In Lifestyle, Marriage & Love on
6 December, 2014

The Best Kind of Gift

Matt and Jennifer-51

“Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalms 28:6-7

Each year when the Christmas season draws near, I can’t help but stop and think of all that God has done in my life over the course of the year. Today, I am overwhelmed and overjoyed with the gift of God’s faithfulness in 2014.

When this year started, I was anxious and overwhelmed with life. I came out of 2013 carrying the burden of a tough work situation, loved ones with health problems and a crippling sense of entitlement that my life shouldn’t be so stressful. I felt like I just needed a break.

But in the midst of it all, God gave me a gift. It was something I hadn’t been expecting nor even planning. It was a long-time desire of my heart that would help sanctify me and draw me closer to the Lord. It would teach me stop and give thanks despite whatever is going on in life.

That gift was my husband-to-be, Matt.

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Matt and I met at my new church in July 2013. He started pursuing me in October 2013 when plans with our group of friends got cancelled, and he asked me if I wanted to get coffee with him. In the weeks following, we spent a lot of time hanging out together in a group setting until I finally said yes to a date.

In the beginning, I admit that I was a little scared. Was I ready to give my emotions away again? Would he take care of my heart and be faithful to me? There was no knowing for sure. But there was trusting in God and there was taking a risk.

So in January 2014, Matt asked me to be his girlfriend and showed me how being pursued by a Godly man is supposed to feel. There were many times when his actions brought me to joyful tears — such as having orchids delivered to my doorstep for my birthday and agreeing to not kiss me until if and when we would get engaged — and he didn’t even know it. It didn’t take long for my fears to subside.

The eight months that followed proved to me that I could marry this man. He wasn’t a perfect boyfriend (and I wasn’t a perfect girlfriend), but he was just right for me. What I had known in the past was selfishness, greediness, unfaithfulness and many tears. But Matt was selfless, giving, faithful and such a joy to my heart.

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One memory of our relationship that I’ll never forget is when I shared my past with Matt. I did this early on, and I was sure to explain to him that it was not his burden to heal my wounds. God had done that and still does every day. Yet he replied, “I know it’s not my burden to fix what was broken, but knowing your past motivates me to treat you even more like the princess you are.”

And he did just that. Then, on September 27, 2014, he asked me to be his forever. I said yes, and he placed the most beautiful diamond ring on my finger.

Matt and Jennifer-33

 

And now that we are in the full swing of wedding planning, it’s a great time to take a break from the busy-ness and remind myself of how blessed I am to have this gift this Christmas and to tell others all about it. More than displaying God’s faithfulness in my own life, this gift of mine is a reflection of Christ’s faithfulness to his bride, the church. You see, in May 2015, when Matt and I say, “I Do,” we want to our commitment to point to Christ.

In A Christ-Centered Wedding, Catherine Strode Parks and Linda Strode say it perfectly:

“A wedding is a covenant ceremony in which two people are made one in Christ, not because they sign a marriage certificate and the state recognizes their marriage. Rather, they are made one because they have covenanted before God to be faithful to one another, and He has made them one. This is a commitment they make not just to one another, but to the Creator of marriage.

In addition to setting a foundation for the bride and groom, a wedding is the perfect opportunity to display the glory of Christ for those in attendance to see…How often do you have a captive audience to whom you can preach the gracious, redeeming work of Christ on the cross? And what a beautiful way to do it–with a wedding depicting Christ’s love for His bride.”

No matter what you’ve had to face this past year, I encourage you to take a moment and thank God for all the blessings he has given you. If nothing else, thank him for sending his son to be born of man so that we could have the chance to live with him forever. I want that to be not only the focus of our wedding, but also the focus of my whole life.

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Matt and Jennifer-51

 

Jen

{Photos by the talented Leygh Joshua Allison}

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3 Comments

  • brianwilliamsen

    So happy for you! This about sums up my year, coming off of a most difficult previous year as well. God is good and His timing is PERFECT! Blessings to both of you. Love to see the joy in people who are rewarded for their faithfulness to Him!

    10 December, 2014 at 5:11 pm Reply
  • debi

    Congratulations, Jennifer! I couldn’t be more thrilled for you and Matt as you journey down this new phase of life. Blessings and prayers for you both! Merry Christmas!!!

    14 December, 2014 at 2:08 pm Reply
  • james Vance

    What a great testimony to the glory of God and what He can do if we trust Him and follow Him. Congratulations on your new life and walk together. May it grow in the fullness of His love and glorify Him all yor days.

    20 January, 2015 at 7:19 am Reply
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