A couple of weekends ago Alan and I attended a wedding of a dear friend from here in Manhattan who just happened to marry an Iowa girl :). May we just say-SO PROUD!!!
We were looking forward to a weekend of celebrating, joyful times, kick-off to summer fun...but we left having experienced so much more.
Just days before the wedding of our friend, the bride's sister and brother-in-law woke to find their little four month boy lifeless and not breathing. While the family quietly slept, their little boy met Jesus.
Plans shattered, numbness, world rocked, what to do was the question on everyone's mind so we were told. To post-pone the wedding? To go ahead with the wedding? When to have the funeral? No one knew what to do...
Then it was decided to go ahead with the wedding and to have the funeral the following week.
Alan and I were asked to help serve the wedding party and their families at the rehearsal dinner, which was an honor to us. And in the midst of this family's sorrow, it was the least we could do.
After the dinner, the two families and their close friends were gathered around and took part in a time of sharing their thoughts for the couple, their stories of growing up, of how they met, of how their lives crossed for either the bride or groom, or both. What I should probably say now is that the bride is one of eight children, the groom a member of seven children: BIG FAMILIES! I thought the groom's family was big, but then one sibling after another, after another...after another...after another..........after another kept getting up and talking!
I felt so honored to be in that room sitting at that table with the red paisley centerpiece under the bouquet of white daisies, playing with my plastic fork in the frosting of my dessert, and listening to everyone sharing. These two families were such a testament to who and what a family should be in Christ. There was love. It was evident and everywhere. No negativity, no bitterness, no quarrels, only positive energy-something bigger and stronger tied them together. It was truly beautiful. And it was love.
The family-meaning both the groom's family and the bride's combined in the love of Christ-had two options for that weekend: to postpone everything or to go through with the plans for the wedding. The bride's sister sacrificed and respected her sister by blessing the wedding to go on; the bride showed love to her sister by respectfully postponing the honeymoon. It was a give and take of love.
What Alan and I witnessed that weekend was so meaningful to this life we have this side of heaven. It was family, it was love, it was tears and mourning, it was laughter and joy. They celebrated life-the life of little Gabe, the new life of Tim and Lydia. They cried with tears of painful loss for little Gabe, they cried tears of joy as Tim and Lydia became one.
GOD WAS EVIDENT
The hearts of these families were filled to overflowing as they lost their son/grandson/nephew/little man with tears of sorrow and pain, but also with the hope of heaven. God knew their pain when His Son was on the cross, taking our burdens. God was evident in the life of this tiny child, and in his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles...They mourned just as the Lord Himself mourned for us, the broken and lost that His Son Jesus came to die for. God knows pain. I recently was looking at the blog of Gabe's mommy, and in the midst of her posts about the events of this last month were the words from God's Word: The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. They are praising Him even through the storm. God is there.
(This was on Gabe's mommy's blog, and to me it captures so, so much. He is walking with Jesus now, and for that we praise God in the hope of heaven!)
The hearts of the two souls in love were also such a testament to His commandments and teachings. They love each other with a burning desire for Christ as their captain in this life together. God was evident in their relationship from the moment they met. God was evident in their engagement, and God was certainly evident in their vows, and without a doubt will continue to be in their marriage. Marriage is a beautiful picture that the Lord teaches between Christ and His bride, the church. And the marriage of Tim and Lydia, with the knowledge that Christ comes first, with love and respect for one another, with passion for righteousness and pursuit of the Lord's will in their lives, Christ is evident.
That weekend will forever remain in our hearts and close in our minds as we begin to raise our little family of three. Our hope is that Isaac, and any future siblings, will be brought up in a home of love, not just to love or by love, but in the love of Christ. We learned that weekend about the brevity of life, of life's joys and sorrows, of life's unpredictability, of life's journey, and it is truly that-a journey. I pray it is a journey for Christ. There's something so much more about life when you are living it for Christ.
To the Weddle, Weikert and Novak Families: Thank you for teaching us about love, about life, and about faith in Jesus.