Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09

I can't believe that another whole year has flown by. It seems with age that the years go quicker and quicker which many told me would happen. A whole decade has gone by, one that I can remember much of, which is new for me because much of the 90s is blurry...come on I was in grade school for most of it. 2000 came with much anticipation when I was in 8th grade and just shy of 14. I went through all my years of high school, college and half of Grad school in this decade so there are many happy and of course sad memories that go along with the close of this decade. Now I wish I could say I was highlighting the whole decade but I don't have the time or the patience to do so. So instead I did this year, 2009. I reflected on all the good and bad that did happen this year. Like many years it was a difficult, busy but blessed one. So here is the top 20 things that happened this year to me...

1. Carrie visited me for the first time in PA (She was in Africa for months)
2. I was being laid off because they were moving the business all to Pittsburgh.
3. A new Job in February at Greatwide Truckload Management
4. Levi (nephew) turned 2 years old
5. Finished my first year of Grad School
6. Dean’s (my father-in-law) 50th Birthday Party
7. Jude Gabriel (2nd nephew) is born June 1st
8. Donated my hair in honor of my Grandmother being Cancer free for about three years!
9. Had my first Wedding Anniversary with my honey. PS: the second year gets better! ;)
10. Ellie (my niece) turned 1 year old
11.First time visits to Philly and other exploring in the area
12. Got into a car accident, rear-ended by someone
13. Celebrated a year in PA
14. Justin’s Nanny and Grandpa’s 50th Surprise Anniversary Party
15. Cinelle and Jenni’s move to Athens, GA (Miss them!)
16. My friend Amanda had her baby (lilTonio)
17. Began 2nd year of Grad School
18. Officially became Jude’s godmother at his Baptism
19. Counseled alone for the first time outside the classroom (they were acting tho)
20. My grandfather continued to struggle with dementia during this year but celebrated his 80th Birthday with family and had a great time.

So much happened this year, and even now I can think of more good and bad things that happened. This year was filled with doubt, worry, disappointment, love, encouragement and growth. Even just writing this list makes me thankful for all of it, even some of the bad things. It reminds me that sometimes even the hardest times in life are for a reason and that we cannot see the whole picture or what is coming around the corner in our own life. I am thankful mostly this year for a God who really does love me and never gives up on me, even when I deserve it! I also am thankful for how he shows me this love everyday that I live. He brings amazing friends and family into my life that show me what He is really like and gives me a slice of His love for me to see here on earth.

Thank you Jesus, Justin, family and friends for a great year!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Being Brave

This song really expresses how I've been feeling lately. But especially today after practicing counseling....


PS: Thank You for helping me be Brave!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Compatibility and a little Pre-Marital Advice

Many believe that compatibility will bring martial happiness. Some believe that if you find someone, "the one" then you will of found happiness. Many people search for just that right person to marry that perhaps enjoys the same interests or hobbies with them. Yet unfortunately when problems arise this will not bring much happiness to either parties. "...a good marriage is not something you find, it’s something you work for (Thomas, 2000, 133)." There is a lot of suffering in life and in marriage that will occur. Perhaps compatibility is important but there is much more to the meaning of the word than what sports or activities one is involved in. Marriage is a good amount of work that takes time. So although being compatible is a positive additive it is not what makes of a good marriage. It takes the compatibility of how spouses will respond in bad situations or in suffering. This sense of compatibility will grow a marriage in the right direction to find happiness or at least holiness. Happiness in itself is also what most seek out of marriage. Many couples find that they are happy with each other so they take the next step of marriage. Although happiness is a good quality to find in a relationship it does not necessarily bring up a good marriage. Suffering also tests the happy couple to find true authentic feelings that are in the marriage. "If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me ‘happy,’ then I’d have to get a ‘new’ marriage every two or three years (Thomas, 2000, 23)." Happiness is not the purpose of marriage just as finding someone who likes all the same interests is not as well. The purpose is glorify God in your marriage which will call each spouse to learn from their own marital relationship.

