Wonderfully Perfect and Perfectly Wonderful

 photo credit: Malorie Ann Settles

photo credit: Malorie Ann Settles

Every day of my life I know that God loves me.

Every day of my life I know that God is with me.

Every day of my life I know that God is working behind to scenes to achieve His greatest good in me and through me.

However, there are just some days of life when the curtain of heaven is gently pulled back and the blessings pour forth into my ordinary life.

Saturday, July 11, 2015, was such a day for me.

It was a wedding of heavenly proportions.

Carolyn Joy McLeod married Christopher Joel Barker.

As we planned this magnificent and miraculous event, I had often said to Joy, “Now Joy … our goal for your wedding is not “perfect”.  Our goal is “wonderful” … and “wonderful” is infinitely better than “perfect”!”

And so we planned … and we dreamed … and we prayed.  We prayed that Joy’s wedding would be everything that she had ever wanted since she was a tiny girl.

We prayed that the sun would shine for the outdoor reception and that the loaves and fishes that we were able to supply would multiply for the hungry crowd.

We prayed for no stress and for abundant peace.

We prayed that all 10 of the bridesmaids’ dresses would arrive on time and that all 9 of the children in the wedding would cheerfully cooperate.

We prayed that God would show up just like He did in Cana of Galilee.  I have always loved the fact that Jesus did His very first miracle at a wedding.

Heaven’s power is necessary at weddings!   Jesus loves to show up and show off at weddings!  Jesus celebrates the eternal significance of a grand love story … the miracle of two becoming one … and the indescribable delight that occurs when the water of our ordinary lives is turned into rich and savory wine.

Marriage has always been God’s idea … and He has the very best ideas of all!

The day of Joy’s wedding dawned sunny and glorious.  Our home was filled with the laughter of friends and with the awe that God was present.  As the bride and bridesmaids fixed their hair … perfected their make-up … and put on their wedding attire … they worshipped and prayed. 

There was no stress.  There was only joy and anticipation.

Tears were in abundance.  Every time I looked at my daughter, the beautiful bride, I cried.

Joy cried. 

Her dad cried. 

Her sisters-in-law couldn’t stop the tears.

Joni, Joy’s little sister and the wedding planner extraordinaire, cried.

All of our tears were happy tears.  Ecstatic tears.  Grateful tears.

I knew how the bride’s mother felt at Cana of Galilee when Jesus arrived.  That historical mother of the bride was relieved … she was grateful … she was filled with the joy of His presence.

Oh!  How I wish this could be a musical blog!  I wish that you all could hear the strains of the theme from “Anne of Greene Gables” that was played as all ten of the bridesmaids and as the 9 precious children walked down the aisle!

I wish that you would hear the crowd’s response to the children … one baby in his mama’s arms … one baby being pulled in a garden wagon by her big sister … 3 precious flower girls spreading glitter-sprinkled rose petals … and 3 lively, impish little boys who each carried a separate sign:



The Bride.

And then the bride came.

Her dad walked her down the aisle to the worship song, “Your Love Is Strong”, that was played by two of her brothers, Jordan and Christopher.

Joy’s oldest brother, Matt, welcomed friends and family from afar and then asked that infamous and bittersweet question, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

“The most blessed parents in the world, her mother and I,” was his genuine and emotional response.

Joy was radiant. 

She glowed. 

She was all lit up inside.

As the handsome groom began his vows, he crumbled.  He absolutely wept as he tried to get out the words, “Joy-Belle, I wanted it to be you.  I wanted it to be you so badly.”

When Joy and Chris took communion, the entire church filled with nearly 300 guests worshipped the Lord. 

“Ever Be”

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold

Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old

Your love is enduring through the winter rain

And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful you will be

You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan: Your kindness makes us whole

You shoulder our weakness: And Your strength becomes our own

You’re making me like you, Clothing me in white

Bringing beauty from ashes: For You will have Your bride

Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame

And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

The bride and the groom lifted their hands in worship to their Savior … to their Creator … to the One Who turns water into wine.

And then … the party began!  We celebrated thoroughly … we celebrated enthusiastically … and we celebrated with great joy!

Friends gathered from New York, New Jersey and Ohio.

Childhood companions arrived from North Carolina.

College friends came from Oklahoma.

Family came from Illinois, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Texas, Missouri and Arkansas.

 photo credit:  Christy Christopher

photo credit:  Christy Christopher

We danced … we laughed … we remembered … we rejoiced … we blessed … we ate … we sang … we cheered!

The moment came too quickly when my little girl changed out of her wedding dress and was about to leave with the man of her dreams into their happily ever after.

 photo credit:  Kelly Jankowski

photo credit:  Kelly Jankowski

We had just a few private minutes together in my bedroom as I unbuttoned her wedding gown and helped her slip into her going away dress. 

And what did we do?!

We cried. 

My first daughter, the little girl who had danced like a princess and played the piano for hours on end, was a wife.  

Neither of us could speak.  But it was time to let her go.  We wiped away mascara … took a deep breath … and smiled.

“I love you so much, Mom,” were her tearful and parting words.

“I love you, too, honey.  Have a great honeymoon,” was my simple yet heartfelt response.

As the young couple drove away to an explosion of sparklers and cheers, I whispered into the summer night air,

“Joy!  I was wrong.  Your wedding was absolutely perfect.  And it was wonderful.  It was wonderfully perfect … and perfectly wonderful!”

 photo credit:  Daniel Boyce

photo credit:  Daniel Boyce

I would love to hear about the day or days in your life when you experienced the goodness and love of God in grand proportions!  When did God pull back the curtain of eternity and let His blessings pour forth on you?