A Garden enclosed

Way back when, when we got engaged and suddenly the reality of planning a wedding was It, I sat with Holy Spirit and felt I needed to pray about the creative aspects of the wedding.  If He has been the centre of our Love Story, surely He would have some good ideas to consider… stunningly spiritual, He told me to go to my ‘secret’ Pinterest board aptly named “One Day…” – yes, I am that girl who planned her wedding and had a board and pinned pretty ideas. I am unashamed. After looking through the images, I felt Holy Spirit tell me to start deleting the ones that felt ‘not quite right for us’.

I did.

My board suddenly seemed very empty. Looking at what was left, I kept hearing the word ‘Garden’ repeating over and over again. I asked Holy Spirit to remind me of a passage of Scripture about a Garden (you’d think a certain Genesis Garden would have come to mind??), and I was prompted to read Song of Songs 4: 12 – 15

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
    a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
13 Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
    with all choicest fruits,
    henna with nard,
14 nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
    with all trees of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
    with all choice spices—
15 a garden fountain, a well of living water,
    and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Yeah, I also thought that was a bit weird at first too. Until He told me to research the fruits/ spices… did you know most of them are names of colours with prophetic meanings?? That is just the way Holy Spirit talks to me; I love it!

  • Pomegranates (light red): Beauty & fruitfulness; worship & intimacy; promise: the Lord loves you irrespective of your failings
  • Henna (bright red): Joy & thankfulness; Grace – the covering of sin (Jesus’ blood)
  • Nard (pink-purple): First Love (Jesus); Genuine; Costly – pure, precious and valuable
  • Saffron (bright yellow – orange): Presence of God; His glory & victory; Passion & enthusiasm – life to the full
  • Calamus: Uprightness; being right in God’s eyes
  • Cinnamon (brown): Fragrant smell of Restoration; Holy anointing of the heart
  • Myrrh (dark green): Expectancy & fasting (connotations with Esther!); Flowing in your spiritual gifts
  • Aloes: Intimacy with God; sweet smell to the Lord; place where you meet with God

And in that moment I not only had a theme for the wedding, but a rather interesting colour scheme too… and I also realised I had no idea how to put that all together. But I knew someone who did… and it seemed just the most perfect, obvious, Holy Spirit-inspired choice.  I have been friends with Sylvia for 15 years and we have walked a path of Faith and Encouragement together; I am so grateful for this friendship! And she also just happens to not only love Jesus and listen to Holy Spirit too, but is something of a wedding decor/ flower genius. Seriously. Originally I had felt I needed to ask Sylvie to create my bouquet prophetically – asking Holy Spirit what it should look like. And I knew my budget was less than a third of what she’s used to working with – but she was available and came on board.

Her work speaks for itself – I loved it! I only wish I could share the smells with you too; on entering the venue, I was immediately transported into a beautiful garden. Up until the moment of stepping into the venue for pre-ceremony photos, I had no idea what had been planned. For a bride who had planned her fictitious wedding several times over, it was the most liberating approach to my actual wedding – trusting the Creativity and decisions to the two I trusted most: Sylvie and Holy Spirit.

One of her ideas (which both Garth and I immediately LOVED) was the concept of a Covenant Carpet – a mat created for us to stand upon when we said our vows, which would then be placed in our home as a constant reminder of the promises we had made to eachother.  Ours is in the kitchen – we literally stand upon it when washing dishes, making tea and preparing dinner – and have stood facing eachother several times, remembering the words we declared to the other. Our carpet design was photographed in our (then, my!) home and its filled with personal symbols that we love, as well as references to our Love Story (the dancing and Song of Songs scripture).

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It was only after the wedding, Garth and I were talking about the Scripture and the Garden and I admitted how bride-focussed it seemed to be: the entire scripture is about HER. I can’t remember how we made the connection (probably Holy Spirit again), but Garth’s name literally means ‘Garden’.

I love how creative Holy Spirit is and how much He loves amazing me with layers of symbolism.

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When Holy Spirit plans a wedding…

Shortly before we got engaged (as in the Saturday before…), I was sitting with Holy Spirit and felt challenged about the wedding details.  Yes, I am going to get very personal and real here for a moment: I am one of ‘those girls’ who has a secret wedding board on Pinterest. There. Confession made. It’s out in the open. Label me if you like, even dare to judge me, but let’s be honest – I am not alone. That morning, I felt Holy Spirit say we need to review all the images I had pinned and He began to question my choices – what was significant about each image.  Slowly but surely I started deleting pins, admitting how much significance I had placed on trendy concepts. Eventually I paused and simply asked Holy Spirit how He would style a wedding; I felt Him smile and pull in closer…

He showed me all the images I had kept of the flowers/ decor and kept using the word ‘Garden’.  I asked for a Scripture about a garden (no, my mind did not even think about the Garden of Eden) and He reminded me of a verse in Song of Solomons 4, where the Lover describes the Beloved as a ‘enclosed garden, a sealed fountain’ and then proceeds to describe several fruit and spices found in its midst.  This isn’t the first time Holy Spirit has led me to this scripture and He used the phrase ‘garden of intimacy (with Jesus)’ – that a Kingdom-marriage can only be built on the foundation of one’s First Love in Jesus; that we need to walk daily in that refreshing presence and intimacy with Him first… giving us strength and capacity to love our spouse. I knew instantly that this would form the foundation for our wedding… I just didn’t know how. Yet.

Cue Sylvia; my wedding floral decor creative genius (and amazing friend who has walked a path not only similar to mine, but has encouraged me and inspired me for a good 15+ years).  I had already felt I needed to ask her to create my bouquet prophetically, allowing Holy Spirit to guide her, so when Holy Spirit extended the idea to approach the whole wedding design from the prophetic, I was all in.  And so was she. I simply shared my heart (Pinterest Board), scripture and several key symbols Holy Spirit had said to include (totally another blog post all in itself), and left the decor aspects of the wedding in their (more than capable) hands. How very unlike me to give over creative control for a day I have spent years play-planning. I cannot begin to explain the freedom and joy it has given me – I know my wedding will be beautiful, but I don’t need to worry about a single flower colour or availability as I lift my eyes beyond the wedding to Forever with my (future) husband.  I get to become Marriage Minded, while Enjoying the Engagement.

I took Sylvia to visit the venue yesterday and we spent the afternoon/ evening sharing our Heart Journeys and allowing creative ideas to flow.  She had had a Holy Spirit revelation about a ‘Covenant Carpet’ – a literal mat upon which you pledge your vows that is custom created to tell your Love Story.  This then becomes a daily reminder of that day when we stood before God and friends and promised to give the best (and worst) of ourselves to eachother. I loved it. We spoke through various elements and symbols and colours that Holy Spirit has instructed to include in the wedding, while also including special details that tell our unique Love Story.  This morning we played.  And by that I mean, I moved furniture about and watched Sylvia do her thing: create floral magic. And then it was my turn to take the photo and play a little too…

Nope, I am not going to share the final product (yet). G gets the first preview… but I am so excited to stand upon our Love Story – in the Garden of Intimacy with Jesus – filled with Promises and Hope for our Forever Future.

And this is just the beginning of the wedding planning – I can’t wait to see what Holy Spirit has planned.