Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2 Years

So today two years ago I nervously asked Laura if she would date me.  At that time I had the highest view of Laura and the lowest view of myself.  I honestly thought that she was selling herself short but she was insistent in her view of me and I thought I would be a fool to let this opportunity pass by.

Now, two years later I have an even higher view of Laura but I also have a better view of myself.  Laura has stood beside me, supported me, spoken powerful truth into my life, provided me with a place to be completely vulnerable and she has offered her loving arms when I have not known what to do with myself. 

She has shown me respect and empowered me to lead us against culture with a vengeance.  My respect for Laura grows each day because of who she is in light of the Lord.  He has used Laura to redeem so many things in my life up to this point.  Things that she has said or the way she has responded to me telling her something have broken me because of the way that they reflect the way the Lord has responded to me and shown me love continually.  The Lord has used her to be a major agent of change in my life and I trust her completely in that.  I know that she will be the one that can hurt me the most because she will be closest to me but I trust her completely.  I can hardly wait to spend the rest of my life with such an incredible woman.

We will continue to move forward relying on the grace of God to get through each day and through each circumstance that comes our way.  We will fight the pulls and strains of culture on our life together and separate and we will pull closer together as times try to pull us apart. 

I can't wait for her to be Mrs Eley :)

Happy two years my love...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cultural Attack

This past weekend Laura and I went back to Georgia for engagement pictures and for her to be able to look at dresses with her mom and friends.  Definitely a whirlwind of a weekend but it was a lot of fun.

There were two conversations that really marked me over the course of the weekend.  The first one was when Laura, her parents and I went to lunch after church on Sunday.  We were talking all things wedding; venues, catering options, time, colors, guests lists and the like.  As the conversation progressed we finally put words to the way that Laura and I feel about the wedding and are trying to approach it.

Laura was the one that put the words to the thoughts but there are two sides to a wedding the symbolic and the materialistic.  There are those parts of the wedding that are but a symbol of something so much greater and other things that are nothing beyond their face value; a flower is a flower, food is food and a venue is a venue.  To both of us the symbolic side of the wedding is the most important.  We want the Lord to be glorified not only through our wedding but even more so through our marriage because without Him "we" would not have happened.  Marriage is a picture of our relationship as the church to Christ.  This is a powerful picture of our relationship with Christ that is beautifully fleshed out in Ephesians 5:22-33 (check out our earlier post about that).  There will be many married couples at our wedding and that will be a chance for them to reaffirm and remember their vows to one another and hopefully a time for the emotion of love to rekindle or for restoration to take place.  We know that we obviously cannot make this happen but we are praying for the Lord to work in the hearts of everybody present that day.
Through this symbol of our relationship with the Lord we can learn more about the love of God that we are to show one another.  We are to love others unconditionally and aside from any possible merit, just as we have been loved by Jesus.

All that is not to say that we will show up in burlap, break out the 1611 King James and take a vow of poverty at the ceremony. Some of the materialistic things are important to us.  We definitely want the wedding to be beautiful and to represent each of us and both of us as a couple but we have to fight to maintain the perspective that these things are temporal at best and should not be the source of any notable stress.  Therefore please do not be shocked if somewhere along the line you hear us say "it doesn't matter." Hopefully this post will give a little insight into what we mean if we say that.

The second conversation came out of this idea on the way back to Lynchburg later that day.

Laura has mentioned before how it bothers her when people say that a wedding is all about the bride and essentially that the groom is just along for the ride to get to the honeymoon.  Laura's heart is very much so opposed to that idea, and rightfully so I believe.  She believes that a wedding is about the couple and what the Lord has done and will continue to do between them.  This is completely counter-cultural in America.  When Laura found her dress she said she felt like she was supposed to be breaking down crying because "This is THE ONE!". Instead when she found THE dress she said that it just matched who she was and it made her... in a really simple and yet overwhelming way....filled with joy. She has gotten funny and somewhat shocked responses from people when she has answered one of their questions about the wedding with some sort of "I don't know, we will figure it out when the times comes." The expectation placed on her by culture is that she should already know exactly what she wants and that she should have it at all cost, almost as though this is her last "whoo-rah" because it all goes downhill from here.  That will not be the case as long as I have something to do about it :)

Needless to say, we are both experiencing pressures that cultural standards places on engaged couple. If you have been there or currently are there, I'm sure you know what we are talking about.  Laura has to deal with culture head on because, in the eyes of culture, the bride is the central focus of the wedding.  I, on the other hand, am disregarded as the groom anyway so when I say that something is not that important that is what people expect to hear anyway.  As we continued to talk Laura said that how I support her the best in all of this is to help her maintain this perspective and affirm the decisions in this whole process. She said that by doing this I am protecting her heart and mind by helping her stay focused.

This was a very eye-opening conversation for me and I pray that someone could glean something from it as well.

We continue to pray that the Lord be lifted high through our relationship.