the last wedding

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Last weekend we stayed all together (minus one sister-in-law and nephew) in this big rustic barn in Lexington, Virginia.  As you may be able to tell from the many, many pictures, there was a whole lot of joy over the weekend.  We gathered for my youngest brother’s wedding, the last one of us to be married.  The cousins had a blast being together, Phoebe and Jericho playing “bride” all week long in preparation for the event, Noah and Asher playing “trucks,” the babies toddling about trying to be a part of everything.  It was busy and at times chaotic, but full in the best sort of way.  The bride and groom had made the whole weekend special with small, meaningful and relaxed gatherings (a family/friends hang-out thursday evening, bridal luncheon friday afternoon, etc.) that gave us time together and time to mingle.  The wedding was one of the most beautiful and meaningful I’ve been to, and I was able to have a small part reading a beautiful prayer over this couple, as well as watching my little girl scatter flowers like a pro for the bride.

I think one of the greatest mysteries of attending weddings is the peculiar way that it confirms and solidifies our own love for one another again.  Along with the bride and groom, we  cherish the vows again, we remember, we look back with a whole lot of road behind us now.  We see a little more clearly, but somehow still dimly, because the glory of this institution requires a lifetime to unveil.  We want to sing a hundred songs over this new couple, to tell them to drink deeply of this beautiful cup, in worship to the Lord.  We want to hem them in with a hundred warnings, all the hard-won lessons we have learned along the way.  They will have their own battles, they will only learn by going their own road.

On the drive up to Virginia, this song played piercingly loud over my heart as I thought of these two heading into marriage.  The only safety we have in marriage, the supreme gladness I have over these two is that in the safety of the sovereign care of God, we can trust that they will not be shaken.  It’s the best news going into marriage: the battle is going to rage, the armies are going to rise up against them on all sides, but we have the surety of a God who is for us, who is fighting on our behalf, who is fighting for our marriage, a God who is stronger than all that will come against us.  We have a God who is redeeming all things, setting all broken things right, a God who is always making new.  We cannot trust in frail man, we cannot even trust ourselves, but we trust in our God.  I pray that over these two that I love so dearly, I pray this over my own unknown future: Go with God, dear ones.  Through His unfailing love, we will not be shaken.

For we trust in our God
And through His unfailing love
We will not be shaken,
We will not be shaken,
We will not be shaken

Though the battle rages
We will stand in the fight
Though the armies rise up against us on all sides
We will not be shaken
We will not be shaken
We will not be shaken

For in the hour of our darkest day
We will not tremble, we won’t be afraid
Hope is rising like the light of dawn
Our God is for us He has overcome

All those against Him will fall
For our God is stronger
He can do all things
No higher name we can call
For Jesus is greater
We can do all things

(We Will Not be Shaken, Bethel Music)

Click here to listen to the song:

jonathon + laura’s wedding

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A few weeks ago one of my cousins got married, and it was such a lovely reception in the backyard of his childhood home.  The pictures I snapped from the day were sort of random, I realized later (i.e.: no pictures of bride + groom, no pictures of brandon + I, either.  No pictures of the ceremony.)  Maybe that had something to do with how insane it was to keep up with our two kiddos running wild and nurse/feed the baby, as well as try to snag some dinner (and cake!).  Yep.. this season of parenting is awesome, and we love it, but it is busy.  My dad grilled meat for the reception, so that’s him there in the chef’s hat, slaving away over the grill.  🙂  And the kids LIVED to climb up in that treehouse in the yard, lower and raise the basket, yelling commands at any passersby to put something in their basket, which they would promptly pull up.  We were super thankful + delighted that they had gluten-free cake, as it was the first gathering our little Phoebe has been to where she realized there would be yummy treats she couldn’t have.  We had prepped her ahead of time that there would probably be cake and she wouldn’t be able to have it, but that I had packed some gluten-free Oreos for her.  She was a bit glum, cake-lover that she is.  When we brought her piece to her, she ran with it back to the cake table and double-checked with the servers that this cake was “free gluten” and she could have it.  Then she sat by the tree and devoured it.  Sometimes its the little things like this that mean a lot when you’re navigating a transition!  Anyway, we were super happy to celebrate my cousin + his new bride, and wish them a lifetime of celebration!

Also, on the way home, we drove by this old house where I spent my early growing up years a few streets over from my Aunt + Uncles house.  I sort of creepily snapped a photo from the car as we drove by.  Lots of special memories wrapped up in this place.. the time I called 911 because my sister wouldn’t let my Molly (American girl) doll play with her Samantha.  The time I swallowed a ring in the night while playing a “guess where i’m hiding it” game with my sister when we were supposed to be sleeping.  (Guess it wasn’t a bright idea to hide it in my mouth and try to talk.)  Lots of tree-climbing.  The little play house my dad built for us in the backyard.  Swinging on the swingset + singing my heart out.  Playing with my BFF Wynne a block or so away.  The old lady who lived behind Wynnes house, who we would randomly drop in to visit (unannounced).  She had a lot of birds and fed us stale cookies. Riding the bus home and walking down to the house.  The crazy rotting squirrel carcass we found in the front yard that was our first intro to maggots.  Riding bikes up and down our long street with no shirt on the whole way, like my older brother, but having a vague feeling that maybe a girl shouldn’t be doing that?  The best place for trick-or-treating.   The neighbor boys laughing at our early bedtime.  I guess it’s weird what you remember about a place.  Anyway, it was sweet to show it to the kids and to see it again.