Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …

Learning to Rejoice


 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.

Author: notunredeemed

Jesus follower, people lover, truth scribbler. Addicted to pain (growth). Passionate about relationships, identity and the transforming power of Christ.

12 thoughts on “Learning to Rejoice

  1. I can completely relate Katie! I know it’s probably hard to picture, but that feeling of loneliness while you fight to figure out what your new role as friend will look like? It’s a familiar one to married people too. It’s hard to maintain focus on your spouse and marriage when part of your heart yearns to carry on the relationships with friends just as you always have. To figure out how to stay close even though it might be weeks or months since the last quality time spent with each other, particularly with someone who held such an intense bond with me, has always been a struggle. Then there are always the first few times of being “left out” of things like sleepovers or vacations with the girls. It’s a choice that is natural and joyous to have a husband to take care of first and foremost but it’s still a challenge to do so while growing old friendships into more accommodating ones instead of mourning over what they used to look like.

    Hugs to you! You are a true friend and I’m excited to see how God will bless your friendship with Christine through these next seasons!

    • Thanks Traci! Missed you 🙂 I hadn’t really thought of it from a married woman’s perspective! that is so true – it’s big adjustment for both parties! “growing old into more accommodating ones instead of mourning over what they used to look like” AMEN! 🙂

  2. Simply beautiful! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  3. Amen! You are on to something!

    I experienced a similar joy 29 years ago this week. What wonderful joy to see my best friend married. How great God’s grace to allow me to fully enter that joy. (OK, I admit, at the end of the day, when I went home to an empty apartment – we had been roommates up until her wedding – and the excitement was over and I was exhausted, I did have a good cry.)

    Although I am now “an old maid,” I have been blessed to maintain that friendship for these 29 years – through babies and kids’ birthday parties and graduations and a wedding and grandson and now an adopted 9 year old. And it hasn’t been one-sided – she has shared my joys of ministry opportunities and travel Together we have shared many sorrows as well including my yearning to be married, not be mention deaths of loved ones. We have shared many of the everyday things of life.

    It hasn’t always been easy – there have been difficult times and bumpy roads. There are things, because of the differences in our stations in life, that are hard for each of us to understand about the other. But the friendship has withstood these things and grown stronger in them.

    It helps that she is married to a man who understands her need for women friends and how important this relationship is to both of us. He has been a blessing to our friendship.

    Of course, I have had other friendships that have faded over the years. But the ones that are really special aren’t diminished, but enhanced through marriage.

    I wish for you a long and beatiful friendship.

    (And a husband of your own as well.)

    • Thank you so much! You were such an encouragement to me reading your story. It is hard but worth it. And her husband too seems to understand that we still need each other and for that I am SO grateful! I started poking around on your blog and look forward to getting to know you more! Blessings!

  4. His Grace is sufficient…always. Love this post Katie. And I just have to say, those are the awesomest bridesmaid dresses ever! I love the color! You looked beautiful! (I think you should use that first picture as your next profile picture).

  5. This has been a struggle for me as my best friend recently got married. We were neighbours and best friends for many years, and watching her enter a relationship and eventually get married wasn’t easy (and still isn’t). It’s so easy to get bitter and focused on myself, which is wrong! Thanks for this post . . . it was a little convicting . . . ; )

  6. Pingback: My Best Friend’s Wedding – and Beyond | reflectsofanoldmaid

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