SUP Lovin’

I ❤️ SUP!

In the last year, I have discoveredthat one of my Life-givers is the water. (Lifegiver=a unique visual, companion, or activity that God uses to simultaneously energize and relax you, make you feel more like yourself, and draw you back to joy). 

Be it a brook or the seaside, water is something that just fills me up deep in my soul. 

This summer, thanks to a friend who has graciously introduced me to the sport, I have found a new favorite way to explore this passion. 

Today, stand up paddle boarding gave me some quiet space for my Jesus-focused yoga practice, a unique perspective of perseverance (post downdog failure), and much needed mindfulness of the vast beauty of God and his creation, of which I am a part of.
 I also got to float around with my two-year old son, searching for driftwood. To him, it’s a pirate ship, but to me, it’s a simple gift… 

So here is your campfire check-in for the day: What is your life-giver? 

Find me on Instagram @campfiregrace for more life-giving updates!

A Send-Off Prayer for a Friend

This is my friend, Christa.She is about to begin a new chapter in her life. 


Our friendship began a short few months ago. In that time she has become a kindred spirit. 

Christa provided a bright spot in a spiritually lonely time in my journey as a new mom. I met her at MOPS. Her presence quickly helped me see God’s faithfulness to see even the small details of my heart’s cry for friendship. 

Our staccato conversations, interrupted by toddler squeals begging for discipline, have become a collective life-giver to my soul. Her kids befriended my kids, and the rare gift of having children of similar age play together blessed me tremendously. 

She helped me re-organize my perspective of motherhood to be more kind and less self-critical. Her own vulnerability became an unexpected balm to my weary spirit. That, and we both find potatoes hilarious. 

And now she is moving to a new city, 6 hours away. With littles in tow, 6 hours might as well be across the country. I will miss her greatly, but I have great hope for all that God has in store for her family. 

As her new chapter begins, I would like to send her off with a heartfelt prayer…
Lord, 

Thank you for friendship. For creating me with a need and desire for it, and for meeting that need, in part, with such a beautiful soul. 

I praise you for the work you have done in her family, for guiding her husband into godly leadership of their home, to build a life that glorifies you. May he always lead with such Christlike direction. 

Father, give them so much joy in this transition. Provide in my friend that Proverbs 31:18 sense “that her gain is good:” that she is a good mom, regardless of a perfectly executed Pinterest project or an epic parenting fail. She is a good mom because You are a good, good Father, who gave us access to perfection through the cross of your Son. 

Protect her children and her marriage. Bind up any force of evil that might influence their life. I pray against any form of depression, anxiety, addiction, manipulation, selfishness, pride, or bitterness that looks for a way to take root in her heart, or the hearts of her husband and sons. Bring each family member friends, mentors, and other life-givers to help each of them flourish in the way You uniquely designed them to. 

And prepare your church in their new city, Lord, to welcome and embrace this lovely family. Ready the hearts of everyone in their neighborhood and nearby parks to be impacted by the enriching joy that this family offers. 

As I trust my friend into Your hands, I trust my own heart to your plans. Your ability to WOW me never fails. As I wait, help me to be a similar life-giving friend to those around me. 

To exemplify such fierce love and devotion.

To drench my surroundings with such hope that spills over from a truth-soaked soul. 

To abundantly bless in all that I do.

By your will, and through your grace I pray,

Amen 

Do you have a friend who could use a similar prayer? Copy the link to share this post through a personal text or message, or tag a friend in social media comments on Facebook or Instagram. 

3 Tips For Planning a Christ-Centered Bachelorette Party

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I am getting a new sister-in-law in less than 10 days! I am thrilled to celebrate the wedding of Shane’s brother Brandon to his high-school sweetheart Taylor. But I have a strange confession: I might be even more pumped for her bachelorette party!

A bride may have many types of pre-wedding parties to celebrate the coming marriage. However, a bachelorette party is rather unique:

The way I see it, a bridal shower sets a bride up for success in the kitchen; a bachelorette party sets a bride up for success in the bedroom (or kitchen, depending how adventurous she wants to be).

