Did you know that one of the facets of grace is joy? I didn’t. This year I prayed I would understand grace – in all of its forms and this weekend I discovered a side to grace I never would have imagined.
One of my dearest friends said “I do” this weekend. The change to our friendship was hard for me as we were nearly inseparable for 3 years. This wedding thing was supposed to be one more thing we did together. Not one before the other. Loneliness has a new meaning for me, but so has grace!
I prayed God would change my heart – I’ve learned to weep with those who weep – now to learn to truly rejoice with those who rejoice. No matter the cost. She a is friend worth fighting for. Worth finding new and different ways for our friendship to flex and change as her groom rightfully took the center stage in her life and I do -si-do(ed) to the side.
It’s not been easy nor will it be – but it has been worth it. A word to my single friends – fight to grow with your married friends. It takes work but the friendship can survive the change if you are willing to let it change. Accept and embrace it for what it can be. And it takes grace. Lots of grace!
Grace is learning to let go of expectations while still hoping and loving. Being fully engaged as much as possible in their lives while still releasing them to grow and change as they need to – are called to! Engagement and marriage is the season as a friend when we need to love more. Not less. In the hurt that comes with change, we want to love less, not more. Love isn’t 50/50 or even 100/100. It’s 100 period. Emotions run high, but they level out. And grace is there for the asking and the taking.
Grace and a self focus can never co exist. When we let go, God pours the grace on us! Grace is the promise of humility. It says Lord I can’t do this, help me love and stretch. Pride says I’m hurt and I’m right. When we focus on us, we miss the secondary blessing of participating in their joy. Self focus isolates ourselves – and we DO loose out.
I’m learning to marinate in grace! And as I’ve walked in grace it’s opened my eyes to how the Lord loves me through her and our friendship even more. (And I got the best dress ever!! – That’s a God wink of grace! 🙂 During the wedding ceremony I was surprised to find myself crying tears of joy. Not the bitter sweetness I had expected – but pure joy that could have only come from the Lord. I stood there as the maid of honor wondering if even my wedding day would top the joy I was feeling here. Joy is one of grace’s marinated seasonings.
When I gave my heart to the Lord to change – He did. I learned what it means to rejoice with those who rejoice. I danced and played in that grace all day. Giving the toast and signing the marriage license was an honor that I will never take lightly. Our roles in each other’s lives are not done – they have just begun anew.
We once prayed for God to bring her a godly man – now we pray for God to grow him more and more into all the maturity of Christ. We prayed and fought for purity – now we pray and fight for faithfulness. I signed the license as a witness and stood up with them before God – my job is not ending as a friend – it’s really just beginning. We have to live out the happily ever after now! The story doesn’t end – it begins the rest of the book.
I doubted God’s grace. I prayed for grace but didn’t believe He would change me – and I never expected joy! Don’t under estimate what God can do with a little loneliness and a lot of grace!
*Thanks to Tammy Hopkins for the photo’s! PLease Check out her site.
** Nancy Sieling made all of the costumes – check out her Etsy Site.