God of the details: The Venue

I had my heart set on a venue I had never actually been to… I had seen photos, heard about it, seen their menu (foodtrucks included) and just loved its unconventional quirkiness. Apparently, God had a better plan.

I was chatting to a friend at school a few weeks ago about the idea of the wedding and we were discussing venues and costs etc. She suggested I visit a venue just up the road from my house. I smiled and said I would make a plan; having a Plan B seemed like a good idea.

The Sunday before we got engaged, G and I had some spare time in the afternoon, so we decided to go visit Plan B. What harm could it do? We could enjoy a hot chocolate (and I would have something to compare my venue to when I finally visited it on Thursday). From the moment we arrived, there was something different about Plan B… initially I couldn’t quite define it. We had hot chocolate in the deli and casually asked if we could go look at the venue. Immediately the owner grinned, pulled up a chair and asked if a wedding was being planned. And so we spent the next half hour chatting to him and another couple about weddings and ideas etc. He wouldn’t hear of us paying and gave us directions to the venue, warned us about the cranky donkey and said he would see us in December.

We took the shortcut through the back garden, warily kept an eye out for cranky donkey and found our way to the venue. We peered through the windows and stood in the parking lot, so aware of the silence and sense of space… and the earthy farm smells of chicken poop. In that moment, saying absolutely nothing, but knowing beyond a doubt that God had brought us here to see His choice… I turned to look at G, who simply looked down at me, took my hand and said what I was already thinking: “this is it. This feels like home.”

 

And like that, Plan B became Best.

 

Oh, and the farm has llamas. And a sheep that thinks he is a dog. God knows how to make my heart flutter with happiness.

(When we returned the next week to speak to the event manager, we walked in to hear Christian worship music playing and realised it was Holy Spirit’s presence we had felt on our first visit. “Beulah” is Hebrew for “married; or to claim as a wife.” It seems doubly appropriate that G asked me to be his wife there, and we will get married in the same place.)

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God of details: the ring

Does it really surprise anyone that there should be a testimony of God’s goodness around my engagement ring?? I love how God reveals Himself in such special, personal ways.

A few month back, around June, G and I first seriously discussed getting engaged and the details of a ring. At the time, finances just didnt seem to stretch that far and I felt lead to remind him that Daddy God had promised to cover the costs of my wedding (even asking me to set a budget – in January. Before I had even met G). And, being the faith-filled presumptious brat that I am, I told G we were going to trust Him for a ring too. I’m cheeky like that. I also know God delights in our outrageous faith.

The next day, I was on school holidays, I was enjoying a morning at Canal Walk, when my bestie Gabi sent me a text message and suggested we go for coffee. We did. After ordering, she pulled out a ring she had bought in India – a beautiful aquamarine – and gave it to me, saying she felt she needed to give me this and I could do with it as I chose. She had been so encouraged by how God had been writing my Love story, that she wanted to sow into it, trusting that she would reap her own Beautiful Story. And in the space of 12 hours, I had the centre stone of my engagement ring. Tell me God doesnt love leaving his daughters speechless?? Needless to say, when I told Gabi of the previous night’s conversation, there were tears on both sides…

And because He never does anything in half measures, He provided G with the finances that allowed me to visit the most amazing and talented jeweller, Hettie from Wainwright Jewellers. Initially I thought I knew what I wanted, but I am so grateful she didnt accept my idea and encouraged me to play with other ideas… and so we designed a very personal ring, capturing our unique love story.

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As far as the ring is concerned, G took it from there… and the next time I saw it, was when he knelt before me asking me to be his wife.

I feel like I need to extend thanks in so many directions… and I am beyond grateful for the absolute love and generosity in this little aspect of our Story. And I pray huge blessings upon both Gabi and Hettie; that Gabi will have a God-written Love Story way better than mine and that Hettie’s business will prosper beyond her greatest expectations.

I said Yeah, Why Not…

We have news… and the details aren’t too bad either…

On Wednesday evening I was taking a bit of strain with a whole bunch of things needing my attention, and simply not being able to make any difference in my own strength anyway – and G was lucky enough to face the frustrations. I was quite direct and he patiently took my shots fired in a loving silence that only bugged me further.

I have been working through Esther and knew Holy Spirit was going to ask me to fast at some point; I just didnt realise he meant today until Friday lunch. I generally use teaching as an excuse to soften fasting to a Daniel fast, but no, all food was out – only liquids allowed. I approached the day with the attitude of laying down food as a symbolic gesture of my laying down my fears and frustrations regarding the future, especially the financial provision for the wedding… my practical brain was clashing with my more idealistic faith-filled heart. I needed Daddy God to draw me back into alignment with His Story.