The compatibilities most important to look for in marriage would have to begin with God firstly. It would be important to share the same faith and any morals that would come from that faith. It would be crucial to learn about what the faith looks like in the other's life. It would be important to know how they see their God and how He would effect their daily life for example what their relationship with God or faith looks like. The second important compatibility to look for would be in regard to how each person thinks or sees marriage. What would their relationship look like in a realistic marital situation. The last crucial recommendation would have to be compatible to a point in how each future spouse looks at suffering. It is so important to know how the other will respond to problems or arguments that will arise. If able to find someone that sees suffering in a helpful and healthy manner, as well as ideally could encourage the other to grow through the suffering this would be ideal. In the best scenario of course this would include Christ and His help and influence to be ever present in the lives of the future married couple. I believe that these characteristics would be super helpful in marriage and something to look for in terms of compatibility. If one or more of these crucial things were missing I would say that sort of incompatibility would truly handicap a relationship to find a kind of suffering that will not be endured well. I believe the compatibility of things such as shared interested, activities, hobbies, sports and more is never a bad thing to find in another person, but is certainly not the key to finding happiness in marriage. The characteristics of who the person really is inside and out truly demonstrates what kind of relationship and marriage the couple will have to live through.

My Mistakes Effect You til Death Due Us Part

It seems as if the source of suffering in marriage truly comes from our own brokenness as a sinful people. Marriage takes two sinners and joins them as one but this can be the beginning or the source of suffering in marriage. All suffering comes from the two parties involved, the wife and husband because each of them sins and makes mistakes. The Fall of mankind is really the source of suffering in the world and marriage is no exception. "At the Fall he became a cowardly, violent protector of nothing more than himself. Intimacy and openness were replaced by hiding and hatred (Thomas, 2000, 94)." The source of all our pains on earth point directly to our unwillingness to surrender to God. When I think about it I can see how all my problems in my life as an individual and in my marriage can be directed right to my need or want to be in control of my own life. This could be me wanting to sin directly or indirectly. I can be very stubborn in my relationship with my husband and at times have chosen to not serve or love him which only has brought one of us to be hurt. I cannot think of too many times where I could honestly say that I was truly trying to serve my husband in a pure way and it left suffering in our lives. It is only in my selfishness and deceitfulness that I hurt others around me including my spouse.

The consequences of sinful people being in broken relationships varies. Through grace and Christ sometimes two broken people can truly be transformed and serve each other not perfectly but there is hope. Some take the suffering and give it the purpose of changing. The two can be moved enough to find God in the suffering and feel called to do something accordingly. Yet all too often most situations of suffering will lead to consequences that will hurt their marriage. "Couples don’t fall out of love so much as they fall out of repentance. Sin, wrong attitudes, and personal failures that are not dealt with slowly erode the relationship, assaulting and eventually erasing the once lofty promises made in the throes of an earlier (and less polluted) passion (Thomas, 2000, 96)." Due to couples not repenting, not dealing or not discussing current problems in their relationship this can and most likely will be the consequence of a sinful people but also an effect of their suffering. These moments or people will result in something definitely not Biblical but rather sinful, which will bring the couple farther from the purpose of their marriage.

There are several different responses that spouse may take when suffering or problems arise in their life. Some will run and look for any way to avoid what suffering has come to them. Others will take everything that is happening and pin it on the other spouse. There are many ways that people react to their suffering in life but because marriage takes two, the way one responds will indeed effect the other. I have already confessed that I usually begin to blame others or my spouse when suffering occurs. I also try to manipulate the situation so that I can begin to fix the problem that is currently in front of me. The problem with all of those responses is that none of them are God honoring or other centered. There is no glimpse of repentance or an offering to God. I try to take all burdens on my own, except now I have my husband's burdens as well, which can only leave me tired and with no better result. This problem that I have of controlling my situations around me and now my marriage’s does not only effect me now, but my husband. It leaves little room for him to take on any of my burdens or care for me. It also does not witness a good servant’s heart which would respond with repentance, gentleness and love. A correct response might be to take my short comings and my suffering and find good in it. "View marriage as an entryway into sanctification–as a relationship that will reveal your sinful behaviors and attitudes and give you the opportunity to address them before the Lord (Thomas, 2000, 97)." Instead of running, fighting, controlling or whatever it is, perhaps I can take my shortcomings or suffering in a season and respond in a way to find sanctification.

