As weddings have taken up so much of my life lately, I figured maybe they should take up a lot of my blog as well. Here’s a special wedding season series – some questions I get asked (or ones I don’t), some things I survived, some truths I’ve been learning. And, an extra bonus: one very special wedding!
We prayed for no wind.
Friday afternoon we stood on stage, all in our places, shivering. We stood next to our very best friends, as they clasped hands and looked into each other’s eyes, ready for the day they’ve been dreaming of – now just hours away. Teeth chattering, arms covered in goosebumps, girls holding their skirts down from whipping in the wind, we tried to solely focus on the two of them …but it was hard to not focus a little on the cold. Friday night we spent bundled under blankets, celebrating and laughing – but worried about the weather for the next day. They had rented space heaters, they had 40 homemade quilts on standby, but you can’t control the weather. You can’t control wind.
That night the bridesmaids stayed together. We all piled on one big bed and squealed and cried and chatted about anything and everything. The anticipation was high. We were giddy. We talked about the next day and everything we were looking forward to. She was worried about the wind. She asked us to pray for the weather. I told Her, with a smirk, “Hey. Sometimes God is in the wind.”
Saturday came, with the joyous expectation all weddings bring. We squealed when She woke up, sat around in our pajamas for a while, and tried to enjoy the moment for what it was. It was a blur of coffee and hair and makeup and last minute jewelry decisions, and then all of a sudden it was time. It was time! When She finally stepped into her dress, we were all truly breathless. She was already tearing up as I held the door open for Her to go greet Her husband.
Throughout it all, whenever I looked out the window of the quaint cottage we were in, I prayed for the weather. I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for no wind.
I still remember when He texted me for our *secret lunch* on the very first day of the year. I was beyond excited – for it meant a proposal was in the works! – and beyond honored to be included in such a special moment. We sat at Pizza Port, our group sans Her, and planned details, planned logistics, planned out who would do what. We were often sidetracked by some of us constantly exclaiming, “IT’S HAPPENING!” and “We get to plan a wedding this year!!!” over and over again. We mostly chatted about Her family, about where they were at in the process of allowing this relationship to move forward. I was blown away by His strength and determination to fight for Her against everything – to stand up and push forward when it would have been so much easier to stay seated. We prayed for miracles. We prayed for hope. We prayed against all odds over the next few months. In a lot of ways, we prayed for no wind.
God didn’t seem to listen.
The winds kept blowing.
We sat in our matching floral robes, hair and make up done, surrounding Her, laying hands on Her. We asked God to be in every part of the day – every moment. We met up with the groomsmen, chitchatting and comparing stories of our morning, buying time while our two best friends were having the first look into the rest of their lives. We went out and took pictures in a whimsical apple orchard, we giggled and we held flowers and we were all on another level of happy – it was an otherworldly emotion. We finally arrived and snuck around the back, walking past the gorgeous tables for the reception and seeing glimpses of the how the ceremony had come together. It was magical. It was everything we dreamed of. It was God, making Himself known.
Right before the ceremony, as we gathered together to pray for Her once again, she was so worried about the wind, about people being cold. I prayed: “God, we know You alone can quiet the wind outside. You are the God who commands the weather. We also know You can warm people through dancing, through joy in their hearts, through other means besides lack of wind.”
He opted for the latter.
The ceremony was beyond windy. I fixed Her dress, only to have it whipped out of place again seconds later. Her veil had to be held the whole time, to keep it in one place. The bridesmaids froze on stage, huddling together for warmth. We laughed at some parts, teared up at others, but mostly shook from the cold through the entire thing. Our hair whipped into our faces as we were walking out – good thing we had groomsman to guide us.
And yet I couldn’t shake the gentle reminder, “Sometimes God is in the wind.”
The wind raged on through dinner. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and sat close to space heaters. We shivered during our speeches – shaking more from nerves or from the cold, I’ll never know. People walked onto the dance floor with quilts worn as cloaks.
And then – slowly or all of a sudden? – the wind died out. It was, dare I say, warm. I walked around in my dress, no need for a blanket. At some point I was actually sweating, thanks to my need to never leave the dance floor. Without even realizing it, the wind disappeared. At the perfect timing too – we danced, we ate cake, we took pictures, we sent them off with sparklers and a firework show – all without turning to icicles.
