Love is all you need. Love is in the air. Love makes the world go 'round. Love hurts. Love is all I need. Until the twelfth of never, I'll still be loving you.
We hear songs about love our entire life. They shape how we define love. From the songs I've heard in my lifetime, I would have to say, "Love is intoxicating like a drug and when it fades away, life is no longer worth living."
I have also watched a million romantic comedies. From these, I must conclude, "When you really love someone, you fight a lot and misunderstand one another until that magical kiss. Then you live happily ever after.
Oh, I'm so glad that movies and songs are not the only thing that defined my definition of love.
I was blessed to be loved by two wonderful parents, to see a beautiful love between my grandmother and grandfather, and to experience God's love at church, and later personally when I became born again at age 16.
As I grew in the Lord, my definition of love began to change. I no longer believe the definitions I learned from pop songs and chick flicks.
As I studied the Bible, I discovered three Greek words (Eros, Philia, Agape) that are all translated love in the New Testament, yet their meanings are completely different. Let's explore the three loves talked about in the Word of God.
After a series of fights and misunderstandings, the hero and heroine realize they are desperately in love and kiss passionately. Birds start singing and the whole world is brighter.
Well, Hollywood's version of love.
Unfortunately, physical attraction, obsession, and passion don't cement two people together for long. Attraction is the icing on the cake, but there is a love that lasts a lifetime.
What is that love?
What does it look like?
Well, let me start by describing it.
Love that lasts starts with mutual respect and admiration. Two people can look up to one another without either one being intimidated or trying to "put the other in their place."
Not only do two people respect one another, but they want the best for one another, even if that doesn't include the relationship working out. Let me explain. When a man loves a woman, he wants her to walk in God's perfect will for her life, even he is not part of that equation. He cheers her on. A woman who loves a man does everything she can to inspire him and encourage him to grow in his giftings and strengths. Sometimes this requires making sacrifices.
When my oldest daughter got married, we were able to go into the church and reception venue the day before to decorate. Our decorations were elaborate and it took us hours to get everything ready for the next day.
For our most recent wedding, the ceremony and reception would all be at one venue with the ceremony in the rotunda (sun room) and reception in the ballroom. Immediately, this eliminated some of the major decorations. My oldest daughter had envisioned a dance floor that friends built for her, but this place already had a dance floor. In the first wedding, we had to set up tables and chairs, as well as put on the tablecloths. In our recent wedding, the venue set up the tables and chairs exactly as requested and the caterer would supply the table linens and set the tables.
It will be a breeze! I thought to myself.
Oh how naive I was!
We still had to set up the welcome table, the wedding favor table, the card/gift table, the photo booth, the arch for the ceremony, the cake table decorations, and all the centerpieces.
Not as much decorating, but still a lot of work! And we only had an hour to get it all done. Sigh.
I was so excited when the Lord gave me a plan to include the wedding party and family to help plan, make, set up, and tear down the decorations.
The plan helped things to run smoothly and let people serve where they enjoyed serving.
"If things don't go on schedule, we won't be able to get nice photos after the wedding," Jenny Rose sighed.
Oh, dear, I thought to myself. I don't know of any weddings that stay on schedule. My first daughter's wedding hadn't stayed on schedule.
But instead of sharing that with my daughter, I confidently replied, "It will. You'll see."
Over the next six months, my faith wavered, though I stormed Heaven with pleas for my daughter's desire for the wedding to stay on schedule.
I made a schedule that was workable but would depend on so many people. Oh, and did I mention that there were some time-challenged relatives?
In a practical way, I divided decoration set up so that several people worked together, more people than needed so the job would be completed quickly. I wrote up a detailed schedule and shared it with everyone in the wedding party, as well as those helping out. I let the caterer, wedding coordinator, photographer, and emcee know that it was really important to the bride to stay on schedule.
There. I had done everything I could do.
Three weeks before the wedding, I got a phone call from a dear friend who kept finding herself praying for our wedding. She wondered why the Lord kept putting the wedding on her heart to pray. I shared with Felice all the prayer needs for Jenny Rose's wedding and we prayed together.
Hanging up the phone, I realized that Jesus loves me and my daughter. Our desires matter to Him. He raised someone up to pray for us because He loves us. I felt weepy and happiness spread throughout my being. I am loved! I forget that sometimes, but it's true. Jesus loves me. And my daughter.
I kept praying for the wedding schedule among other wedding prayer needs and felt peace come over me.
My dear friend Aisha just got married and had a lovely ceremony and reception.
We had a blast dancing, eating good food, and celebrating their new life together.
In another blog, I'll tell you all about the wedding, but in this one, I just want to tell you about the decorations.
The lovely Shabby Chic decorations were created and set up by my young friend Marielle. At 17, she is already a gift artist and creative decorator. She turned attic and thrift store finds into lovely treasure that were a delight to my eyes.
I am so impressed with Marielle's work that I have to share these decorations with you so that you can do them for your own or a loved one's wedding.
I hope these beautiful wedding decorations will inspire you to seek out treasure in your attics or nearby thrift store and come up with some just-as-amazing wedding decor as Marielle did.