My husband's middle name is Grace

Thomas explains that marriage is also like an individual is under camera surveillance. When a married couple took their vows they gave up the right to privacy. From this day forth the couples, including myself will have to live with knowing that there is another going through life with you all hours, everyday (Thomas, 2000, 95). This true sense of accountability can be difficult at times but it also can lead us to the kind of holiness that Thomas speaks of in Sacred Marriage. I know personally that was an interesting realization for me. That from the time I said I do, I would always be with this person, meaning he would be watching what I watched, ate, how I talked about others, and so on. Although this sometimes brings guilt or conviction, it also has brought me to a point of wanting to be better. My husband inspires me to become the better version of myself. He almost never has to tell me what I did wrong or said poorly I just know by knowing him and what I know he is thinking. I know for the most part what he would say and what about a topic, therefore I am able to anticipate when what I said was unforgiving or harsh. He truly represents part of the body of Christ in our home and family unit which in return helps me suffer at times because I cannot just be who I am, but rather I am challenged. Sometimes I am challenged and drag my heels or possibly go kicking and screaming but my husband’s presence ultimately leads me to change. Although suffering is difficult I know that I must take it on because that is truly the only road to take to find true change in my heart. It will not be easy to be in marriage, just as Thomas says, but it can bring me closer to Christ, which is something I long for.

"The ultimate purpose of this book is not to make you love your spouse more--although I think that will happen along the way. It’s to equip you to love your God more and to help you reflect the character of his Son more precisely (Thomas, 2000, 26)." Thomas’s purpose for the book is also the purpose of marriages. Marriages were not created to find more delight but rather to learn how to love correctly. This meaning to learn how to love God and others in a new and revolutionary way or in other words like Christ did. My marriage has unveiled the real me with all my flaws and imperfections which is never fun or easy to encounter. One thing I have found through marriage is that it is difficult to love well on our own. I only can find comfort in the fact that through the Spirit, the Bible and Christ’s example, I can find how to love others including my spouse well. I thought I was really good at loving others and being helpful or other-centered before marriage. Although I am usually good at those honorable characteristics I am human and have a dark sinful nature that brings up selfishness and laziness to make for a poor excuse for a Christ-centered, loving servant. Thank goodness for grace, the grace Christ gave us and the grace my husband so naturally and patiently gives to me regularly. I think my marriage has truly been given to me directly by Christ not to feed off of for my own sake but rather for the purpose of equipping me and my spouse to learn how to be more Christ-like.

God gave us a Mirror for our Wedding present

"What marriage has done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin. It forces me to face myself honestly and consider my character flaws, selfishness and anti-Christian attitudes encouraging me to be sanctified and cleansed and to grow in godliness (Thomas, 2000, 93)." Thomas shows couples that marriage is difficult mostly because it puts a mirror up to the individual. It is almost impossible to be married and not see your own sin. This can become quite difficult for individuals and bring much suffering. Thomas explains how he thought he was a seemingly nice, polite man before marrying and found that it became difficult to be all the time. He found that perhaps this was because he had never been close enough to an individual to see the real him (Thomas, 2000, 93).

