Joel and Mikaela Begin Their Happily Ever After

My eyes opened in the weak light of a five AM dawn and adrenaline coursed through my body. This was no ordinary wake up. This was the wake-up Joel and I had been counting since May. 90 days and a wake up...73 days and a wake up...46 days and a wake up...29 days and a wake up...11 days and a wake up...2 days and a wake up...a wake up...August 30th was upon me, and my heart throbbed with the excitement of marrying my Joel.

Two of my dearest friends--Lauren and Sarah--were beside me, enjoying one last night sleeping on the floor together as we had scores of times throughout our childhood, teens, and adult years. Together we got up and began our Saturday.

The morning passed quickly in a beautifully girly tangle of bobby pins, hairspray, tea, hairspray, laughter, hairspray, and chatter. My nervous energy began to ebb, thanks to the dear women around me, and by the time we left for the church, ducking under umbrellas in the driving rain, I felt peaceful and calm--yet still incurably excited.

At the church, we dressed under the watchful eyes of my three sweet flower girls and the attentive lens of my photographer. Tears sprang out without warning, especially when my bridesmaids laid hands on me and prayed for me. I posed for pictures, hugged friends, and sat down to write a card to Joel with a heart full to the brim. What was this moment only thirty minutes away now? How could it be that in a few short hours, my name would be changed, my home would be changed, and my life would be changed? The greatest mystery of all, however, was that upon being faced with change of such import, I found myself not scared, or nervous, or worried, or uncertain. I am in love with this man, absolutely. I adore him and ardently admire him.

So as I wrote a love note to my dear man, I felt nothing but excitement, anticipation, confidence, serenity, and purpose. As I held his hand and prayed with him before the ceremony (without actually seeing each other!), I felt elation and deep, abiding love for this good man. 

As I walked into the hallway with my bridesmaids and flower girls, as I received my bouquet, as we sang "Favorite Things" and other songs to keep ourselves from crying, I felt awe and wonder. 

As Papa took my arm and looked at me and cried, I felt wistful and breathless. As he and I stood behind closed double doors, knowing our turn was next, I felt alert, expectant, sanguine, and joyous. 

Those doors opened and I saw the sanctuary filled with hundreds of friends and family--dear, familiar faces in every pew!--and then I saw him. My groom, my handsome Joel, my soon-to-be husband. I felt buoyant and enraptured.

The ceremony was a sacred hour, and it seemed as though in the blink of an eye, the year and a half of waiting was over, and the man before me was my husband, and I was his wife. Oh the joy!

Great was the merriment and celebration at the reception. Friends worked hard to serve the food while other friends and family shared words of wisdom and advice. The Best Man (Joel's brother, Adam) shared beautiful words of blessing to us that brought tears to our eyes, and the Maid of Honor (Lauren) told a story that made me sob and ache for the delight of being her sister and twin. Joel and I basked in the glow of being married, fed each other cake (nicely), and five hours after the ceremony began, we dashed through a mass of bubbles and glitter and escaped in a stunning old car.

And then? Well, we're living happily ever after. God is good!

Joel and Mikaela's Story

~ Read our Love Story

~ Our reunion in the midst of out-of-our-control circumstances and a 3,000 mile separation: Raindrops on Roses

~ The struggles of unemployment and of waiting and trusting in God: Jesus Wept {With Me}
~ Joel's Graduation from Law School

~ Together for the New Year after 4 months apart: Keeping Christmas

~ Together in March and 11 months into our engagement: On the Other Side of the Continent

~ God provides a job for Joel! Waiting in God's Best
~ Life gets busy: {Right Now I Am}

~ A summary of August and the wedding: For Everything...Thank You

~ Lauren's Maid of Honor speech: A Story for You

~ The Week of the Wedding: Preparing for the Long Walk

For more pictures of the wedding, another perspective on the day, and to check out an amazing photographer, click here (i.e. the blog of Christa Taylor, our wonderful photographer). All pictures taken by her!


The Miracle of Not Knowing

Our green tomatoes have nearly finished fattening up on their vines.  In fact, the chubby little cherry tomatoes nearly explode in my fingers when I pluck them, so juicy are they.  Leaves potpourri the grass, sending the message that we had better hasten to finish hemming summer up before we are blanketed in rain.  Apple cider is in the freezer, and gallons of fresh chipotle salsa, too.  All of this plentiful harvest that signals change ahead is comforting, because I know exactly what to expect.

I know the first frost will soon appear, and with it our dog Bentley’s fur will thicken, the garden will be put into hibernation, and Thanksgiving and Christmas will soon thread through the tapestry of the year.  For me, the turning over from one season to another is like the thrill of opening the door to a well-loved and memory-filled vacation house which I have not seen in a year.  Welcoming. Nostalgic. Warm.  

But I like to wonder if the first seasonal change brought trepidation or curiosity for Adam and Eve?  For this would have been before God’s promise to Noah: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease. {Gen. 8:22}” So when the days began to shorten, or when change began to cloak the familiar garden, I wonder if Adam and Eve looked at each other in awe or in dread?  

In my mind’s narrative, the story surely progresses with awe.  They knew this new world was all the great masterwork of the God they loved.  They surely would have run to confide in Him the changes they saw and to ask what other changes they could expect in the garden.  For it was God’s unconditional goodness that made the garden a paradise, and as long as they trusted in His goodness, paradise it would remain.  

The irony is that the moment they gave a home in their minds to the vagabond of doubt in God’s true goodness, the moment they began to fear the paradise was not as good as they had trusted, that was when they began the destruction of paradise with their own hands.  

The psalmist said, “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! {Ps. 31:19}”  

Oh that we could return to that childlike, untainted trust of Adam and Eve before the fall!   

With that kind of trust, we would look at the changing seasons of life, not with a fatalistic dread of what unexpected bomb is going to drop next, but with an uncomplicated awe at watching God’s plan unfold. 

I love the changing seasons because I know what is going to happen next, but what would happen if I dared to love the changing seasons of life because I don’t know what is going to happen next?  That’s the attitude that takes a red maple leaf from mundane to miraculous.  

“This Must Be the Place-explored!,” © 2008 Bridget H, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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