Every day is wedding day.


Today, I want to make mention of these people – who have stood by us in great times, bizarre times, and hard times. Who make us laugh, bring purpose to our lives, and who we could not be ourselves without. These are words for them:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

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…because love wins.

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Weddings are dreams…if you do them right.


I got married this weekend!

Everything everyone says about the day going so fast, but being so beautiful, is right. Everything they say about being madly in love being intoxicating, is right. Everything they say about the great blessing of being surrounded by the people who love you, and who you love most, is right. They’re all right. It’s magical, but it’s only magical if you do it right. It’s only right if you’re marrying who you should marry. And if you’re upholding marriage until it’s time for marriage.

The most magical parts of our day were not the flowers (even though they were beautiful!), or the candles (which I got from the dollar store and that didn’t burn right…not that I noticed – I heard from my people), or the hair, or the makeup, or the suits. It wasn’t the “rager” we had after (the whole thing was over by 10pm), and it certainly wasn’t the tight (although also beautiful) dress I was wearing.

What was magical was Jesus. Jesus, who picked us for each other. Who made a love story out of our resistance (see any other blog post from before this about how we thought our lives should go). Jesus who changed us like water into wine, and Jesus, who was our first love. Jesus, who taught us what love is. Who teaches us what love is. Jesus, was the magic. Jesus, is the magic. Today is magical. Because marriage is Jesus’ and it can only be done as marriage, with Jesus. The rest is a sham.

Ray and I didn’t freak out about details while planning. We laughed a lot. We learned how to tie bows, and he got to watch me wander around Hobby Lobby a lot and grow his patience. We made time for our families and extended leases so that we didn’t have to live together before our marriage. We cried in the last three years as we lived in different houses, and states, and had surgery and almost cancer diagnoses, ER visits, hair loss, reconciliation of pasts, and figuring out how to fit into a new life. And we did it all together. It wasn’t easy, and it was magic too. This time with each other and Jesus, was our magic.

One of my two most favorite moments of our wedding was walking down the aisle with my father to greet my groom. After three years of up and down and changing as a person with him, there is only one person who could ever have compared to the love that my father has for me. I was proud of the man I was marrying. I was so blessed that my dad loved him so much and how much he has laid down his life for me. I am thankful that my father taught me to wait for the man who could make my life magical.

My second favorite moment, was when the man of my dreams cried while dancing our first dance with me. I have a hard time dancing – mostly because I am a white girl, but also because I have a prosthetic leg. While most people are busy working on shows for their first dance, we practiced me following him so that I didn’t step on him or my dress. It’s a vulnerable point for me. And it’s a space of challenge that only he could have worked himself into. He led me like the man of my dreams who knows exactly how to let me be independent while empowering me by holding me up in ways that people do not see. He has done physical therapy I didn’t know I needed, and he has wrapped up the broken pieces of my heart into one whole piece.

But he couldn’t do that without being led by Jesus. Half of the letter he wrote me before the wedding was Scripture. Wait for the man who doesn’t just give you himself. Wait for the man who unashamedly laughs with you while you plan for your wedding, who cries on your shoulder because he thinks you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and wait for the man who gets up the Monday after the wedding to go to work so that you can rest. Wait for the man who gives you Jesus.

Wait for the magic. Wait to see your groom until you walk down the aisle (pictures can wait until after). Wait for him to stand up and be a man. Don’t marry someone for the flowers. They will fade. Don’t marry someone for the candles. They won’t stay lit. Don’t marry someone for the sex. Married sex is the only sex that counts, and it’s not about the sex. Marry the person who you can let into the moments that make your heart break.

Wait for the man who will spin you around in front of a room of people because he can’t decide if he wants to look at you, or hold you close. Wait for the magic. Do the wedding right – it’s easy to do when the marriage is right. Wait for the right dream come true.

This is our first dance song. Here are the lyrics. Please listen and read. It is what we want people to see of our lives, which is why we picked it. The first verse is me (speaking to 25,000 this summer) and the second is him. And we have learned…nothing matters…but looking like love, Jesus, to each other, and to the world.

I hope everyone who was able to come and those who we know see that, and only that, in our wedding – and in our marriage. In our forever.

The marriage was worth the wait. The magic was worth the wait. Ray was worth the wait.

More Like Love – Ben Rector: Click here to listen

I use to think I wanted to be famous
I’d be recognized out in a crowd
But the funny thing is anytime I’ve gotten what I want
It lets me down

But now I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I used to think I needed all the answers
I used to need to know that I was right
I used to be afraid of things I couldn’t cover up
In black and white

But I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I find the farther that I climb
There’s always another line
Of mountain tops
It’s never going to stop
And the more of anything I do
The thing that always ends up true
Is getting what I want
Will never be enough

So I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

Like love

…because love wins.

first-dance

 

“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.”


“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship
in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with.
The kid of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone
who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want to be there with you through these times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion,
love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute even when the waters get deep, and dark.”

…because love wins.

I am marrying someone with a chronic illness.


I didn’t want to marry someone who had as much difficultly as I did in life. I wanted someone who had it all together – who didn’t have a hard time doing the things I do – who could take care of every part of me. Maybe somewhere in life I had been led to believe that I needed that. That I needed someone to take care of me all the time, and that there was only a specific way in which that could be done. I’ve learned differently.

So I had a list of qualities that made me think no one was good enough to do the job. They weren’t spectacular, but they were probably very different than others had. I guess I don’t really know what they all are anymore, because I think I’ve thrown those out the window in exchange for way more than I thought I needed.

Ray is perfect, for me. Not in the blah blah blah cliche way. But in the way that only God can possibly know what I need to take care of my soul, my body, and my heart.