I can relate to what Thomas is telling his readers about seeing ourselves in a new light or with a mirror. I had dated my husband for five and half years and thought I knew everything it was to know about him, myself and how we function in our relationship, until I got married. Although those years definitely helped our life, today there was much more hidden away for us to learn about each other. Right before I was to be married I had a huge realization that from now on I would not just be dealing with my sins or burdens but my husband’s as well. This thought frightened me. I kept thinking all these years I have had so much trouble dealing with my own problems how will I be able to truly take on another’s as well. The next time I thought about this again was when I was already married a couple months in, and my husband called me out on something. This was very new for me because during our dating years this hardly happened. He proclaimed to me that I was just yelling at him because I really was frustrated about something else. I was super surprised for the first time to be looking at my own sin in this loving relationship. My first thought was "well alright then." I knew deep down he was right, I did do that, all the time really. It was very natural for me to use him as a punching bag when I felt a sense of uncertainty in my life. I knew after that day that marriage brought me a mirror if not a magnified mirror to show every pore of my sinful being.

What if God designed Marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy?

Gary Thomas’s book Sacred Marriage explores the main idea of "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy (Thomas, 2000, 13)?" Thomas looks into the thoughts that although many people go into marriage thinking it will be easier to go through life with another person it turns out to be quite different than what is expected. He shows us the true sense of marriage, in that it involves two people coming together to go through life together, yet both of them are broken individuals. Married couples are reminded that they are sinful people in a broken world each day. All too often couples will run from their own struggles due to their own brokenness or the brokenness of their spouse. Love can quickly turn into hate and resentment which can just as quickly turn into divorce for some (Thomas, 2000, 13-16). All too often spouses expect something from their spouses that only God can give them. Thomas urges us to be careful not to expect too much from marriage. There is only something another sinner can do for us in a fallen world. This is where God fullness enters into our lives and fills us up. Thomas makes it known that each marriage has a purpose and perhaps it is not just to find happiness (Thomas, 2000, 25-26). Thomas believes that the suffering couples that endure during marriage can truly invite spiritual growth individually and in marriage (Thomas, 2000, 26).

I quickly found that when I got married that I too was believing that my husband would fill me up with love. I never thought in our pre-marital time that he would "complete me" or fill me up so I would now be complete. Yet for some reason when I got married I subconsciously was wondering why I was not filled just from my spouse. I would become increasingly disappointed in my husband and felt very unloved. It was an extremely lonely situation, until I realized how my thinking was not Biblical and certainly not me. I knew with all my heart that only one could fill me with complete unconditional love and that was God. I feel as though Christ gave me Justin, my husband, but not to complete me rather to be a helpmate. Somehow, perhaps due to romanticism, I thought he would make my world better or changed, but only one can do that as well. Christ is the only one to save me from suffering, that is simply not my husband’s role.

Sacred Marriage

So I read a book called Sacred Marriage. I read it once while I was engaged and now again after I was married for about a year. I totally recommend this book for people who are married or just those thinking about it for the future. It has taught me soo much! I had to read it again for school and write a paper about it so for the next few blogs I will be taken parts of my paper and putting them into my blog entries. I am spliting them up so that it isn't too overwhelming! Enjoy....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Year of Marriage

It’s been a year since I got married and I can’t believe it. Anyone who was at the Wedding or that knew me when I was just saying I just got married will probably agree this year has flown by. I’ll say it again...I can’t believe it. So these past few weeks I’ve been flashing back in my mind to what I would have been doing at this time last year starting in April or May. I can remember Danielle, Carrie and I really hustling to get homework done for school and graduating last year. I also can remember us hustling to pack up four years of memories to move on to three different chapters in our lives. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do . I had grown up so much in New York. I had made friends that turned into best friends as well as apart of my family. I had met God there in so many ways. I came back to God and learned that He had always been there He was just waiting for me. I changed into a person that I always wanted to be, loving confident, and always looking to grow. I also found my new calling to go to the Philadelphia Biblical University for counseling. Sometimes it’s still hard not to live in New York. I miss the people the most. I miss living with Carrie and Danielle. I miss Jonathan dropping by and meeting up for discipleship. I miss the community that was once there. I had never been with a group of friends that truly taught me what Godly community could really look like. I’m not saying we didn’t fight or make mistakes but for me it was the closest I was to heaven because we were a community of believers going through life together. Although it was a struggle to not be there this year I know that it wasn’t the same for my friends. Many of them graduated or moved. The ones that were there almost never saw each other due to jobs, moving or just life getting in the way. All of us know how great it was to have that amazing time together but know that God wants us to move out of our comfort zones into the next chapters. For some of us this meant moving, some marriage, some school and some are still figuring it all out. Yet all of my friends have moved on and I can see God blessing them in their lives and for that I am so thankful. I miss them all and wish I could kidnap them all and put them all in one house again but perhaps that dream will come true in heaven.

