this mystery is profound

So for years I’ve heard people say this thing about marriage that goes something like “nothing will humble you quicker than marriage.”  And for years I have thought that was a really cool aspect of marriage, but one that probably would not apply to me.  Not that I already thought I was humble enough; I just thought I wouldn’t fail often enough for it to really make a difference.  In fact, as my own wedding date approached and I began to hear this sentiment more and more, I would often think “oh, that will be really good for Brandon.”  Honestly!  I don’t know who I was kidding with this arrogant, absurd, prideful, drastically flawed thinking.  But boy was I wrong. Continue reading

why we’re actually gathered here today

For those of you who don’t know, I am getting married on Saturday.
What an exciting time!
Through the past year of planning and preparation, I have learned so much.  About myself.  About my future husband.  About the Lord.  But sadly, what I’ve probably learned the MOST about is planning a wedding.
I can tell you how much it costs to rent out almost every venue in the greater Austin area.  I know which ones require you to use their caterer and which ones allow you to use your own.  I know noise ordinances and fire codes.  I know the prices of things like chair rentals, photographers, and hair stylists.  I know the breakdown of every Men’s Wearhouse tux, and that for all their monopolizing they still don’t carry David’s Bridal’s “petal” pink.  If you need some useless wedding knowledge, I’m your girl.
I know all of this because there is this strange phenomenon that occurs in our country when a woman gets an engagement ring.  She is all at once stripped away from the normal rhythms of life and thrown head first into the world of weddings.
This alternate reality is one in which your stream of consciousness is filled with things like colors and programs and flowers and ribbons.  “Big” decisions are made about dresses and food and invitations, and you go to sleep at night feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and accomplished.  It’s a land of self-obsession and entitlement; it’s designed to shift reality into this idea that your entire marriage, nay, your entire existence, hinges upon this one day.  It’s YOUR day.  YOUR spotlight.  YOUR chance to shine.  After all, YOU deserve it!!
….proof of a broken world under the influence of a clever and scheming enemy. Continue reading

best&worst

A few weeks ago I was serving at a holiday dinner for our church staff.  The dinner was being held at my pastor/future uncle’s home and toward the end of the evening he gathered everyone together to reflect upon the previous twelve months as well as to look ahead to the coming year.  This is a pretty common activity during this time of year, and at first I thought very little of it.  I took a seat in the back and prepared myself to listen to what these men and women of the Lord were going to share.  Mark opened the floor up by asking a simple question: In what ways have you seen God move in our church this past year?  With this one sentence, I felt tears flood my eyes and out of nowhere I was struggling to hold it together.  Because the ways that I saw God move in our church this past year have been too great to number, because the ways in which God moved in my life this past year have been too great to number, and because the Holy Spirit just decided this would be a great time to totally wreck me out…. I was completely speechless for the next half hour or so as I quietly remembered.  
To tell you what God has done in my life this past year will require me to tell you what he did in my life the year before that.  This is my best story, and this is my worst story; and this is not my story at all.