Let's be honest...who doesn't love a wedding?

Some cynics out there might have protests to the enjoyment of this ceremony due to the fact that they have to get dressed up, don't have a date, or it makes them realize that they are yet to be married, but all of those reasons aside, I still find it hard to believe that everyone doesn't have at least one part of a wedding that they love.  Whether it is catching up with old friends, enjoying some tasty cake, or breaking it down to "Shout" everyone has some part of the wedding that warms their hearts.

To me, it is knowing now what I only hoped for on my wedding day.  I hoped that my life with Raleigh would grow with love each and every day.  Our love started out so small, so innocent, so youthful.  In college, it grew to trust and understanding.  With that foundation established came commitment and faith in believing that what we shared was real.  We grew to believe that our love could last for a lifetime and we wanted to share our lives together.  Our wedding day was a day filled with joy and hope for the future.  We were ready to commit our lives to one another because we knew that two were better than one. 

This past Saturday, we attended a wedding in Birmingham of two friends that were in architecture school with Raleigh.  As the doors opened, I couldn't help but smile as I saw the radiant bride walking down the aisle. The whole wedding was really beautiful and very stylish  but my favorite part of it was the scripture reading.  They picked out scripture from 1 John 4: 7-12 and it just really touched my heart.  It reads:

Dear friends,
Let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

As I sat in my pew seat listening to those words, I thought about how honest and true that statement of faith was in my life - in our lives.  It makes love sound so simple yet somehow we end up making it such a difficult thing.  If we simply believe that God is love and that we should love one another then emotions of conflict, anger, hurt, and fear would come at a much slower pace.  When these feelings wound our souls, it is easy for love not to last.  But when we realize that our love is not about us, it is about God's love for us, we learn that we always have his love and it never goes away.  This is how a marriage is built.  This is how it stays together.

Friends, there are times when I really don't like my husband.  My tongue becomes loose and my patience is quick and soon enough hurtful words slip out of my mouth.  We can easily be so mean to one another and cause pain to invade our souls.  When this happens, we are encompassed with loneliness and feel like we aren't loved by anyone.  But if we realize that we have God's love then we are living in Him, not in our worldly selves.  His love strips away pain, his love heals all wounds, and his love is what is real.  When we have his love in our marriages, the covenant that we make on our wedding day will stay bound for a lifetime.  Our days become filled with simple acts of love.  We still falter and stumble but we learn to forgive and accept the faults in our partners because we aren't perfect.  God allowed us to be human when he sacrificed his son for us on the cross.

I love the part at the end, "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."   God, our wonderful Creator, does so much for us that we don't even realize.  His love for us is so deep and pure that we can't even fully comprehend him until we meet in heaven.  I might not physically see God, but I intimately feel God every day.  I feel God because I am loved and I love others.  God is my husband kissing me goodnight.  God is my daughters kicking me while I write.  God is my mom who holds my hand when I am scared.  God is love and these people are examples of Him in my life.  My life is complete simply for the fact that I have found His love.  I don't have to search for perfection or pass a great test, I am simply "loved because he first loved us."

Brothers and sisters, we have to live our lives according to this simple truth.  We have to believe that we are capable of receiving love and even more so willing to give love.  In order for us to believe these things, we have to first love and accept ourselves. We are worthy to love because God loves us.  When this fact is realized, we recognize the truth...the uncontainable truth that God is love and it is our mission to share his love with others.  When this happens, we can't help but love our lives because our hearts are bursting with his love for us. 

It is that simple.

"God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)"

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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