Warning: adult content ahead (it totally glorifies Jesus, but it’s not for little readers).

The bachelorette party is my favorite party, in part because we get to celebrate God’s awesome gift to a married woman: sex. It can be a commemoration of purity (or renewed purity) and a launching point for a holy anticipation of pleasure. That’s right, I said a holy anticipation of romantic and sexual pleasure. I believe it is holy, or set apart, because sex within marriage is God’s idea, His gift. When celebrated and promoted in the beautiful boundary of marriage, it is holy and honorable and right, and oh so good. It is worship.

A vulnerability with one another on the wedding night represents the intimacy that Jesus Christ longs to bring His own bride into. Naked intimacy requires trust, as does our relationship with Christ. (Read Ephesians 5 for more on this comparison).

With that in mind, here are 3 tips to planning a bachelorette party for your friend or sister that will make God and the bride smile from ear to ear.

Tip 1: Check in your Bashful Badge:

An appropriate amount of modesty should be applied to the topic of sex in many situations… except the bachelorette party! Now is the time to talk about God’s plan for marriage and sexuality as good, exciting, and worth celebrating!

I believe it is, in fact, a Biblical idea. The first few verses in Song of Solomon 1 is a conversation between Solomon’s bride and her friends. They celebrate the woman’s love for Solomon:

“We rejoice and delight in you;
    we will praise your love more than wine.” SoS 1:4

In my opinion, they were throwing bachelorette parties long before the 80’s made them popular (and raunchy, and embarrassing, and uncomfortable [Check out this article for more on the history of Bachelor parties]).

So bake that anatomy-shaped cake if you want. Play silly games and blush and giggle. Ask attendees to bring the bride-to-be some fancy lingerie. Just keep in mind tip #2:

Tip 2: Consult the Bride, not Pop Culture.

I highly advise anyone planning a bachelorette party to figure out what the bride finds to be fun. Pop culture has an idea about bachelorette parties that does not glorify Jesus, much less the coming marriage.

Remember, the friends of Solomon’s bride said we will praise your love MORE than wine. Be careful to keep the bride in focus. Before you roll out the shot glasses and male strippers because “it’s how it’s always been done,” take a party-planning-second to use your own creativity and imagination. Ask:

  • What are some Life-Givers for our friend (the bride)?
  • How can we highlight this night as a celebration of womanhood, fierce feminity, and all things _________________[name of bride]?
  • How can we help the bride feel more excited, comfortable, and supported to start (or re-begin) her God-given sexual journey in marriage?

My friends asked those questions and planned the most spectacular event for my bachelorette party. We called it the Mighty Mountain Women Weekend. It featured cabin-camping, hiking, hot-tubbing, movies, lingerie-gifting and of course S’MORES. There was also a late night activity to help me make something special for my husband-to-be. I felt supported and I had a blast! (Thanks Andy)

Tip 3: Feature a Short Bible Study.

Bibles and bachelorette parties may not seem a likely pair, but I guarantee God has awesome things in mind for the bride’s sexuality and the celebration thereof. Why not invite God’s perspective into the party? Ask an older sister, friend, or mentor-of-honor to give a short but sweet commemoration of God’s good gift.

Look to Song of Solomon, Ephesians 5, even Genesis 1 for ideas on how God sees marriage and sexuality. Take time to pray over the bride-to-be regarding this specific area of her marriage.

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I plan to thoroughly enjoy my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. In addition to a thrilling lake day and delectable treats from her chef-cousin, I think the bride is such a worthy reason to celebrate lavishly under the broad smile of our Savior.

