Last Saturday, I had the incredible honor of becoming “The Father of the Bride.” What is there not to love about being the Father of the Bride? My oldest daughter, Janae, married the love of her life, a fine young gentleman (the whole O’Connor family loves) named Jonathan Kirchner. For all of you, my Art, Life & Faith friends, you know one of my deepest desires is to help you cultivate a beautiful life. Today is my privilege to share one of the most beautiful days of my life. Read on…
There is nothing more beautiful than seeing love in full bloom in the sacred gift of marriage. Jon and Janae’s wedding day was filled with so many tender, wonderful moments. I’d love to share a few snapshots. All in the hope to inspire you to keep cultivating loving relationships in the little patch of garden God has given you.
First, long before their wedding day, Janae and Jon’s friendship and courtship was a reminder that love is a seed that must be planted, nurtured, and cared for. Janae met Jon her freshmen year of college. They quickly became friends… and a flirting friendship ensued. Our family is convinced Janae “loved” Jon the day she met him… he certainly is a handsome guy!
But Love is not a “just add water” seed that flourishes right away.
Over the next few years, their friendship grew as they spent time in class, days at the beach, and fun times with friends.
But, as is so often in the case, Jon and Janae weren’t on the same page in the romance department.
I can distinctly remember her and I attending the 2010 CIVA Biennial conference. As I drove, tears flowed down her face, “Why doesn’t he like me?”
Janae’s deepest longing was for Jon to love her as she loved him.
And hey, all of the O’Connor’s loved Jon too. He spent weekends at our home. He and I had a couple long talks at the beach. My boys loved goofing off with him. He’s a fun-loving guy with a deep and authentic faith in God…what was there not to like!
And what soon followed was period of radar silence as Janae hunkered down to protect her heart.
Again and again, Janae had to practice the difficult art of surrendering her heart to God, entrusting Jon to God and her heart as well. Why can’t love just be easy?!
After an eternity of five months, Jon & Janae finally went on a date. In the first few minutes at dinner, Jon blurted, “Okay, if we’re going to date, we should just date!”
Apparently, a couple friends had got in his grill and in the finest Christian love, told him to face his fear or he was going to lose a girl who was crazy about him!
Jon and Janae became wildly in love, choosing love, and not falling in love as if it were a ditch…
Oh, the patient, gracious, and lavish generosity of God.
Over the next year, friendship, love, engagement… and then, wow… what a wedding day filled with family and dear friends!
I’m the “Cryer” in my family, so I took full opportunity of being Father of the Bride to exercise my tear ducts.
When I had the privilege of toasting Jon and Janae, I shared the transforming truth of what it means to live as the Beloved of God.
Genesis begins with husband and wife walking in creative communion with God.
Smack in the middle of the scripture, the Song of Solomon is a passionate reminder of God the Groom pursuing his beautiful Bride.
And then, the love story of God consummates at the wedding banquet of the Lamb in the book of Revelation.
Oh, how we have forgotten the passionate pursuit of God after our hearts!
As beloved sons and daughters of God, marriage is the gift God gives us to share our belovedness with one another each and every day.
And so, my little wedding reminder to you today, whether you’re married or not, is that you are the Beloved of God.
We are the Bride of Christ and we are intimately loved by the Father of the Bride.
He keeps pursuing us with an everlasting love. Let’s be caught… caught up in His love!
Questions: When was the last time someone told you “You are the Beloved of God”? As the Bride of Christ, how can you cultivate greater beauty in your life today?
I’d love your thoughts and comments!
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