Later we were discussing the day: literally perfect, in every single way, save for a little wind. Something so out of our control, and yet really not even a big deal looking back on it all. We talked about how it eventually died out, it eventually went away and eventually let us enjoy the summer evening. It let us celebrate in the way we wanted to. I said aloud, “Well, God answers prayers. Sometimes just a little later than we asked for.”
I couldn’t shake the Old Testament stories, cartoons I grew up with now truths I hold closely. God appearing in a storm to Moses. Elijah waiting for God in the extreme weather, but finding Him in a gentle breeze. And God answering Job from within the wind. Maybe, even though we didn’t want the wind in the beginning of the evening, He knew better than us. Maybe we prayed and prayed for a specific miracle, and we got a different kind of one without even knowing. Maybe God is in the wind and in the gentle breezes; maybe He is in the answered prayers and in the waiting; maybe He really, truly is in every moment we invite Him into.
I remember the week He (unknowingly to Her) was planning to propose, and the winds that were blowing. I remember sitting in Her apartment the morning of, doing my duty to distract Her before it happened, and having a heartfelt conversation about their relationship. Storm winds were blowing and my heart hurt for two of my dearest friends, caught in the middle of it. We were still able to have the most perfect day, we still celebrated and cherished it. But the winds only picked up after that.
I remember all our prayers during their engagement. The winds seemed to keep raging, no matter what we did. We piled on blankets of truth and we huddled together in community and we cared for them in every way we knew how (usually with bowls of ice cream), but the wind kept blowing. I remember so many conversations I had with Her leading up to the wedding, all the tears and all the prayers from that season. It was so windy, in so many ways. We felt helpless, at times, of even how to comfort them. But then – out of nowhere, seemingly – they started to die down. Suddenly it was time to celebrate and there wasn’t a breeze in sight. Not in the timing we asked for, not in the way we were hoping for, but in God’s infinite knowledge, the winds ceased.
Sometimes the winds rage – but God is in them. Sometimes all you feel is a gentle breeze – but God is in that, too. We asked for Him to show up and oh, did He. We thought He’d make His presence known by calming the winds; instead He was in the winds. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Sometimes God calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.” It reminds me that we serve a God we will never fully understand, but a God who will always be fully present.
There were so many storms leading up to their big day: storms before they even met each other, storms during their first few months of dating, storms in the weeks before their wedding. And, selfishly, I wanted them to stop. I wanted them to end. I prayed for God to stop the winds, stop the rains, stop the madness. I craved peace for my friends, I wished comfort and and ease for them. At times, it felt like all my prayers were in vain.
But now, I go over for dinner, at their new place, with their new (antique) things, where their new family resides. I see the way He passes Her in the kitchen and touches the small of Her back, almost without thinking; I see the light in Her eyes when He’s around. I smile when He teases Her about Her bedtime or Her cooking, but it’s because it’s a teasing saturated in love; I smile when She shows off His latest project, because She’s really showing off Him. I see the deep breaths they’ve taken and the new language they’ve learned. I see, over and over again, how my friends have weathered the storms.
The winds raged and instead of jumping ship, they bunkered down and yelled, “I choose you” over the deafening wind. Over and over again, storm after storm. They fought for each other and they fought with each other and they fought so hard to be their truest, healthiest, whole-est selves.
I once prayed for no winds or for mild winds; I now simply pray for God. Because I have seen Him both in the storm and in the breeze; I have seen Him work in the still and seen Him work in the crazy. When I wanted no winds so two J. Crew employees could peacefully fall for each other, God wanted all. the. winds. so two J. Crew employees could fight for each other.
When I think back to their wedding day, I can say with all honesty that it was perfect. Not perfect in the sense where a single thing didn’t go wrong, but in the sense that the day was perfectly what it was supposed to be. A celebration. A reflection of the two of them. A gathering of a community saying, “YES. Yes. This is good.” A start of a new chapter, while building on all chapters past. A day to forever cherish, even if it was a little windy.
Hey. Sometimes God is in the wind.