“You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
From an early age, my daughter, like most daughters I suspect, had very firm expectations about the wedding she would one day have. In addition to the presence of the man of her dreams, it would take place at an equally dreamy exotic destination and be marked by fine food, fashionable attire, and perfect photos.
But in the midst of those dreams, 2020 and the pandemic descended like a dark cloud. Annika had indeed secured the man of her dreams, but all of the planning for a wedding in Barbados had fallen to pieces. Travel had become restricted and dangerous. The dream was becoming a nightmare.
And so we did what countless other families did during the pandemic: we planned, replanned, and then replanned some more. The date, wedding venue, reception venue, reception menu, and even guest list changed up until the final weeks. We all wondered if anything memorable or meaningful could ever come from such chaos.
To our great surprise, however, we discovered a gift – a true bright spot - in the midst of all that disruption. The wedding was not what my daughter had expected, but precisely the wedding she and all of us needed. It took place not on the white sands of Barbados but within the soaring white walls of Grace Lutheran. It wasn’t performed by a resort officiant but by the bride’s very proud father. The attendance was extremely small in light of COVID gathering restrictions, but grandparents without the means to travel to Barbados could now be part of that special day. The reception didn’t feature grilled fish in a Caribbean setting, but a pizza bar at Tussey Mountain. And you know what? None of us – daughter included – would have changed a single thing. It was perfect.
There is much about 2020 and the pandemic that I would prefer to forever forget. But I will never forget that magical wedding day. It will remain a constant reminder to me that we cannot make an idol out of our plans and our timing. Instead, we can trust God to provide a way and a time that will bless in ways that are beyond our limited vision. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming…but I pray that God’s perfect dreams will always supersede my own.
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.