Summer Movie Messages: Finding Dory Vs. Me before You  

 

“Becky is eating a cup!”
I am pretty sure this is going to be the running joke for my name for the rest of the summer, thanks to Finding Dory. Truth be told, my husband cracked up every time Marlin or Nemo made a reference to the squawky, wacky-eyed loon.
I think I relate to bird-Becky more than I’d like to admit. I have a similar distractible affinity for popcorn… and s’mores… and, well, food in general. However, I appreciated the role that Disney and Pixar wrote for the awkwardly frazzled bird. She came through for the helpless fish, despite her obvious disabilities, and was a crucial part in bringing about the happy ending.
This is in sharp contrast to the “hero” of Me before You. I have to admit, I wanted to see it. The romantic previews for this film had me, and all my gal-pals, ga-ga to see it. But after reading Plugged In’s perspective of the film, I became sick to my stomach, I decided not to support it in theaters. (Spoiler: the disabled man and romantic interest commits suicide in the end).
This article also addressed the controversial issue of Hollywood’s highlighting assisted suicide for the disabled. Both articles’ opinions on the subject gave voice to my own, which hits somewhat close to home.
Two years ago, I watched as a close family member endured a horrific accident. By God’s grace, he miraculously recovered. And yet, he has had to learn to live with disabilities.
And we thank every day he chooses to say YES to life, to his family, to God’s plan. Because of their situation, he and his wife have shared the gospel many times with others with disabilities and chronic pain. This man has learned to thank God for his accident because it has given him a platform to share HOPE!
What faith! What courage!
This is why, in a world where assisted suicide for the disabled is glorified as heroic, I appreciate the message Pixar promotes: it is the mentally disabled Dory, and even “Becky,” that prove their value by saving the day.
If choice is the word for the day, then may we all choose to see the image bearers of God in each wheelchair, assisted living center, or socially awkward situation, like the ones this Becky gets herself into far too often when cups of popcorn are involved.

How God Calls The EXTROVERT Out Of Her Comfort Zone 

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Dare. That was point number 5 of the sermon my husband preached this past Sunday: 6 Tips for Entering the Promise Land.

““Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” Joshua‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭

As he spoke about living life abundantly (or living in the promised land), Shane confessed his sometimes-struggle with social anxiety.

  As an introvert, for Shane to be strong and courageous means leaving the security of solitude behind. To open up. To construct conversation instead of walls of comfort. It’s a dare.

However, I am the opposite. Talking with people does not require courage for me. Public speaking comes naturally. Being the center of attention, and using it to point people to Jesus, gives me an absolute thrill.
No. My Dare is something different entirely. Becky’s “strong and courageous” is to embrace the mundanity of motherhood.

  • At home.
  • With the same 2 people.
  • Building blocks instead of conversation.
  • Sounding out consonants instead of discussing complex ideas.
  • Introducing myself to Gigi the Giraffe instead of new people in our community.

Being at home is absolutely, without a doubt, NOT my comfort zone. And yet, it is ABSOLUTELY my calling right now.

I have two gorgeous spaghetti-smeared faces that confirm that calling daily.

Mothers Day 2016

I could let my personal bent as a social-butterfly define how I spend my energy. But that would greatly infringe the opportunity to teach, guide, and play with my kids, where my presence and ATTENTION is paramount.

It’s no secret that the vacating of comfort can drain us. Shane sometimes gets depleted when he extroverts with people all day. I too feel I have nothing left after introverting all day.

Here is the beautiful part:

This draining is good. 

“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” ‭‭John‬ ‭3:30‬

When we don our brave and walk boldly into our calling, especially when that calling clashes with our natural tendencies, we can identify with Christ.

This is how God calls an extrovert out of her comfort-zone: He gives her twins to raise. This task forces me to rely on His grace, guidance, and Presence with me every day. It is sanctifying and redemptive and fulfilling and exhausting.

It is also a unique avenue for gospel-sharing, by reflecting Christ both to my family, and this world.

Christ was the first to deny his personal bent. Although inclined to glory, Lordship, and omnipotence…

“He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”‭‭ (Philippians‬ ‭2:7-8‬)

So we could be saved. 

That He would give me a chance to reflect this comfort-zone denial astounds me.

I still make a weekly effort for heart-care. I get out of the house, meet with people, and dig deep into Scripture. That is just wise emotional health attention.

However, it is the out-of-my-comfort-zone routine and solitude that ushers me further into this abundant life with Christ.

And that, ironically, is a comforting thought.

What’s The Point of a Unity Symbol (Plus 8 Sensational Unity Candle-Alternatives with Bible Verses!)