The other memories I’m looking back on is leaving my family. After the Wedding I had to say my goodbyes. My family and I both all told ourselves the same lie that we were just moving to go to school and that we would be back. Although this is true, we all knew it wouldn’t be like when Justin or I went away to college. It was a lot farther and for a lot longer of a time. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to come home for Winter or Summer break ever again and that was hard! One of the most hard months of my first year of marriage was Christmas time. I was off from school and away from my family. I was stressed to finish my school semester to be immediately followed by rushing to do Christmas. I never realized how hard it was to be an adult until Christmas...the presents, the cookies, the Christmas cards, the decorating and the list goes on. I found a new respect for my own mom that’s for sure! It was hard but mostly it was lonely. I wanted to be home for all the special moments that occur before Christmas. I think I called home everyday for weeks that month. Haha. The other moment that I truly got homesick this year was when Jude was born, my new nephew. I couldn’t be there and couldn’t get there until three weeks later. If you know me pretty well you know how I feel about Levi my other nephew. I can’t imagine loving anyone more than my nephew so missing Jude’s birth was super hard for me too. I think I checked in everyday then as well! ;)

So the other memory I keep reliving is my Wedding. Now I’m not going to go into this too much because it’s on my blog already. But I had a great time at my Wedding and if I had to would do it all over again. I love to think about it and how much love was in the room that day. It was one of the Best days of my life definitely! So from there we jumped on a plane to Mexico and came home with one day to pack. No we didn’t pack up til then because we had soo much going on...I know it’s crazy. So we both packed up twenty some odd years of our lives as best we could into the moving truck and left for our new home on July 7th. It all happened so quickly we got there unpacked everything and before you knew it my parents and Justin’s brother, Jon had to leave. It was super emotional we all cried for about 15 minutes and then finally saw their car drive out of our parking lot. We held each other for another five minutes in the parking lot crying. This was it I it’s time to do this marriage thing I guess and be a real grown up. Ahhhhh......

