What does it mean to be blessed?
When the time for my engagement came along I had an idea in my mind.
I'd served faithfully in the church since I was little and attended countless weddings, all while expecting "God's best."
I waited 31 years for this moment and was ecstatic to live out one of my dreams. It seemed like nothing could stop my excitement! And then--
I lost my job.
And then--COVID happened.
And then--my wedding got cancelled.
Our venue of choice was shut down, and while surrounding businesses decided to host weddings during COVID, our's closed down indefinitely
Heartbroken, I felt this wasn't the idea of God's blessing I'd imagined. The stress, unknown variables and disappointment started to put a strain on the relationship with my fiance, and I started to wonder what I had done wrong.
I knew intellectually that God's blessings were not tied to earthly circumstances, but my feelings and were captive to another reality. And I started to take inventory of my religious checklist:
Had I sinned against God in some way?
Was I being punished for something I did wrong?
Did God require more devotion from me?
Maybe I had missed it.
So I prayed more, read more, fasted, engaged in worship, listen to audio bibles, all in an attempt to get right with God. Maybe all of this would please God? Maybe I'd get my wedding and my job back?
If anyone were to confront me on my religious insanity, I'd quickly dismiss it, but that was the truth ruling in my subconscious mind.
A few months after the first wedding was cancelled, we found another venue that hit all the bells and whistles and was open for us to marry immediately! Excited and relieved, I quickly moved forward with anticipation.
"Now GOD is hearing my prayers and is finally pleased with me!"
And that is actually how I felt until of course the second venue shut down.
And there I was--back in the same disappointing place.
So what was I supposed to be learning? I always assumed this would be the most blessed time of my life but it seemed like what I wanted most continued to fall apart.
What was going on?
After spending a good 6 or so months in pure frustration, I started to realize God wasn't trying to ruin my life. Good and bad thigns happen to all kinds of people and sometimes there is no real reason for it.
What's interesting is that when we see Jesus define "blessing in the New Testament," not once does he mention anything of monetary or empirical value.
He never said you were blessed if things went your way, or when you experience enjoyable circumstances. He never said blessing were linked to the things that we like, such as nice houses, cars, lavish vacations, millions in the bank, fame, respect or your own private jet. In fact, Jesus forewarns us that the pursuit of money is at the root of all evil, and the lust of the flesh can never be satisfied.
Jesus always equates blessing to an internal state or wellbeing that is experienced irregardless of circumstances.
Ok so what does this have to do with my wedding?
We'll everything, believe it or not.
Weddings are not evil obviously, in fact we see Jesus perform His first public miracle at a wedding so we know marriage holds a special place in the heart of the Father.
However, for me a wedding was more than just a wedding.
It was a dream fulfilled
It was the validation of my years of devotion to God.
It was the confirmation of my womanhood.
It was God's stamp of approval.
It was the projection of a blessed life.
And this is precisely why things had to go the way they did.
You see God wasn't trying to ruin my plan, but the trials of life do a great job at revealing whats in our heart.
My focus started to stray away from my fiance and God. I became so consumed with organizing the perfect day and projecting the right image that the purpose of what I was doing got lost.
What is marriage really about? Is it about having the best wedding, is it about everything going as planned? Is it about having pictures to share on Instagram, or showing off your ring to family and friends?
As ridiculous as this may sound, these are all of the things that I had to contend with.
But marriage was never supposed to be about showing off or comparing the size of rings. It was never supposed to be about ascending in status or ranking yourself according to others. Marriage is a spiritual mystery that is intended to reveal the multifaceted nature of God. The relationship between man and women, when inspired by Holy Spirit, should be a reflection of the trinity and the different dimensions of God's nature. Far from being a one time event, marriage is a spiritual journey where two people grow in their relationship with God and one another by committing their lives to the bond of love.
What we see on screen and reality TV about family life and marriage does little to prepare couples for the trials that unfold. I can't say I was thrilled with the stress of two cancelled weddings. But in the mist COVID, while many people were breaking up or getting divorced, we were still in love. The disappointing scenario is forcing us to communicate, compromise and hash out many tough issues that actually helped us come closer. And in that tough process I finally understood that focusing on the relationship was a much higher priority than having a large party.
So while we still wait for the chance to celebrate with family and friends—whats clear to me is that the blessing of God has already been bestowed. Far from it being the perfect day--the truest blessing is growing more in love with my fiance, getting free from comparing my life and recognizing the lessons I can learn in the mist of it all.
Have you ever experienced disappointment or the loss of a dream? How did you overcome the heartbreak or are you still healing? Leave your comments below and follow me on social media to continue the conversation.