For the most part, school was fine. I had way too many grade 8 classes to face, then break duty, then matric invigilation… I literally did not have 5 mins to go pee. Then I get this message from G saying he was at school. Say what?? At break time?? The poor man must have been terrified as I marched him into my classroom (in silence) shocked that he would think visiting me at school was a good idea. I may have been a little harsh. And then he hands me a flask of hot chocolate, a rose and chocolates. Just a little bewildering.

I got home to find more chocolate, another rose, card and the kettle boiling. At that point I started to wonder if something was going on, but when he simply made me tea and didnt say (or ask) anything… well, I was slightly uncertain. We were meeting with the function manager of a venue (story for another blog post!), so went to meet her… chatted, met the pet sheep (who thinks he is a dog) and then strolled around the farm with Jonah, the bull mastiff farm dog. Looking at the donkey shed, I suddenly realised G wasn’t beside me… turning around, I found him with another rose and card. I saw words like Wife and Smile and looked up to find him kneeling in front of me, simply asking me to be his wife.

I really do think I said, “yeah, why not?”

 

 

 

A Significant Moment {before Forever}

Something significant happened today.  I wasn’t there and I have no idea what went down… but I am at the centre of it: G asked my dad for his blessing, for us to get married.  I say blessing, because honestly, we don’t need permission – living in today’s world, in our thirties and planning on covering the costs of the wedding ourselves… well, permission isn’t really the issue.  But blessing is – especially for G.  From the start, he was adamant that we ‘do things properly’ and he insisted we meet parents and ask for their blessing before taking the next step.

My impatient heart struggled with this – even up until a moment ago, when I instinctively knew ‘it had happened’; something shifted in the spirit for me and initially I didn’t quite get it. Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit who speaks so clearly and helps a fairly dim girl out (even while making tea in the staff kitchen!).

When G had arranged the meeting with my dad, yes I knew about it, but was not involved or invited.  In a sneaky behind the scenes type phone call home, it was agreed that even my mom would not be involved: this was a matter to be dealt with between men.  How misogynistic right? Wrong. And this is what Holy Spirit revealed to me.  While I have been unmarried, I have lived under my father’s authority – as a child in his home, as a student financially dependant and even once working, I have always looked to my father for advice in decisions big or small.  He has always been my go to for advice, wisdom and insight.  And this is not just a natural familial concept – its spiritual in nature. He has been my covering.   As an unmarried woman, I remained under my father’s spiritual covering (as per Biblical teachings) and I did my best to honour that state of submission because 1) the Bible promises blessing for doing so and 2) I understand and respect the protection of being submitted to spiritual authority.

The significance of today’s meeting was spiritual in nature; G was not simply asking if Daddy minded if I exchange his surname for G’s… he was asking to take on the responsibility of becoming my spiritual covering, as my (future) husband. He was asking for my father’s blessing to allow G to take the lead in my life: not only caring for me, but guiding me in future decisions, leading me further into the plans God has for both of us – covering me spiritually by becoming the Head of our (future) family.  Yeah, the depth and weight of that revelation hit me as I was pouring the milk… and I could tangibly feel the shift in the spiritual atmosphere around me. There is an incredible significance to asking for a father’s blessing before proposing marriage to a woman – both for ‘him’ and ‘her’.

Don’t get me wrong: I do not believe I am inferior or a second-class citizen because I am a woman (good job to all those women in the past who fought for our equality – I appreciate it and relish my independence).  But I love the idea of submitting (first to my father and now) to my (future) husband.  Why wouldn’t I?  I have been blessed with not only the most patient man alive, but with a man who continually has laid down his own comforts and ‘died to self’ in order to show his love and take care of me.  How can I not want to do the same and allow him to lead our relationship when he has shown time and again that he has my best interests at the centre of each of his decisions and actions? Whether its getting off the couch to make me tea (because he knows I’ve been eying the kettle but am just too lazy or cold to get out from under the blanket); or facing a freezing trip home at midnight on a motorbike in the rain; or taking giant steps of faith to start a new business so he can provide for me financially; or submitting himself to leaders at church asking them to speak into his life to help him grow spiritually to then lead me… when someone has your back like that and proves themselves unconditionally trustworthy, there comes an incredible peace and safety in knowing that he carries the responsibility of our relationship before God.  And I can relax and enjoy the security of not having to control anything.

It brings an amazing, inexplicable freedom.

(I now just pray for the patience to actually wait for the proposal… he better not bend to tie shoe laces around me this week…)