Some say the most stressful year of your life will be if you move, start a new job or get married. We decided to try all at once, plus I added starting a new school too. All I can say is that this year was one of the most hard, intense, loving, lonely, educational and amazing years of my life. We moved to Pennsylvania with no jobs, not knowing a soul and the only money we had left was the money from our Wedding, which we lived off of for months. We had no money, no place to go everyday, didn’t know where to go and with gas being almost $4 couldn’t afford to go anywhere. It was depressing, irritating and lonely. We couldn’t get cable, internet or phone for the longest time because the company could not work the wires well for a while...well it’s a long story but I won’t go into that. The point is, is that it was basically me and Justin struggling and getting sick of each other by the hour. There was times I thought what did I do? I have to spend my life with him? What if we don’t really like each other? This after 5 and half years of dating...haha. I know this sounds terrible but is completely normal and did pass of course. When Justin finally did get a job it seemed like the best thing in the world. He was going to be making good money and working in Philly. It seemed exciting and we’d have money. Unfortunately everything comes with a price. He worked and traveled to and from work most of the day and when he got home he would crash. This hardly is much of a marriage. I was still unemployed and was playing housewife but I was completely lonely and hated his job. He was nervous and miserable most of the time. As much as I hated it I was scared out of my mind when he said he was going to quit. We talked about it and I was against it. Justin found something else for him to work at so that he could quit and soon. He found a position at the local Rite Aid being a Pharmacy technician, which is what he’s done for years now. They hired him right away and he left. Although I didn’t like the idea of this because it scared the crap out of me for him to make less but as usual Justin had faith that God would provide and he did. Justin worked at two pharmacies to make full-time and got to walk to work which helped with gas money. I began my schooling in the summer and then in the fall. I quickly found a job in the beginning of Fall and things began to settle..a little. I learned so much in that time about all my insecurities about money, security, caring what people thought about our jobs and how marriage can be hard and lonely. Several people want to get married to not be alone ever again and I suppose I thought the same but today I know better. Although this may not be true of everyone I think I’m alone more now than I ever was. Justin and I have worked opposite schedules since we moved here. I hardly see him and sometimes when we can we are busy with errands, homework or just life. I struggled to know during this time why I didn’t feel more loved by Justin but soon realized that I would not find complete love in him. Don’t get me wrong Justin loves me. He is one of the best examples of someone who unconditionally loves. He has taught me soo much and I feel so cared for by him practically 24/7 BUT he cannot be my all. I felt at some point an empty feeling somewhat. I realized that subconsciously I was expecting him to completely love me unconditionally and no human can do this task. Only one can and that’s God. I learned and continue to learn that where Justin and others love ends that’s where God’s love begins. He loves me and you in a different way, a way no one else can. This is not really new for me but it became new during marriage. I never really knew how love for my husband would work with love for my God. It can work beautifully if you both want it to. Recently Justin said I believe in the power of our love and although I enjoyed the try of romanticism I told him that I don’t, well really I said that’s crap!( Oops that wasn’t encouraging! haha) I don’t believe in the power of our love because I know love can fail without Christ. In Corinthians it says love never fails but so many people’s love does for each other, so it makes you wonder why? I know it’s because they tried it on their own. I never want to love again without Christ. I only know how to now because He has taught me. I only continue to figure out marriage and love, through Christ’s love for me. Otherwise I’m just selfish yeah I know it and if we were honest with ourselves we would all see it too. I don’t know all the answers about love or marriage and I’m not going to sit here and say I do BUT I will say this I would of been lost this year with out God’s hand.

After Christmas I began to turn full-time in my job working at a website company and began semester two of my program. My schooling was such a big part of this year although I won’t get into that too much because this is already too long. I will say this though, I would not be the same without this program. It continues to teach me about myself, God, people, and life. I love it! It is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made although I kind of think God chose it not me. :) It’s hard and I hate it sometimes. I’m scared and excited by it. It also would not have been the same without my awesome lab who turned into be my new family! These girls have heard and seen things about me that are ugly yet they love me just the awesome is that?!? I love you girls! At the end of January right near my Birthday and when I had Frank, Amanda and Levi visiting I got called into my bosses office. They were closing the office down and moving it all out to Pittsburgh. I was laid off, just like the rest of America at this time and even now. I couldn’t believe it. It had taken months to find this job and I couldn’t imagine how hard it was now that the recession was deeper. I was scared, again...

God provided for me, as usual right (when will I learn?) In only two week into unemployment I had a job. I began in February and still work at Greatwide Truckload Management. Honestly when I first started I thought I was going to have to quit. I never thought I would learn my job which is being a biller for a corporate office for trucking. Although the training was one of the worse, I found my way and did what I had to for me and Justin. Our family needed the money and I needed to work. Little by little we settled into my new work schedule of three days and 10 hours at a time. It sometimes still is a struggle to work that many hours but a blessing to be home more. As the school year finished in the Spring I thought I was going to die at the end but God saw me through. I had my first shot at counseling someone and had to counsel myself which was interesting to say the least.

