Recently I hosted a small bridal shower. Not exactly your traditional, honor-the-bride type gathering though. This was a bridal shower with a twist—a pool party to honor the mother of the bride.
Nothing beats the Texas heat like floating in the pool, and nothing eases anxiety like getting together with your girlfriends. The wedding was less than a week away and some of our LifeGroup gals decided Elizabeth needed a diversion, if only for a few hours.
The conversation was girly and fun. However, we did manage to talk about some topics of substance, like the sermon at church the day before and the upcoming fall Bible study. Interestingly enough, both the men and women will be reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas.
A few of us had already started reading the book and commented on Mr. Thomas’ sub-title: “What If God Designed Marriage To Make Us Holy More Than To Make Us Happy?” Even though we wanted to stay away from discussing anything about the wedding, the topic of marriage managed to slip into the conversation. And apparently our pastor wants the holiness of marriage to be a major talking point at church!
Elizabeth was showered with God’s glory before the evening ended. One of the girls had been enduring a baffling physical ailment for over six months and shared how Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts kept her focused on finding something to be thankful for every day, despite her circumstances. Another shared a devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries, posted that very morning, titled “How to Trust God With Your Children.”
While we were there to honor and uplift her, Elizabeth twisted it around and compiled a devotion for all of us! “Uncommon Friends” touched on the friendship between David and Jonathan. A friendship formed by spiritual ties, not by a lengthy amount of time spent together. Plus, theirs was a friendship orchestrated by God.
“They had a sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 20:42
After reading Elizabeth’s devotion, I pondered the history of our LifeGroup. Only three couples were “original” members of the group that formed in 2009. Each year a few left and others joined, so none of us have known each other for an exceptionally long period of time. In her devotion, Elizabeth commented that one of God’s many gifts to believers is the ability to form fast friendships.
And there is indeed a special bond with our LifeGroup girls. However, it is interesting that God put together such an “uncommon” circle of friends, especially when considering our marital statuses. There has always been more of us who have been divorced and remarried than those still married to their first spouse.
Had I read Gary Thomas’ book 20 years ago, would I have cared that God was more concerned with my holiness than my happiness?
What? I didn’t have the right to purse my selfish desires?
I was expected to obey Jesus’ command from John 15:12 to “love each other as I have loved you.”
My marriage was supposed to deepen my relationship with Jesus?
Wow, I sure missed all that.
However, in thinking of this young girl’s wedding and contemplating my own trials of divorce, I discovered another one of God’s many gifts, offered via Elizabeth and her husband—an example of a loving, Christ-centered marriage!
Two people who have made commitment (to each other) more important than pursuit of selfish desires.
A man and woman who hold sacred the vows made to each other on their wedding day. Honoring those vows, to leave a legacy of an endearing marriage, to be passed on to their children.
A mother and a father who have grown stronger in their relationship with Jesus because of their relationship with each other.
Not only a gift for their daughter, but also for those of us who just didn’t get it right that first time around. An example of a sacred marriage right in our LifeGroup.
The purpose was to get Elizabeth’s mind off of the wedding details. But God planned the evening with some motives of His own.
Yes, it was indeed a shower with a twist. A gathering for God’s glory. His perfect orchestration of uncommon friends, gathered for all to see His sweet example of a sacred marriage.
Oh, He does have a way of twisting things around for His glory!