 

unity symbol 2The Unity Ceremony.

This summer, I am getting one more sister-in-law and I have a feeling the wedding is going to be glam-tabulous! Recently, she polled Facebook for alternative ideas for a unity ceremony. Her question reminded me of my own experience.

As I planned my wedding, I questioned everything, particularly the unity ceremony. “It’s just what we do at weddings” was  less than satisfying. I figured a wedding was already a symbol of unity (bride and groom unite as a symbol of Christ’s union with His church). In my quest to be off-beat at the time, I just didn’t see the point. Now, my perspective is a little different. (Keep reading to find out what crazy unity ceremony we actually used in our wedding).

Historical Reasons:

 

I couldn’t find much information on the history of the unity ceremony in marriage. Partaking in the eucharist is a powerful symbol used in the catholic church during weddings. Eating the bread and drinking the wine memorializes Christ’s death to purchase His bride, the church, for Himself.

Sometime in the 80’s, the unity candle became popular in non-catholic weddings. The mothers of both the bride and groom light individual candles, which the couple then use to light a single candle, signifying the unity of two families into one.

Over time, other activities have taken the place of the unity candle, including unity sand, unity chord, and even the unity sandwich!

Of course, a couple has the freedom to trash or cherish the expectation for a unity symbol in their wedding ceremony. A bride who strives for a Christ-centered wedding might like to use a unity symbol to exemplify the following Scriptures:

What the Bible says:

I cannot find any symbols in scripture for marital unity. Again, marriage itself is a symbol of the unity of Christ and the church:

21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wifeas he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:21-33

 

The point is:

 

Not only can a unity symbol be a lasting reminder of your own covenant/commitment to one another; it can also be a symbol of Christ’s love for the world, His covenant to those who accept Him as Savior. Your wedding ceremony is a unique opportunity to share this truth with people in your sphere of influence.

With that in mind, here are a few unique, meaningful activities that symbolize such commitment and unity.

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1. Signing a New Bible Together: My friends signed a beautiful Bible during their wedding ceremony, right after sharing communion together. This became their family Bible, a treasure they plan to share with their children someday as they read family devotions together.

As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. Luke 6:47-48

Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32

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2. Flower Arranging: When my friend asked me to write her unity ceremony, I was skeptical of her idea to arrange flowers in a vase. It sounded anticlimactic, but it was actually quite beautiful! The officiant cited this verse and reminded the couple of God’s provision for every season of their marriage.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!… But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:27-28, 31

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3. Foot Washing: Though foot washing doesn’t tangibly represent unity, it is the most convincing display of humility and servanthood necessary for a marriage that reflects Christ. My sister, Rachel, and her husband washed each other’s feet in a very moving ceremony that would mean more than they ever could have dreamed. Several years, and 2 kids later, her husband would survive a devastating accident and need Rachel’s gentle care and patience for the long road of recovery. She has stood faithfully, and humbly, by his side through it all.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him…

 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:3-5, 12-17

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4. Unity Sand: My sister-in-law, Amber, had a gorgeous unity sand ceremony. The couple placed a rock at the bottom of the vase to represent God, the rock on which their marriage would stand. Their ceremony notes went something like this:

We start with an empty vase. Just as this couple has decided to enter into marriage with no expectations, allowing God to shape and fill each moment according to his will.

Jesus said in Luke 6 that “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

(Places a rock in the bottom of the vase). This stone represents how Will and Amber plan to build their marriage with Jesus as the foundation, keeping their faith and commitment in God at the center of their life together.

(After mixing the sand) God looks on this day with precious thoughts; as you symbolize your commitment through these grains of sand, remember the words of David:  “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”  Psalm 139:17-18

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5. Unity Chord: The unity chord is a strategic symbol for the Christ Centered wedding. Three chords, ribbons, or ropes, are tied or braided representing Holy Spirit, Husband, and Wife:

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12

Courtesy of http://intimateportraitsllc.com
Courtesy of http://intimateportraitsllc.com

6. Splatter Paint: I would LOVE to see this one at a wedding someday. Both families can contribute a color, or color family, to a white canvas. You could add a color to represent the Holy Spirit’s role in your marriage. Get the whole family, wedding party, or entire crowd of guests involved. Use balloons filled with paint, or brushes, to splatter paint that intermingles, much like love over time. (This would be a super fun rehearsal dinner activity; display the art at the wedding after a night of drying!)

