period. I’m so glad that this last month of planning has been so fun for me. I’ve relaxed, and I bring my mind back to Christ and surrender my worries (usually multiple times a day). Things are slowly getting done and whatever doesn’t get done…well, oh well. I want people walking away from my wedding saying how good God is…not just, “look at all of the crafts Ashleigh made”. Jesus must become more and I must become less.
Now, let me talk to you about our relationship. Coming together with another selfish human being, like I am, has it’s rough days. We butt heads and get consumed with our own way. This has been an awesome thing, though. Nothing has refined my selfish ways more than coming together with Kent. God is constantly showing us our failures and shortcomings. The amazing thing is that God doesn’t leave us there. He teaches us how to love one another, to be humble, to repent, to ask for forgiveness, and to want to become all that Christ has for us. God’s grace is so good. If Kent wasn’t so forgiving and humble or if I held grudges, our relationship would lack the richness it holds. It wouldn’t even be enjoyable. By God’s grace He’s given us an ability to become convicted and to never seek out justice. Honestly, each day we have to repent to each other or forgive one another. This has been so life giving to us. I love seeing the man I love admit that he needs more of Christ and that he wants to love me better. It’s so honest and raw. It causes me to fall deeper in love with both Jesus and Kent. Reconciliation and deep communication is key in relationships.
Last night one of my dearest friend’s came and visited Kent and I. She recently got married and was visiting home while her husband was at a bachelor party. I was talking to her as I was cooking dinner for my husband-to-be. I looked at her and said, “I feel like I’m playing house. I don’t feel old enough to be taking care of a husband.” She smiled and nodded in agreement. That night we both slept over at a another one of our close friend’s house. It was both her and my first sleepover since her bachelorette party a month or so ago. I felt 15 again. I was so giddy to chat with my best friend’s over tea and some of my friend’s mom’s AMAZING Pumpkin Woopie Pies. Talk about amazing. It’s crazy growing up into a wife position. It’s not a light responsibility. Kent comes before my needs. I can’t just run around with my friends all day and neglect spending time with him. (Kent likes to talk as much, if not more, than I do. So blessed.) I’ll forever treasure those sweet moments I’ll get to have with my dear best friend’s. I’m now about to cleave to my husband. He comes first in my life now, then they will follow. It just hit me all of the sudden that a lot more is changing than I realized. Regardless, it’s so much fun.
As I was driving home from a beautiful wedding Kent and I were shooting I was listening to the song “Marriage Wine” by a bunch of talented IHOP singers. It’s all about the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. It’s how Jesus is coming back for us, how it’s going to be the best celebration ever, and how we will get to spend eternity with Him! I’m so excited to marry Kent and spend the rest of my life (until death parts us) journeying together through it. I get to do everything with Kent. I’ll never be alone. Our wedding day will be a glorious day and one that we’ll never forget! That’s not the end, though. Our wedding day is just a smudge of how glorious the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be. The day where I’m with Jesus forever. When I can tangibly see the Father, the Son, and The Spirit. Where I’ll never be alone. Jesus is the perfect groom. My marriage with Kent exists to model, in the best way our broken lives can, Christ’s love for His bride, the church. Our duty in marriage is to serve one another and never forsake each other for another. This is exactly what Christ did. He served by dying on the cross for us. God never left us when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, He didn’t destroy us, but He gave us a second chance even with the consequences we now face. In order for us to have a great marriage we need to look at the ultimate example, Jesus. How sweet our marriage will be, but how much sweeter the Marriage Supper of the Lamb will be when Jesus did everything perfectly. (Giddy face.)
And those, my friends, are the changes that the Lord is teaching me through. I’m so excited to marry my best friend in two weeks. I can’t wait to grow closer to the Lord with Him. I am so blessed, but only by the kindness of Christ.