Monday, September 20, 2010

Wedding Notes

Several friends are getting married so I thought I'd put together a list of stuff we learned that you don't always find in bridal magazines.

First. Remember this is about your marriage more than it is about the 3-4 hours that are your wedding. Be sure to spend time preparing for spending a life with another imperfect person. Get as much premarital counseling as you can. Some books and things that have helped us are Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Les and Leslie Parrot, For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhan, Fighting for your Marriage by Scott Stanley and Howard Markman, Captivating and Wild at Heart by John and Stasi Eldridge. If you're in oklahoma, check for PREP courses in your area.

Secondly and similarly, you do NOT need everything that they say you do in the bridal magazines. i.e. name cards, programs, expensive favors, save the date cards, RSVP cards, a chocolate fountain, limos, a full 9 course dinner, brunch for all, hotel baskets, heaps of flowers or even a flower girl/ring bearer. If you do get all that stuff, you really will spend the $26K that is the national average. Holy cow that's a lot. It's the marriage that counts so don't go into debt for your wedding (and don't put your parents there either). Furthermore, if you do all that, nothing will seem special because everything is extravagant. So pick a few things to splurge on and let those things be the stylish highlights that everyone will remember.

Third - Don't cut the cake until you're ready to leave the reception. I think this is some sort of unspoken signal that the party's almost over.

Fourth-Prepare for the unexpected. We had an outdoor wedding on our friend's wooded back yard. Long before the day, I was preparing myself mentally for freezing drizzle and cramming our closest 20 people into their home and saying our vows dripping wet. But when you are focusing on point >1<>above, then other details can fall by the wayside. Admittedly, that would have been a hard detail to swallow though, so mentally prepare to let some big stuff go before it gets there.

Fifth (and last for now). You do not need a $5000 dress or shoes. You will wear it for 1 day and then it will be pretty much useless. Let God's gift of your husband's love give you that radiant, captivating glow and you could be wearing a $20 sundress and feel just as much a princess.

A 6th thought - similar to #1. There are *many* many details over which you could stress as you prepare for your wedding. Always keep in mind - is this really a key detail? Does it matter to me? Will I and my Bride/Groom remember this and tell the kids about it? Remember points 1, 2, and 4 above, and do the best you can then let it be what it will be. Focus on the key details that you want to remember for a lifetime and it will be the day you've always dreamed of.

Friday, August 13, 2010

When does it end?

Someone recently asked me if infidelity will ever end. Why do people keep betraying their spouses, throwing their lives away? Since I work for I see a lot of unfaithful people, a lot of hurt people. Why does it keep going? Here's what I've come up with:

I don't think it ever does stop. Not until every single person in the whole world lives in submission to Christ. Whenever we step out of that we hurt people, we hurt ourselves, we feel the emptiness and strive to fill it with invariably unhealthy actions. The threat of destruction, nauseating consequences cannot stop our desire to follow our own desires. Have you ever had a piece of chocolate cake callllll your name? or felt the draw of pornography, or even just been tempted to laugh at another's mishaps rather than feel grief over their pain? We as a society are mistaken in the belief that our nature leads us to good things. The actions we naturally take are destructive. They just are. No loss, no threat of abandonment will ever be strong enough to stop it. That is not how the universe works.

As C.S. Lewis says: "We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are... rebels who must lay down their arms." We must surrender. We must see our depraved hearts yearning for all manner of unhealthy things from the minuscule uncaring giggle to the mighty pull of addiction. Unless we see that our hearts, our very core and heart, desires by its nature its own (and everyone else's) destruction. We will have affairs, we will cave to our addictions, we will risk the hurt every single person who crosses our path in some way.

The good news is that God IS and he loves us *fiercely*. And however bad we are, we are not irredeemable in His hands.

Monday, January 4, 2010


"Suffering comes from the abuse of free will"

The Problem of Pain ~ C.S. Lewis

Not surprisingly between my work and Joshua's, I've been returning to this quote more and more lately. Several years ago, I mentioned it to a friend who said she didn't believe it. I consider her one of the wisest people I know so her disbelief has always been hard for me to reconcile. I wonder, though, if she just misunderstood. Suffering does comes not only from our own abuse of our own free will, but far more frequently it comes to me as a result of another's abuse of their free will.

Of course there are extreme examples - thieves, drunk drivers, violent insurgents, rapists, murderers, adulterers, abusers...all causing deep suffering to so many for the sake of what they want to do or have. There are perhaps we could say the lesser offences - negligent drivers, careless insults, bitter people, who cause pain but don't even realize it.

Then there are almost unperceivable actions. Out of my free will, I decided to work from a coffee shop today. It's a luxury that most of the world can't afford even if their jobs were to allow it. Is this use of my free will causing suffering anywhere? The increase in demand for coffee from poorer nations? Is it abuse or merely use of my free will? Is it causing as Lewis recons, the types of pain that are below a certain intensity and not feared or resented at all. It's a thought to consider when we grab our morning latte, how about all the talk of greeness? What suffering will it cause if we ignore the ramifications of our actions carried out to their fullest influence? How often do we think of the full consequences of anything we do anyway?

So what of suffering? Ruminating on the cause, for me, ends with Lewis' quote. Someone somewhere or maybe many someones at many times or places abused their free will and thus pain for someone else was born. Which leads me to another favorite quote of Lewis' "It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. Truly we are called to love and care after each other in a far deeper way than we can imagine and none of us can possibly be up to the challenge on our own strength. Thus the mercy of God steps in whispering the actions of love whenever we are humble enough to accept it and yield our actions to in the benefit of another. Only then we can hope to approach the greater love that is to lay one's life down.