Sunday, November 18, 2012

Forsaking the Pain for the Blessings

It was the day every girl dreams of. Every candle was lit, every flower arrangement perfectly placed. My dress was beautiful and I was surrounded by family and friends. I was ready to walk down the aisle with my Dad, a man I dearly loved and respected, and to marry my best friend and love of my life, Andrew.

Ten minutes before the ceremony, my sister walked into the bridal room completely distraught and overcome with emotion. She told me that my aunt and grandparents had been in a car accident and they were all headed to the hospital. So many emotions and thoughts went through my head.

“Do we postpone the wedding?”

“There are 300 guests waiting right now to see us get married…”

I couldn’t imagine that my grandmother, the woman I had admired for so long and such a godly woman, would miss my wedding. I immediately went into event planning mode, because that is what I know. I told my sister that I needed to see the Pastor, the photographer and the wedding coordinator. I needed to let people know, so they didn’t ask too many questions of my family members. I also felt that I was being kept in the dark about the magnitude of the accident, so I asked Pastor David to tell me the truth. He assured me that my family was in the best place they could be, with the best doctors, and there was nothing we could do but pray.

And that is what we did. As we prayed together, and I had such a strong sense of peace; I knew that God was holding me up and had His arms lovingly wrapped around me and my family.

For the next four hours, I held it together – I was married! As I hugged old friends, I asked for prayers for my family, tearing up ever so slightly. After the reception, we made our way to the hospital. We were only able to see my grandmother for a few minutes. My aunt and my grandfather were still in ICU. My body and emotions felt numb as I continued to process through all the emotions of the day.

As we walked back in the door of our hotel at 3 a.m., I immediately lost it. I don’t know what triggered it, but I was done. Andrew and I were mentally and physically exhausted. We finally had time to process everything that had happened, and we were both overcome with emotion. I was crying uncontrollably and kept asking “Why?” over and over again. It was in that moment when Andrew leaned over and softly said, “We have to pray!” I didn’t realize at the time what that would mean to me that day and for the days to come. Andrew began to pray aloud for our family, for us, and for understanding and peace.

God used the difficulty of that horrible experience to change my relationship with Him, and with Andrew forever.

James 1:2-4 says: 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” 
Andrew and I had been attending church together, but we had never prayed together before that day. It wasn’t until months later, when my family was beginning to heal, that I realized the blessings that God had given to me on that very special day. Through all of that difficulty, God drew us closer to Him and to each other.  

He led us to focus on Him and His blessings, instead of focusing on the trials and pain of the moment. 

This was a beautiful blessing and wedding gift from God that I pray He never lets me forget!

Sometimes, holidays can bring up the difficulties of our daily lives. This Thanksgiving, instead of focusing on the pain some of these things can bring like dysfunctional family gatherings, financial burdens, loss of jobs, or the build-up to Christmas, let your mind find the ever-present blessings in the middle of all of it. It could be as simple as a sweet prayer with your husband, a stolen hug with your teenager, or the many smiling faces around your dinner table. My prayer is that you would forsake the pain, and take the blessings all around you. 

They are there. You just have to grab them!

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