He is a mess. And so am I. A big old beautiful mess.

When he was diagnosed with narcolepsy, I suppose that’s the time that I could have said, “Well, that’s going to be too hard, so nope.” That certainly wasn’t on my list of things I wanted in a husband. There are hard things about it. He can’t be scared because his legs will give out underneath him. (no, I’m not kidding – it’s called cataplexy) And there are certainly times in life when he’ll be scared and we can’t stop that. We have strict bed times. It’s not a lot of fun to live in the night all the way to 9:30pm before saying goodbye, but it’s what we have. The medicine is expensive, and if we don’t have it sometime in the future, we’re probably a bit out of luck. And maybe we’re naive (duh, who isn’t?) but we’ll deal with that when it comes.

Anyway, the point is, I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness. And I would recommend you do so too.

The thing is, we know we are very human because of chronic illness. I am sick, then he’s sick, and sometimes we’re sick on the same day. And those days are hard, but they are also full of love. We aren’t prideful because we are aware that it’s all pretty able to fall apart at any time. And we like our weird illnesses and the unique parts about us that challenge the other. I like to stay up late, but it’s healthier for me to go to bed. So marrying someone with narcolepsy makes me a better human – in a way I didn’t expect. Thanks God.

I’m marrying someone with a chronic illness and I’m really excited about it.

Pray for us, always, and forever, please. 🙂

…because love wins.

10 Things American Society Uses to Turn Men Into Boys


I’ve always been best friends with guys. It’s a long story as to why, but regardless, it’s taught me a lot about them. From the age 5 to 50. The relationship before the one I am currently in was abusive, painful, and needed to end when I ended it. While I felt the pain, the reason the hurt existed by that guy was not because of his choices alone. It’s a bunch of things. It’s what American society does to and about men. So here are 10 ways that America messes up men.

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1. It teaches them that they can have what they want, when they want it. Usually sex.
I’m not saying that all Americans aren’t this way (women included), but I am saying that men live under this belief most of the time. How can they not? Have you watched TV? What happens? The man thinks the women (usually all of them…) are “hot” (ew, such a gross word.) and then picks one that he wants, talks sexually to her, and then gets to have sex with her. Making him the king and her the prize. That’s not love. 

2. Pornography.
The ever-present-but-never-talked-about-issue of nearly all men. In college I came out of my nice naive state and learned how intense this stuff is. The most current statistic is that 68% of men take part in pornography each week. From what I can tell, I think that number should be much higher. And it’s devastating. It’s not real, but after so much absorption in it it’s nearly impossible for a man to even know that. Their brains and minds are taught that they can again, have whatever they want, when they want it. And that sex is an act, not a showing of love. Not an experience of love. Untying that in the mind of a sex addict is not something easy to do.

3. Women should be size zero. With D-sized breasts. And a thigh gap. And that’s what they’re worth.
So men don’t spend a lot of time around real women. I mean, they do. But society, and porn, and movies have them living in their heads a lot. So they may see a woman, but they may imagine them to be something else, or inherently think they need to look some other way than how they do. Because most women who are healthy have body fat, no thigh gap, and whatever sized breasts. But society (see Target’s ad mess up) doesn’t seem to think reality sells. Though they haven’t really tried that for a while.

4. Men don’t need to lead their families. 
Enter, sitcoms. Enter, The Bachelor. Enter Pop music. What is a man anyway? According to society, they’re someone who sits on the couch and watches sports and then picks what women they would like and can go to the club and pick any shorty they’d like. To use as they’d like. All while looking like some prize to these women to swoon over.

juan5. Men have lots of muscles. 
I don’t even know the origin of this. But I do know that men are just people. And while they like to pretend that they’re not insecure, porn lies about them as much as it lies about women. A strong man is not one who can bench the weight of his girlfriend times three. It’s someone who would step between anyone and his wife to keep her heart safe.

6. The need for “Bro-time.” 
I’m not saying that men don’t need men time. But what I am saying is that time with other men should not be spent as an “escape from your girlfriend or wife’s crazy mind and unrealistic expectations.”

7. Lack of vulnerability. 
Ask a man how he is. Any man. He’ll probably not tell you that the real deal is that he often doesn’t feel good enough, doesn’t know how to kick his sex addiction, and doesn’t know if he can be a good enough significant other or father. That’s because America doesn’t like vulnerability unless it has really big dramatic background music in the climax of the movie. And it’s usually not the man crying.

8. Men don’t need support. 
Check out Superman. Or Spiderman. They just fly around and save the world and aren’t supported by their women. They’re just always saving the women. Why those women can’t deal with anything on their own, I don’t really understand. But I do know that women need to be a lot better at holding their men up as the head of their families. Just tell them you’re proud of them. Just thank them for loving you. Just let them know you love them.

9. Men can’t have family and work. men
It’s like robbery on television or in the news to take a man from his career. How dare he be asked to come home and have dinner with his family? Shouldn’t he be respected for going out and “providing for his family?” Yeah, he should. But it’s also good for him to come home and be loved on. Men need that. Families need their man. To just be there and loving.

10. Men are everything. 
As much as women are expected to be something, men are too. But men aren’t perfect. A perfect man is the one who knows he’s not perfect, but lays his heart before Christ to be made perfect. The one who doesn’t know how to lead, but knows how to be led.

I’m not bashing. But I am tired of seeing men hurt. Because when men hurt, so does the rest of the world. If you’re a man who has stopped being a boy after the world tried to make you one, keep standing in that. If you’re a woman, don’t be afraid to be respected like you need to. And to support your man like he needs. We’re all just humans. And we all just need love.

…because love wins.