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones  and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’  for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 3:23-25

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7. Love Lock: Give your wedding a Parisian flair with this love lock symbol. Spruce up a simple padlock with paint, a quote or verse, or your initials. Lock it around something meaningful, like a chunk of chain-link fence (frame it for quirky wall art), a metal wall hanging or frame (from Hobby Lobby?), or even a love-letter box. The lock symbolizes the seal, or secure guarantee of commitment and love that Christ gives us through the cross.

Place me like a seal over your heart,
    like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
    its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
    like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
    rivers cannot sweep it away. Song of Songs 8:6-7

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14

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8. Worship Songs: Shane and I included a worship session in our reception. Although worship is not just an act of singing songs, I truly believe music has the ability to unite our hearts and stir our affections for God.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17

 

 

Bonus. Unity S’more: Since I promised, I will share that Shane and I had a unity S’MORE at our wedding. It was delicious, messy, and the perfect representation of our life together. Our officiant even said “the graham cracker represents God holding all things together.” Classic.

smores
Courtesy of Shane and Becky’s Wedding 2010

Campfire Check In:

What Unity Symbol will you use (or did you use) at your wedding?

If any readers would like to send me PICTURES of one of these 8 unity ceremonies, with your permission (or your photographer’s!) I would be honored to feature them in this article!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash unless otherwise noted.

Mimicking Rhythms

Wham! A guttural wail rose from my sons throat as he expressed his pain and frustration.

This is not the first time he has whacked his big toddler head into a dresser. Which is probably why he was more angry than hurt. Putting on pants like a big kid is hard.

I scooped him up into my arms, holding the full weight of his body, and his emotions, against mine. He pressed in closer for comfort and assurance. I patted his back and whispered in his ear.

Then he did something that surprised me. He patted my back in return.

This unexpected, sweet moment has stuck with me. His gentle mimicking of my motions. His chubby hand finding rhythm against my shoulder blade. His sobs quieting as his body relaxed.

In the intensity of my own hurt or frustration, Jesus does the same for me. He scoops me up in his abounding grace. He presses a rhythm of truth to my heart:

You are loved, unconditionally. (Psalm 86:15)

I cherish you. (Zephaniah 3:17)

I won’t let you go. (John 10:29)

This too shall pass. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

You will get through this, whole and victorious.  (Romans 8:37-39)

I understand what you are going through. (Hebrews 4:15)

I want to respond like my son, leaning fully into Jesus’ care, anchoring myself there when the tides of my emotions overwhelm me.

mimicking rhythms

I want to mimic the rhythm of truth which Jesus taps like morse-code onto my heart. I want to tap-tap-tap that same truth over my circumstance, my attitude, my temptation, my fears, my doubts. I want to share it with others who, like me, keep banging our heads against our proverbial dressers.

We need this precious memory to bring us heavenly perspective.

Perhaps, like my son, we will then have the courage and strength to put on our big kid pants again. God doesn’t promise it to be easy, but He does promise to be with us, every step of the way.

The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

What’s the Point of Bridesmaids?

bridesmaids

This Spring, I am continuing my Christ-Centered Wedding series by exposing long-held traditions of the modern wedding (of the western culture).

I hope to cover everything from the unity symbol to the wedding dress. I invite all brides aiming to be Christ-centered in their wedding planning to join me in this pursuit of “What’s the Point?”

Together, we will review the history and current meaning behind each aspect of a wedding. More importantly, we will discover how God’s Word redefines each tradition, expectation, and this-is-how-it’s-always-been-done.

Today, we will start with …

The Bridesmaids.

