Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Toast to the Yearly-Weds

--Edit-- a good post on a similar topic can be found here.  It has several analogies to help you think through (or maybe guide your child or mentee through) purity before the Lord!

A year ago today my sister and her best friend woke up as Mr. Samuel & Mrs. Lauren Pond for the first time.  In a bizzare twist of fate-- i.e. God's sovereign sense of humor-- their legal names would sound equally unfamiliar to their friends, as both go by their middle names... and since their second names contain most of the same letters, we call them collectively "Nicolin."  Yes, this time last year my mom, dad, and sister Anna were still reeling in post-wedding shock, and trying to internalize the knowledge that the eternally-messy bedroom to the far right of the stairs was in one sense empty forever... though (hehhe) its occupant has left many a sign of her long residency, much to my mom's chagrin (it still hasn't been cleaned out.).

I think it's safe to say that any guest at the Thompson-Pond rehearsal dinner, wedding, or reception, was treated to an amazing party. I've never had more fun at any rehearsal dinner-- the dancing was, well, for lack of a better word, amazing.  It was hands-down the best New Year's celebration I've ever been to!  Both families know how to boogie, and the late-night-festive atmosphere was enough to bring out even our shyer friends to the dance floor in droves.  Oh so fun.  There were toasts a-plenty, with lots of laughs and even a few tears... the sister in me could not resist a roast, I dredged up an old email from a teenaged-Nicole in which she outlined her plan to be married and pregnant with her fourth child by the time I found a suitor at all and read pertinent portions aloud.  As guests could see MY husband and 3 month old daughter while I read, the irony was not lost.  We (Anna & I) followed that up with a musical number of our own composition... it began "She was getting behind on the plan/ getting desperate to locate a man..." and poked fun at my sister and now-brother-in-law's unusual meeting and courtship.  It was a pretty catchy tune, and Anna & I had way too much fun singing it.

The wedding was gorgeous-- flowers and candles which many talented folks had spent the week arranging, unique music, a Gospel-centered ceremony, awesomely cool vows (hehehe there is a story there), my dad crying his eyes out (he's a softie when it comes to his daughters), a bazillion little cousins in tiny suits and flower girl dresses, and my bubbly, friend-to-everyone sister as a bride radiant with happiness.  The reception was tamer than the rehearsal dinner, but was still a blast, full of old friends and family come from far away; good food and more great music (like my sister Anna's performance with a family friend for the couple's first dance).  Dancing, talking, photo shoots, food, nursing my refluxy, grumpy baby in a bathroom stall and gladly handing her off to auntie after auntie, and all of a sudden, we were blowing bubbles on Prince Charming and Snow White as they sailed past, then... they were gone.

My husband got me and the baby home, where we collapsed still-dressed on the bed.  I got to thinking... about how right everything had been, from their courtship to their wedding ceremony to their send-off, and that amidst all the toasting and the roasting, the dancing, and the music, that I hadn't really heard or said much to honor them.  I resolved to correct that with a blog post... but, well, between the 4-state-drive home and two more months of acid reflux in Eowyn, then an absolutely travel-packed summer (we were away more than we were home)... it never happened.  So now, it's finally time.  :)

Nicole & Colin, I want to honor you for walking in purity and in righteousness.  You guys did so many things right.  Two years of dating under parental supervision... Colin even agreed to book/Bible studies with my dad (his girlfriend's father... woah talk about intimidating).  A commitment to a God-honoring ceremony and an engagement period that honored each other.  You have each always had an attitude of doing what was best for the other, not just yourself.  I'm not saying that you were perfect, that it was a flawlessly smooth road between starting to like each other and driving away as Mr. & Mrs.-- there were plenty of blow-ups and frustrations and eye-rollings, and "seriously, Dad!?"s, and lots of times where y'all wished you were already married and the whole dating/engaged phase was just OVER.  But I am confident that God the Father was smiling as you got married, and that angels were cheering & devils were booing at your triumph over the overwhelming worldly pressures to compromise and rebel.  There wasn't any "oh I hope no one ever finds out about __" in your eyes as you watched each other during the ceremony.

Little saddens me more than to see our culture's acceptance & encouragement of promiscuity & independence at the cost of parental authority.  Yeah, that was a mouthful, I know... but think about it.  What romantic comedy have you seen recently in which the happily-ever-after couple didn't sleep together before they were married?  ... yeah... can't think of one, either, aside from Jane Austen novels. Today, it's expected that one way you show that you are a grown-up, one way that you show you really love each other, is that you sleep together and see if the sparks fly.  I have seen a lot of shows in which parents tell their kids that they shouldn't sleep with someone "until they are ready," or "unless you really love each other."  I haven't seen any in which parents told them that being "in love" & "ready" meant that you were wearing a wedding band on your finger.  What movie has the star-crossed-lovers listening to and honoring their loving, wonderful parents as they date?

In real life, promiscuity doesn't lead to happy-ever-afters.  Refusal to listen to parents isn't smart or wise.  I can think of literally dozens of friends of mine who went against their parent's advice or other godly counsel and dated that guy or that girl, and are now hurting and full of regrets.  By contrast, I know of only two couples who went against their parents' wishes and have "lived to tell the tale," and in both cases they had the backing of their churches and Scripture, and it was their families who were in the wrong.  I've seen people who lived together torn up inside by a break-up, bleeding and wounded as if they had gotten a divorce.  Promiscuity leads to shame, to deep heart-ache, to lonliness, to disease, to pregnancies (or even worse, abortions), to brides feeling like filthy hypocrites in their white wedding gowns.  And even if you make it through "unscathed," there's still the opinion of God to consider.  Deep down every human knows that He is watching, that He does care, and that there will be a reckoning.  God's laws aren't arbitrary; they are set up for our own greater joy!  (Please don't misunderstand: in no way do I want to minimize God's forgiveness, of any sin or even sinful life pattern-- "His love can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me!"  Whenever there is repentance, there is forgiveness and a new beginning-- "the vilest offender who truly believes/ that moment from Jesus forgiveness receives./Praise the Lord!")

Purity isn't prudishness.  Honoring your parents and obeying them even in your dating relationship isn't a sign of weakness or immaturity.  Both take far more courage, prayer, and supernatural grace than giving in to what comes naturally.  The reward, though, is a wedding day like you two had:  one in which there were no regrets.

I raise my glass to you, and to the warriors behind you whose fervent prayers kept you walking in the Light.


Leslie said...

LOVE this post. Thanks for sharing, it's an encouragement to us all... Tell of good things the Lord has done!

Lindsay said...

I ran across your blog post just now as I was searching for stories on purity. I've had a hard time recently with the struggle between the part of me that "wants 'him' NOW" and the part of me that urges me to wait for God's timing. I'd love to hear more of your sister's story... but I guess I've heard one or two of my own, of couples honoring the Lord in their relationships and finding that he is right in his timing and in his guidance.
Thank you for speaking up about this... even a year later. You encouraged me.