Two hours to ceremony and all of us are huddled together in the bride’s childhood home waiting out the second wave of downpour rain. Sidney and bridesmaids, parents and grandparents, photographer and videographer watch from living room windows, while Jimmy and his guys keep vigil from the basement walkout. Dads and brothers have done their best to move anything fragile to the shelter of various tents, and now all we can do is hope and pray. Phone app radar showing one more band, and then, God willing, clear skies.
We’ve had an exceptionally dry summer. No rain to speak of until Wednesday of last week, when our wedding-prep crew of friends and family waited out a totally unexpected deluge while eating dinner provided by Grandma Manske under the bigtop. A foreshadowing maybe. Or maybe blessing. Ground longing for rain and I’m reminded of all the ways the writers of scripture use water metaphors to remind God’s people of his lavish provision.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
There’s no doubt about it. My God has been pouring out His most bountiful blessing, deluge-like and bone-soaking, on this flourishing family.
The rain does stop, although distant thunder and a few impressive streaks of lighting create an appropriate backdrop for a tear-soaked groom trying to absorb the surreal emotion of his own wedding procession. Kisses for parents. Bear-hugs for groomsmen. A crack of laughter for a flower girl and ring bearer making their way down the aisle in a child-sized Jeep.
Uncle Jimmy, here comes your bride!
A sign announces the main attraction as the three-year-old driver comes dangerously close to taking out a row of wedding guests.
And then, from behind a gauzy curtain
His bride appears.
There’s a photo. Preserved in black-and-white. Sidney approaching on the arm of her daddy. Priceless expression on her Jimmy’s face.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow…
My husband’s handcrafted wedding arch frames a meadow of glistening grass and wedding-white wildflowers. Bridesmaids and bride carry exquisite bouquets assembled by Sidney’s mama. Jimmy’s oldest brother sings. Family fills the first two rows while a Colombian foster-mama watches on FaceTime as the dream unfolds.
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants…
A friend reads scripture and it is exactly what I would have chosen. Romans 12:9 and following:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality…
The former-coach-now-pastor speaks words of wisdom and humor. Vows are repeated. Rings are exchanged. “You may kiss your bride.”
During the reception two fathers share stories of their children. A son who spent much of his childhood in South America. A daughter raised in the north. Two strong wills and two loyal hearts setting their sights on each other. Two fathers sacrificially devoted to the kids they love. And a Father of miracles weaving the whole thing together. Later both dads dance with the daughter—a special surprise for our papi of sons.
From beginning to end it’s a dream-come-true wedding. Every detail a testimony to the covenant commitment of family and friends who’ve wrapped this couple in undying love.
By evening’s end the bride’s dress is mud-soaked and and the groom’s shirt is sweat-soaked and Jimmy has hugged and kissed his mama with so many thank-you-I-love-you’s that I am soaked, too—in so much blessing.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.
Jimmy and Sidney. My son and my daughter. May the two of you Shalom-Prosper* forever, like rain-drenched trees growing deepest roots by that stream of Living Water.
I love you.