Shannon here: Jennifer Slattery shares how God blessed her daughter’s wedding, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Contemporary Romance, Building a Family. Comment or answer the question in any post dated June 12th – 16th to enter the drawing. Deadline: June 27th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jenninfer:
Weddings have a way of slowing everything down and highlighting those things we cherish most. They put love, pure and unyielding love, on display. This spring, God reminded me that love truly can prevail and bring light and life to what otherwise might feel like dark and challenging circumstances. Not just the love of a bride and groom for one another, or the parents for their treasured children, but God’s love for us as well.
He showed me I could focus on the wind and rain or those unexpected blessings that He continually bestows, often when I’m unaware.
My daughter got married during C19, and at first this was hard. Two months before the event, we hoped the restrictions would lift within a few weeks. But then one day merged into two, then into ten, then into thirty. That’s when the emails and phone calls started coming. People, including some that we felt closest to, began declining our invites.
About two weeks out, my daughter and her fiancé were forced to make unpleasant decisions. They cut their guests to 10, which included the pastor, photographer, and themselves and changed the location from the beautiful rustic-chic ballroom they’d chosen to our backyard.
Though later they were allowed to add some more guests, we still grieved as visions formed over a lifetime suddenly shattered. I knew the day would be special. I knew we’d make it special, but it still hurt. And so, I grieved while simultaneously celebrating the precious love God had birthed and nurtured in my daughter and her fiancé’s hearts.
Isn’t that like the “now but not yet” life we Christians live in? We live in the victory of Christ’s death and resurrection, through which He conquered sin and death, but also in the anticipation of heaven when sin and death will be banished from our lives for good.
My daughter’s wedding reminded me of what it means to experience joy even when life feels hard. But mostly, of the need to live with anticipation.
About three days before the ceremony, as I did my best to turn our home into a beautiful wedding venue, God led me to John 2 and helped me to see the upcoming event with new eyes. With the eyes of a mother of a bride wanting to give my precious daughter every blessing but feeling like I couldn’t. Worse, feeling like I couldn’t hold back the rain.
But then, through an account of an ancient wedding, God reminded me He always rains love, pun intended, upon His beloved; His blessings always abound. Whether we recognize this or not. But oh, the joy for those who, with an ever-attentive and expectant heart, see His love.
It was the first miracle Christ performed. Mere days after He’d been baptized and gathered His first disciples, Jesus attended an ancient Jewish wedding. These were some of the biggest and most important celebrations in the ancient world, filled with tradition and societal expectation. And amid all the joy and dancing and feasting, the wine ran out.
This may seem like merely an inconvenience, but in the first century, this would’ve incurred public shame, a social disgrace that would’ve followed the wedding couple for the rest of their lives.
And so, Jesus stepped in and told the servants to fill six massive jars with water, and they obeyed. The result? Everyone received high quality wine, likely without the bride and groom ever knowing they’d nearly ran out.
Here’s what struck me, as I sat contemplating my daughter’s wedding, which would occur in mere days. Considering the lack of wine, the empty jugs, in light of all Christ came to earth to do, He could’ve deemed this incident unimportant. Yes, this family had run out of wine, but other people, perhaps even right outside their door, were suffering much worse. Some had leprosy. Others were lame and still others were dying.
Jesus could’ve told this couple to buck up, but He didn’t. Instead, He quietly blessed them, in love. Because He cares about all the details of our lives—the big and the small, and He showed me, not just through this ancient account, but through my daughter’s wedding as well, that His blessings truly do abound.
I wasn’t able to stop the rain—literally or figuratively—the day of our daughter’s wedding. Nor was I able, amidst all the wind, to place all those beautiful floral arrangements we’d worked so hard to assemble, on the tables we’d set outside. In fact, we had to quickly move those undecorated tables inside immediately following the ceremony. And while we rapidly converted our living room into a make-shift dance floor, guests gathered around, waiting for seating.
And yet, this was one of the most beautiful, intimate, and at times, hilarious, weddings I’ve attended, filled with so many unexpected blessings, my favorite of which unfolded on the dance floor.
Because not even the rain or wind or change of plans could hinder the joy I saw radiate from both bride and groom as they kissed beneath the cloudy sky. Nor could it keep my daughter from her daddy’s arms, as he danced with the new bride. The night was filled with laughter, more than a few tears, and oh so very much love.
I wonder if the love displayed would’ve been so clear, so vibrant, had everything gone as originally planned.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer and national speaker who has addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast and maintains devotional blogs Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud, Faith Over Fear and on Crosswalk . As the founder of Wholly Love Ministries , she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Contact her through her website to book her for your next women’s event. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Building a Family:
Can love for two little matchmakers unite their reluctant hearts?
Worried that Noah Williams is still the reckless bull rider she remembers, Kayla Fisher is convinced he isn’t the right person to care for their orphaned niece and nephew. Now she’s back home, determined to fight for custody. But Noah is a changed man, and he intends to prove it. When Noah and Kayla start falling for each other, could raising the children together be the perfect solution?
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: Has there been a special ceremony you attended? What made it so special?
Come back June 16th for Jennifer’s Romantic Excerpt!