 

Even before you got engaged, you probably already picked out which friends and family members will be standing with you as you say “I do.” Still, this process probably involved a bit of stress. In my opinion, these are the top 5 issues with picking a bridesmaid:

  1. Anna asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, should I ask her for mine?
  2. I have 3 sisters, 3 soon-to-be sisters-in-law, 2 best friends, and only 4 bridesmaids spots!
  3. All of my friends are already married. Can I have 4 brides-matrons?
  4. I promised my best-friend in high-school that she would be my maid-of-honor, but we really aren’t close anymore!
  5. Marriage isn’t even on the radar for most of my friends; they kind of resent me for being the first one to get married. And my sisters are too young to plan parties and help me pick out honeymoon stuff.

For many brides, narrowing down (or broadening) the scope of ladies to be your bridesmaids is intimidating. Let’s rewind and ask the question of the day:

What’s the Point?

There are 2 historical accounts for bridesmaids that I have found particularly fascinating:

In the early Roman culture, a bride would choose women to accompany her on the journey to her future-husband’s home. These women acted as soldiers and protectors, keeping the bride (and the dowry her father sent with her), safe from harm on the road.

Later, brides began to choose women to stand with them at the altar to fool any supposed evil spirits from attacking the bride. All the women would wear the same dress to add to the confusion. The same would go for the groomsmen. (Source)

Currently, a bride and groom typically build their wedding party to obtain witnesses, recruit party planners, honor individuals, and add to the aesthetics of the ceremony. That and, “it’s what has always been done.”

Of course, bridesmaids can honor your wedding in all of these points. However, more importantly, the Christ-centered bride might like to redefine the tradition to include a deeper meaning.

What the Bible says:

Song of Solomon, the great love-story of the Bible, reminds us that girlfriends are very much a part of a woman’s marriage and intimacy:

The bride’s friends make several vocal appearances. They express their celebration of the bride and her marriage. (SOS 1:4) These women also offer support and accountability for her (SOS 2:15). They even show praise and encouragement to the groom (SOS 3:6-10)

Later, these women encourage the bride to be intimate with her husband (SOS 5:1, 9), and make a point to reunite the couple after they are separated (SOS 6:1).

Titus 2 emphasizes the importance of having mentor-women in our lives:

These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. (Titus 2:4-5)

Also, Proverbs 12:26 tells us that “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.”

The point is:

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On your wedding day, you are making the one of the greatest decisions in your life (second only to your decision to follow Christ). The people you ask to stand up with you as you make that decision should be those who are willing to hold you accountable to it. Each women should stand with you not as a wedding decoration, but as a trustworthy pillar to hold you to your vows.

Instead of the above 5 frustrations, I encourage you to ask these questions as you choose your bridesmaids:

  1. Who is my accountability partner?

  2. Who is willing to help me process through, celebrate, and be Godly about the coming changes in my life?

  3. Who is a good example to me?

  4. Who is bold enough tell me that I need to repent and seek forgiveness?

  5. Who wont stop praying for my marriage, even 50 years down the road?

As a former bridesmaid for 6 different weddings, I have made a point to hold each bride accountable to her vows. I pray for their marriages regularly, and check in to see how things are going. I am probably a pesky bridesmaid, but I wont relent. Unfortunately, I have already seen 2 of these marriages dissipate. It breaks my heart, but strengthens my resolve to be vigilant in my role for the other 4 brides. (And I invite all 6 of my AMAZING bridesmaids to do the same for me).

This can actually be a very liberating process! It removes the cultural weight of “bridesmaid duties” and replaces it with a much more important, but lighter, responsibility. You don’t have to ask only women who are your age, and you are excused from having to match numbers of bridesmaids to groomsmen. (If you are OCD, disregard the last statement).

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My bestie, Andy, and I at my wedding, 2010. This picture represents 5+ years of awkward pictures.

You no longer have to appease everyone! A Christ-centered bride has 2 objectives:

  1. Honor God. 
  2. Honor your marriage. 

Then honor everyone else.

This can be crucial in many family circles. The role of bridesmaid can be a huge honor, even when a friend and family member isn’t up for the spiritual or marital accountability you need.

