Last week was my cousin C.J.'s wedding. He's not my cousin by blood, but our Dad's were best friends for over 30 years. They were both crazy, pot smokin' hippies, except my Dad retired his bell bottoms in the 70's and Joe wore his until the day he died, (2009). Our families were close. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the Super Bowl were celebrated at Candi & Joe's house. Their son C.J. was just a few years older than us dorky girls. He was older and cool. One time he showed us a picture of a lady with boobs that were 3 feet long. It was up there with the grossest things I've ever seen. But that was what we did when we were younger. We played dodge ball in the back yard, swam, we'd light stuff on fire, and ding dong ditch. It was harmless childhood stuff that everyone has experienced, and it was sweet to remember all of the fun my sisters and I had with C.J. growing up.
With that being said, I was proud and honored to see him get married.
The best part of weddings is watching the grooms face before the bride walks down the aisle. You could see the anticipation and excitement just radiating off of him. The crowd was asked to rise and turn towards the door for Julie's grand entrance and "Bitter sweet symphony" by The Verve was playing. It was incredibly beautiful. She entered the room and you could just tell that C.J. was almost holding his breath. Tears welling up in his eyes, red faced, palms sweating, nervous, smiling, and eating up her beauty. It's like time froze and the two of them were locked in the others stare. No one else existed as she walked down the aisle. I felt like that at my wedding. As a girl, you imagine what that moment will feel like.
All of our hearts were broken when Joe passed earlier last year. There was a chair on the grooms side at C.J.'s wedding with a Steeler's jersey on it in memory of Joe. (He was a HUGE Steeler's fan.) I got chocked up seeing his wife Candi sitting next to that empty chair with tears in her eyes watching life happen without her husband. I think we were all feeling the heaviness in the room knowing that Joe didn't get to see his only son get married.
As the wedding went on, I noticed a seriousness about my husband while I was off in la-la land adoring the floral arrangements, watching the photographer, drooling over the wedding dress, and watching CJ's Mom's reaction as the wedding went on. As the minister was conducting the ceremony, my husband was deep in thought and prayer. He was listening intently and his prayer was that, just as C.J. received his bride, they as a couple would come to know Christ as their groom. Just as C.J. looks at his future wife with such great anticipating, Christ looks forward to His bride, US, with the same adoring eyes. He loves us, he cherishes us and can't wait to spend eternity with us partying and celebrating.
The most amazing thing about of weddings, is that it is a perfect picture of eternity.
As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
The gorgeous dress, the flawless cake, and the amazing centerpieces mean nothing. The commitment to the person you love and the commitment to God is what's real. After the wedding day has come and went, you have to get prepared to spend the rest of your life with a sinful, flawed, self absorbed person. Without Christ, In my marriage, I live for myself, my needs and my wants.
I love weddings because it makes me reflect back on my wedding day. Watching another couple make those vows makes me grab tightly onto my husbands arm and I can't help but be overwhelmed with joy.