We've moved, changed jobs, had babies, moved again, started ministries, mourned, rejoiced, and felt the grace and mercy of the Lord wash over us again and again as we fumble our way through together.
I remember that day in April like it was yesterday. Worrying about flowers and details, saying no to the pink flamingos they wanted to display, and yes to the harpist. Traveling with no curling iron or nail polish, my brother's white uniform, tres leches cake, and a long walk down the aisle with my dad.
I can smell the salt in the air still.
This past weekend, we had the joy of celebrating the wedding of the beautiful sister of one of my closest friends. It, too, was small and intimate and full of family. One of the most beautiful weddings I've seen. As we all recapped at the reception, there are a few things us old married ladies decided we want our own kids, and our neighborhood kids, to know - the rest is just frosting.
1. The pastor was a long-time friend and lover of Jesus and brought the gospel to the forefront. Anyone can tell you you're compatible, but a man of God will teach you the truth - that marriage is a 'long business' and dying to self is a daily exercise. Even at the alter, it needs to be said.
2. Huge weddings are fun parties but small, intimate ones are truly celebrations. We want to see you smile at one another while somebody sings. We want to cheer, and clap, and high-five when they announce you as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time. We want to hear your nephews whisper, "Is it almost over already"? and "Did somebody toot"? and "She's my Aunt"!
3. The music is pretty important. More than the food or even the cake - well, barely more than the cake. Those people who have prayed for you, walked with you through the good, the bad, and the ugly, want to dance with you and real, real good music makes everyone feel like they've got sweet moves. Even when they don't. And by they, I mean me.
4. Even with the very best planning, notebooks, coordinators, and Pinterest boards, the wedding really is just a means to an end. It's the marriage that's the culmination and, as hard as it is to believe at the time, there are memories far greater yet to come.
5. Dance with your brothers and sisters like when you were little. Relish in these moments together. Celebrate one another for things that are hard-fought and hard-won.
6. Know that not everyone who will be at your wedding will be in your marriage. It's part of growing in new directions. The Lord brings relationships for different seasons and as he takes away some, he replaces with exactly who you need.
7. Marry someone who loves Jesus more than you.
That last one really should be first, and could be only. Eighteen years ago, Trey and I couldn't have imagined that one day, we would dream of four weddings, or five, or six. On top of that, we'll prayerfully celebrate marriages of lots our kids in West Dallas as our boys become men, and husbands, and fathers and our girls become women, and wives, and mothers. Oh, what glorious days those will be. And we'll dance.