The point is that soo much has happened this year really I can’t even write it all because even now I remember losing my best friend to Africa for months and how hard that was at the same time and the time my steering wheel locked or when I got rear-ended. The year was hard and many times I hated it and wanted to just go home and I know Justin did too. Yet it was also a great year of growing up, learning to live with a boy, learning about God and my past and learning to continually be seeking God for what marriage really should look like. I’m still learning and Justin and I know we will be for the rest of our marriage.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A City I once knew

New York City for me is like looking through a photo album of my past life or reading a familiar book again from a particular time in my past. Walking through the streets, passing places I once stayed for hours at a time or shared a special time with, walking the halls of my Alma mater, and seeing the faces that I have grown to know so well is so nostalgic for me. Going there is so different then I thought it would be. I picture people and places just how I left it. Or to feel as if I’ll feel like I should move back. But honestly none of these things came true. It feels so different. It almost reaffirms my sometimes regretful decisions to have left in the first place. Don’t be misinformed, no city could be in my heart like NY is and if I could move all the people with me wherever I go I would. But I feel as of right now that my schooling, my pursuit of developing a good marriage independent from our families and friends and of course following God’s will is most important right now.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trust Issues

So recently I have realized that I have some real significant issues that should be addressed in my life if I want to go forward in my life. I suppose there are worse things to struggle with but I do have some significant wounds that need to be healed. The problem is that I've been trying to heal them myself whether I knew it or not. Now school is forcing me to take a good look inside myself and see one what others and God see and two what really is inside my heart. This can be a very enlightening experience and "nice" if you will. It can also be hell. So far I have gone through both. I have fought the process and hated it. I have even tried to pass over the process and get to the results. Unfortunately it does not work like that. I will never truly be changed or healed without help. My help will more specifically only come from God. Notice I said "only." I have spent long enough hiding from Him and trying to do all on my own. Yes I have control issues too. But now by some help from others, prayer and God himself I am beginning to see some differences. Not really a difference I can write or put on paper. But I have the evidence of change by me not avoiding or ignoring the process anymore. I have realized that I am in the middle of a process. A process that really could take the time frame of my whole life and you know what, I'm proud to say I'm actually okay with that...for now anyway! :)

Please continue to pray for me and my transformation into a woman that I continually hope to be. Below is a link to a website I thought was insightful about this subject.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Wedding from Hell or Heaven???

Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 5PM Justin and I were to be married in a park called Central Park in Schenectady, NY. Justin, my parents and I had been planning this wedding since August of 2006, almost two years ahead of the date. We had changed our ceremony plans a few times. First we were to be married at our old church but then decided that we should get married outside. We finally decided on Central Park because it had a beautiful Rose Garden and it was just very quaint. It wasn't too flashy and it was somewhat not the center of attention in the park. The next problem to deal with was Plan B. If you get married outside you must have a Plan B. The one we choose was a tent that could cover everyone and provided chairs and if we needed it walls.

Unfortunately the day of the Wedding the Tent company was no where to be found. At first this was no problem because at the very least it was not raining, but there was a chance it could and we had no chairs for our 125 guests. I was about to leave and so were my bridesmaids when it started to rain. We had no idea what to do. My pastor, Justin Moffatt from Christ Church NYC was calling me and telling me it was raining there as well. The guests were there and so were the Groomsmen by this time. Everyone was getting rained on and no one knew what to do. There was a few ideas jumping around by this point. One do it anyway in the rain with umbrellas. Two get married somewhere else like my reception site. Or three wait out the rain and see if it will pass. At first we said let's call Mallozzi's, my reception site. So on my 40 minute ride I didn't know if I was driving to the park or to the reception hall. I also had heard that the musicians could not play or use equipment in the rain. People were scrambling to do whatever they could. I know that the musicians tried to be put in the back of a SUV I believe so they could play. Carrie had many umbrellas to give out. Then it stopped raining so we were going to try to do it anyway at the park.I was driving to the ceremony site and then got the call that they finally showed up.