My suggestion?

Find that person that will serve you and your marriage in that important capacity. Name her your Maid/Matron of honor. Or give her a similar title, like “Mentor of honor.” If anything, it will get people asking questions about this new role in the wedding party, which will allow you to share your convictions of having a Biblical accountability. Who knows, maybe it will open the door to share the gospel with your wedding planner or guests!

After you have chosen this woman, fill the other spots with individuals you wish to honor as well. Spread out the “duties” for each bridesmaid (hosting showers, helping pick out the dress, etc.), but also feel free to delegate these roles to non-bridesmaids.

You may not want a cavalry of iron-clad ladies, marching at your side with protective gear; but you may want to consider an army of women, clothed in the armor of God, ready to do battle for your covenant marriage at the slightest attack.

Who will you choose for this task? More importantly, are they really up for it?

Campfire Check In:

What topic would you like to hear about for “What’s the Point?” in this wedding series? Comment below or send me a message and I will do my best to address it!

Coming soon: “What’s the Point of a Unity Ceremony? (And Some Really Fun Ideas)”

Transformation Tuesday: How Does Christ’s Resurrection Impact You?

 40 Days.

That’s how long Jesus walked this earth after he rose from the grave.

“After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭

The disciples had 40 days to sit at his feet.

40 days to soak up the new perspective of “Kingdom” His resurrected body was providing.

40 days to get to know their Friend, Brother, Teacher, face to face and step by step.

Then Jesus ascended, fulfilling His promise to send the Holy Spirit, so that EVERYONE who accepts Christ as Savior, can know Him intimately. (See Acts 3:4-5, 8; also John 16:7-17)

I am grateful for the Holy Spirit, who makes it possible for me to also intimately know Jesus. So I have embarked on my own journey of 40 days, post-Easter, to investigate and draw close to our resurrected Savior.

Sunday marked the end of my 40 day fast, exploring His sacrifice. I think these next 40 days of celebrating Him will help me linger in the promise of new life.

Every day, I will explore ONE thing Jesus’ resurrection provides for my life. Today, it is…

A Fresh Start!

hair cutLike a new hair cut, the resurrection completes its work in my soul making me feel lighter, fresher, and at ease.

When I donated my hair a few weeks ago, my neck muscles started to spasm from the relief of weight lifted. I think we all need to take a moment to let the full weightlessness of Jesus rising from the grave sink in to (or rather, lift off of!) our souls.

How burden-less we should become when we trust Jesus. Not just because He crucified the weight of our sin to the cross, and buried it in the grave, but because He left it there!

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah. Psalm 68:19

How at ease our hearts can be in light of Jesus’ power. If he can rise from the dead, He can surely carry our anxieties if we but cast them onto Him.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:25‬ ‭

Activity:

Today, freshen up your appearance as a tangible reminder of the fresh start we received at Easter. If you don’t want to brave a hair cut, try a new nail polish color or a Spring-time blouse. Freshen up your home with a little Spring Cleaning in honor of the Fresh Start.

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I chose to give someone else a fresh start too, by donating my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Another way to give back through your fresh start is to shop home and fashion goods at Bought Beautifully, a site dedicated to collaborating gorgeous items from organizations and companies around the world, giving jobs to keep men and women and children out of poverty and slavery.

He is Risen! Be refreshed.

Campfire Check In:

What is one thing Christ’s resurrection does for you? 

Let Easter linger 

  After Easter, we tend to pack away the promises of Lent. We punch the accelerator on our activity-driven lifestyle again. We rush past worship and rest in favor of Spring cleaning and a last ditch effort to get a beach body. 

I am suggesting we let Easter linger for a while. 

Let relief from sin and darkness linger on our souls. 

Let the celebration of Christ is Risen hover in our homes. 

Allow the memory of his sacrifice permeate each meal, as a type of communion. 

Taste the sweetness of Gods acceptance, and savor the flavor of new life! 

Before we take on a spring cleaning or a spring diet or a spring project, let us linger in the true meaning of Spring: new life, given not earned, fully in our grasp. 

Let Easter Linger.