Good Shepherd may I sing your praise.

34289_408142328268_7795625_nIt was a beautiful South Carolina day. Hot. But beautiful. By 7:00 it had finally cooled off, though. Good. I didn’t want to be sweating through the ceremony. I stood hidden from view at the top of a flight of stairs. The music was playing, the bridesmaids were taking their turns. And then it was just me. I took a deep breath, and  then the sky captured my attention. Gorgeous rays of sunlight burst through the clouds casting their hues of pink, orange, and yellow. Joy was overflowing! I couldn’t see him, but I knew he was down there waiting for me.  The song began to reach its crescendo.

“You spread a table in my sight,
Your saving grace bestowing;
And O what joy and true delight
From your pure chalice flowing!

And so through all the length of days
Your goodness fails me never:
Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise
Within your house forever.”

As I stepped around the corner, people began to stand, every eye on me. But I saw only one face. His. My thought in that moment- -“Lord I praise you for this tremendous gift. Good shepherd let this marriage be yours. Let this life be yours.”

I met my dad at the bottom of the stairs. As we came down the aisle, my groom had tears in his eyes, and he never stopped looking at me. The significance was not lost. There is a better groom coming. Jon was just a reflection.

Four years ago I married my best friend.

the man who made me laugh 1000 ways every day.
who persisted till he got what he wanted.
who who never stopped pursuing me.
who mirrored the extravagant love of Jesus toward me.
who taught me to understand that God’s love was far more lavish than his own.
who was quick to forgive and to seek forgiveness.
who felt that the price at a gas pump should always end in a 5 or a 0.
who reminded me to not take life so seriously.
who taught me how to argue without shouting.
who danced to “Baby Baby” in the middle of Walmart.
who could not handle dishes left in the sink or clothes on the bedroom floor.
who gave me goofy nicknames. (Luvapotamas wotamas was his recent favorite).
who had a “no writing in books” ban.
who made me mad and frustrated sometimes.
who said every night, “Quick lovee! Huddle for warmth!” as he circled me in his arms.
who lived life with the passion of 20 people.
who didn’t understand the meaning of acquaintance. You just met. You didn’t know it yet, but you were his new best friend.
who told me he loved me 1000 blue m&ms.
who shared my delight in a new kid’s book (not because he cared about kids books)
who had to watch every movie preview and all the credits till the very end.
who loved Jesus more than anything in the world.
with whom time was cut short.

I had forgotten about the middle verse of our wedding song.

“In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With you, dear Lord, beside me;
Your rod and staff my comfort still,
Your cross before to guide me.”

Such words fall on deaf ears amid the rapture of a wedding day.

But O how true they are. Cherish your loved ones, my friends. Let their imperfections become endearments. Life is fleeting. But in joy and in sorrow, He is still beside. His comfort is tangible. The way of cross is before the way of the crown.

Yet don’t forget the end refrain.

“Your goodness fails me never! Good Shepherd may I sing your praise within your house forever!” 

Your saving grace bestowing. Your goodness fails me never. The best groom is coming. Amen.

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