When wedding planning sucks…

I am so very tired of people telling me to enjoy my engagement and wedding planning, like its meant to be the best time of my life. It isnt. There,I said it: I have not enjoyed this season. In fact, I have reached the point of no longer trying to hold back the tears. They just pitch up at the most random and inconvenient of times and I have learnt to be okay with that.

Everybody describes one’s wedding as “your big day” but to be honest, it hasn’t felt like my day in quite a while and its not nearly as glamorous as the movies make it out to be; I haven’t drunk copious amounts of bubbly or gone for cake tastings or any of that stuff. In fact, all it has really been is one big spreadsheet with budgets and schedules and vendor details… how much fun can admin really be?? And just when I finally thought I had this planning thing nailed, I was suddenly made aware that there are Others who have opinions and “concerns” (aka requests) that feel need to be taken into account. I tried to embrace the concept of compromise and respect… but walking the painfully thin line between accommodating and revoking their invite has left me an anxious mess. I love Jesus, but am really struggling to love people… and have a whole new level of respect for girls who go full on bridezilla (way to go girl!) Wedding planning has not been fun…

So in the middle of it, Garth and I climbed Table Mountain. To the top. There’s a reason they built a cable car… what was meant to be a 3 hour hike turned into 6+ hours, with 1km being a vertical climb of steps too high for my little legs. I struggled. And yet, throughout, I had a hand extended in my direction, literally pulling me up the side of the mountain and then being a support on the way down when my balance was wobbly. He was consistently supportive, never once complaining or speaking a word of negativity. It was only when he got me safely down, that he admitted how tough the experience had been for him. It was in that moment that everything shifted for me (once again): I was once again in awe of the man God has chosen for me to do Life with… that no matter whether he walks before-beside-behind me, his hand is always there and no matter how steep the ups (or downs), I know I can make it through anything when we face them together.

One of the things I have appreciated in this season is how my relationship with my mom has shifted. She has not only opened her heart to Garth, but has begun sharing her own experiences of being a young wife and has been sharing insights and wisdom. I have learnt so much and value each lesson. The most precious is this: always keep Garth number 1; especially when there is interference and manipulation. There are so many trivial things that can be compromised (and bigger battles that require standing your ground), but at the end of the day, when you’re facing a mountainous challenge, the only thing that matters is the hand you’re holding.

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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?”