Kingdom Expression in Life

Last weekend our daughter was married here at our farm. It was probably the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to. I know, I know, you think I’m probably being a bit biased. But it was beautiful… it was really FULL of beauty. The word that would accurately describe the day was LOVE… the love of a bride and groom, the love of the bride’s parents and brothers to do whatever it may take to make this day what the bride and groom wanted, the love of friends and family rejoicing over this union, and especially the love of our Father!

Today, I sit here in my favorite spot in my house and look around at what still looks like a mess… furniture not where it goes, pictures not on walls, pillows on the floor instead of couches. But more on why my house looks like a tornado blew through it in a bit. I’m in no rush to get it back to normal. The agenda for this week (after we returned wedding rentals) is to relax. For my youngest daughter, it’s writing songs or play music. For my two sons, it’s playing video games or watch TV. For my hard working husband, well he has to do a bit of farming. 😜 And as for me, it’s writing on this blog or studying. There’s plenty of time next week to get things done and back in order. It’s been a long 6 months of planning this wedding and getting our farm ready for a wedding of 200 people… although the final count that day was between 80-90. More on why later.

This wedding had so very many obstacles that attempted to interfere with it… from family opposition to fear of coronavirus and a host of other obstacles along the way! And of course, I realize things don’t always go according to plan at a wedding, but my lovely daughter and her amazing husband (my newest son!! ❤) had more than their fair share of plans turned upside down. And they’re not complaining, nor are we. Like I said, the wedding was the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to… including my own!

They had to deal with family issues from the moment they announced they were getting married! And they’ve walked through it with such grace and love, while at the same time learning how to set wonderful, healthy boundaries in order to protect their hearts, their marriage, and their future together. Walking through things that most of us don’t learn how to navigate until years after being married. I’m so incredibly proud of them! Proud of them for being so fiercely protective of each other’s heart… for putting one another before anyone else!!

Two weeks before the wedding, they find out that their honeymoon plans will have to change. All flights in and out of Italy have been canceled due to the coronavirus. They were so very excited about Rome and now they find out they have to pick a new place or postpone their honeymoon.

Coronavirus!! It wasn’t like we hadn’t heard the word before that, but honestly, we didn’t give it much thought. We were busy and also if you’ve read any of my other posts on this blog you know that we 100% believe that we walk in divine health… in wholeness in every area of our lives! Including our physical bodies. But now this coronavirus fear is causing chaos in their plans! So they pick a new spot and we thought no more about it! But then the week of the wedding, we had cancellation after cancellation after cancellation… they just started flooding in! All but a couple due to this coronavirus panic!

And then the morning of the wedding, we woke up to a forecast of 100% rain… not sprinkles, or occasional showers (like it had predicted!) BUT buckets and buckets of rain! Since we had only planned for an outdoor wedding under a canopy of beautiful fairy lights (which by the way, the wind completely tore apart the night before!) we had to make a major adjustment fast. So, at 4:30 in the morning my husband who had barely slept all night, told me that we were going to have to have the reception in the house! My question… whose house!?! OURS! Can we even fit 80-90 people inside my house!?! He told me we can move out all of the furniture and set it up and it would be great. Really!?! He’s way more optimistic than I am in some things! But I completely trust him.

But we hadn’t told our daughter yet! We tiptoed (literally!) into her room and woke her up and explained all of this to her. This was not the wake up I had planned for her! I had planned on waking her up with a wonderful mimosa and a gift that I had for her, while we excitedly chatted about the upcoming hours. After an initial few (well deserved) tears, she took it with such grace!!

So, we moved all of the furniture out of the main rooms of our house… and when I say all, I mean ALL! Steve, our sons, all of the bridesmaids, and my two day-of-coordinators moved it all to our bedrooms! Then everyone moved all of the reception things into our house!! The florist’s dad and uncle heard about what had happened and they came over to help! One of the day-of coordinator’s mom came to help when she heard! So much love and generosity from people I didn’t even know! And we ended up fitting everyone into our house!

There’s a saying that it takes a village to raise a child… I can honestly say it took a village to throw our daughter’s wedding!! We couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people. We had to scratch all of our plans and literally wing it the rest of the night! BUT in the midst of all the chaos, this wedding was, as I said, the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to! The buckets of rain held just long enough to have the ceremony in the orchard like my daughter wanted. And all of the raindrops and umbrellas made for stunning pictures. 

Nicole & Zach are part of a wonderful community of young adults. They belong to a group called Circuit Riders. They go around the nation preaching the gospel at college campuses. These kids are amazing!!  So many of them were present at the wedding and every one of them expressed to us thanks for opening our home. Telling me that they all felt so much at home and so very loved!! As we were planning this wedding over the months, that was the one thing all of us had wanted. For guests to experience our love for all of them, and most importantly God’s love for them! 

My husband truly is amazing! He selflessly poured his heart into making this a beautiful day for Nicole & Zach! The wedding was stunning, the food amazing, and the love from everyone for us and our daughter and new son (❤) was overwhelming!! This is what expressing the Kingdom looks like! Tangible reflections of Grace. Of joy and love… of Him! Jesus said the kingdom of God is within us. The kingdom is not something that we “enter into,” but rather it resides or abides in us continually! Kingdom expression is not something we DO… Paul said it is not eating or drinking. Rather, it is a life that flows out of us the way it was designed to do. The King who is Love and who is Grace pours His kingdom effortlessly through us as we allow Him to… a kingdom of righteousness, peace (wholeness) and joy! 

Nothing went according to plan at this wedding. And yet, everything went so much better than planned. Love and joy were contagious and felt by everyone there. And really when you strip away all the outer packaging of the wedding that we planned… the decor, the food, the drinks, etc…. that was all we truly wanted!!

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