This past week I road tripped from Georgia to Texas for a wedding.
Being in my twenties…
Engagements, babies, and weddings (oh my) are something that are pretty normal…
but this past weekend was different for me.
I didn’t know the bride from Jane Doe…
but this wedding rocked me.
One of my best friends invited me along for the ride
to ultimately attend this wedding and be her plus one…
(No one wants to be the awkward girl alone at a wedding from out of town.)
So… when I say I didn’t know anyone, I seriously didn’t.
I Facebook stalked the bride so I’d know a little about her.
Invited guests looked at me with skepticism as I joked that I was just a crasher.
I sat there in the ceremony and was deeply moved despite my lack of relationship
with either party.
Before the ceremony even began, the Holy Spirit was there.
It was so evident that it was truly Him binding the two together on this special day.
The bride and groom were best friends their whole lives
and had feelings on and off but never talked about it until recently.
And once it was spoken, they fell hard.
The ceremony was in a flawless high ceilinged chapel.
A sound system wasn’t needed because sound carried.
The wedding party entered
and the cute little flower girls and ring bearer waddled down the aisle.
I always get stressed out when the bride is about to enter…
I don’t know if I should look at the bride walking down the aisle
or catch the groom’s face as he sees his beloved.
I got a glimpse of his face before the doors opened…
And I can’t even put it into words.
He sobbed beautiful tears.
She came in. Glowing.
Walking confidently down the aisle to the love of her life.
The pastor up front gave a speech that made it evident that
he’s been in both their lives for years.
Intimate. Sentimental. Beautiful.
Before they exchanged vows, they took communion and
then stood up front and invited all of their guests up to take communion.
I have never seen something so selfless in a ceremony.
The room was unified.
The vows were exchanged.
The Lord was glorified.
My heart was full.
After the ceremony, we had dinner, and continued with the rest of the typical wedding festivities.
The reception was outside and the night was perfect.
The air was brisk and the laughter was constant.
The dance floor was near the tables that all the guests congregated around.
The venue was beautiful and there were ducks and swan swimming elegantly in the water.
After the cake was cut and we all had our fill,
the dance floor opened.
The way the venue was set up was the circular dance floor was out over the water.
Some guests stood around, others sat casually on the waste high stone walls…
Holding our glasses high to the toasts
and laughing with the nervous maid of honor and best man.
The night was beautiful.
The mother of the bride danced with her daughter,
and the groom danced with his mother.
The groom’s mother and father were called up for a celebratory dance for their 34 years of marriage.
Couples that had been married that long or longer joined them on the dance floor.
Tears filled my eyes as I watched deep love seemingly float around the floor.
It was sobering to see such love after such time spent together.
Each couple acted as though they were the only ones out there.
Midway through the dance, I heard a faint splash behind me… and looked over and heard screams…
and caught a glimpse of one of the bridesmaids dive into to duck pond.
Her little boy had been standing next to her on the thick ledge
And as she looked away for a split second,
He fell off the back and was completely submerged in the murky water.
Before I could even tell what was going on,
Her husband was diving head first in the water too.
They grabbed him and got him out immediately.
Baby boy was crying at the top of his lungs, but that was indeed a good sign.
The soaked little family and some other guests disappeared into the night
to make sure he was okay and get into some dry clothes.
I sat there…
In the exact same place I had wiped happy tears moments before…
tears that were brought on by a deep unconditional love…
The tears flooded…
I wanted to curl in a ball and weep.
My mind was racing.
The little boy’s mom and dad hit the water seriously seconds after the son.
There was no hesitation.
The flawless bridesmaid didn’t sit there and take off her pearls
and worry about her sparkly heels
or perfectly done hair and makeup.
The dad didn’t worry about his IPhone in his pocket
or knocking people out of the way to get there…
They just dove in.
In that moment, it’s all they cared about.
I was wrecked.
I’m not a mother yet,
but damn… seeing that kind of love has changed me.
After the raw terror drifted away and the dance party commenced,
I sat in that same spot.
Wiping my tears…
Thinking about the Fathers love.
Not even just for “us” as a human race…
but for me.
He’s so obsessed with his children.
He dives into nasty sick water without even thinking.
He sent his own son to be reduced to hamburger meat…
and eventually murdered and hung on a tree…
So we’d get to be with Him forever.
That’s radical love.
After the wedding, I found out something that messed with me even more…
I found out the little boy that fell into the water
was recently adopted by that sweet couple.
He wasn’t even their direct offspring…
They CHOSE him.
They CHOSE to love him.
They CHOSE to take him in and take care of him forever.
They CHOSE to dive head first into that water to get him.
God choose us.
We didn’t do anything to make him love us.
We don’t deserve him.
He doesn’t have to love us…
But he does…
And I couldn’t be more thrilled to call him my Father.