The tent company was seven hours late! Well people were so mad at them when they got out of their truck. My sister in law, Amanda really gave them a talking to and I know some were cursing as names. Amanda ordered them to set up the chairs as fast as they could. The moment my dad got there he left me in the car and ran over to the tent people. All I can say is there was a lot of hand motions and yelling. Or as Justin Moffatt said "there is a room full of angry Italian people.." lol My mom arrived and started setting up the table with the unity candle and Mrs. Leece helped her do that. My friends helped put the chairs up and because they were so dirty they started wiping them down. Everyone was working together to try to make the day still a good day for me and Justin. I knew the people helping really loved us and were truly expressing that, that day. But unfortunately it was getting late and then it started to rain again. Then Justin said maybe we should go to Mallozzi's and asked me if I rather be inside or outside. Mallozzi's had an outdoor area that was cover fortunately. Justin Moffatt coordinated this whole thing so that we all would be moving over there and no one would be left behind. My dad and me left as soon as we heard that and were the first ones to arrive at Mallozzi's to be rushed off to a separate room. When I arrived they said don't worry about a thing and brought me to a small room in the back to wait for the ceremony to start. The only problem with the Mallozzi's area is that there would be no chairs for anyone, they would have to stand. I felt terrible at first. I knew some of these guests and I knew that they must of been mad or upset about the rain and now they would have to stand. Although I know some did complain quite a bit, most did not or at least not to me. Most people were concerned for me and how I was doing. I felt so good to see my Bridesmaids come into the room with me then and even better when they brought us Champagne! My Bridesmaids really helped me and kept me calm and for that I love each of them even more than before. Justin Moffatt came in and wanted to ask if I wanted the ceremony cut down due to the time constraints. I thought about it for a second and decided that I had waited all this time and all these years for this one ceremony and if it meant cutting in on Cocktail Hour than so be it.
Justin and I had really sat down and made this ceremony full of purpose. We had decided that because of our relationship with Christ that we would like to share some things with the attendants. I wanted all of them to know two things really: God loved them and the He died for them. Justin Moffatt got the opportunity to share the Good News with our loved ones in his sermon and we got to in some personal writings that were in the program. There was a section about Justin and I and our relationship and then a section on God and knowing Him. I'm not sure if anyone really read that or remembered what Justin Moffatt said that day, but no one can say that they didn't see God's love that day. So many people poured love into a bad situation. When the chips were down my friends and family really came through. They did it because they loved me but also because they have something that is unconditional, Christ's love. After the Wedding was over I realized that it was all for a bigger reason. All along I had wanted people to know the LORD but perhaps all this happened so that they cannot just hear it but see it lived out through others.
When I walked down that aisle it didn't matter where I was or what had happened, I was going to marry my best friend and my true love. God had sent us to each other and had gave us perseverance to get through our five and seven month courtship. I loved walking down the aisle with my father and seeing all my loved ones surrounding me during the ceremony. Everyone was there from my parents to grandparents to people that have known me since I was tiny to the people that saw me go through puberty. All these people were there to see Justin and I because we love each other and because they love us. There was something about the rain falling in the distance, all my loved ones around and this final step that just brings me to tears even now.

Although so many were worried that perhaps I was terribly upset and would never get over it to them I would say this was one of the Best days of my whole life. I have never felt as loved as I did that day, which is kind of ironic when you think about it because that is what the day is all about. But I not only felt love for and from my groom but everyone in the room. God had given me a magnify glass to see all these relationships that I had over the twenty-two years of my life. These people had seen me in some of my best and worse times. God really made me feel loved that day. He gave me family and friends that have loved me and now a new family including a husband that shows me Christ's love everyday. I want to personally thank the groomsmen and the bridesmaids for supporting Justin and I through the whole day. Amanda and Justin Moffatt for coordinating the Wedding during this dark time. Corie my photographer and the musicians for staying and never complaining. All my friends that helped set up the ceremony site. My parents and Justin's for trying and succeeding in making our Wedding day the best possible day. And anyone else I have forgotten that was a major help to me or someone else that day. I just want to say thank you and I love you all.