Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blessings Come Through Raindrops

This morning I woke up to a strange sound...raindrops! 3 months ago I would have hated waking up to this sound, but this morning it was so nice. I knew today would be cooler and a relief from the heat both inside and outside of my house. Not only is it raining though, but there was also some good thunder and lightning. I actually enjoy thunder and lightning storms. There is just something beautiful in the flashes and booms that makes me feel vulnerable and small yet safe and protected because the One who controls the storm also holds me in His hands. (sidenote: I do not however like when the house gets hit by lighting...the beauty is lost VERY quickly in that instance).

As I sat this morning reading emails and looking out the window at the rain, I thought back to the last time it rained...the morning of my wedding! And the last time there was thunder and lightning...after my rehearsal dinner.

The two weeks leading up to my wedding, the forecast showed sunny and HOT. My mom was not happy about the hot as she has told me since Day 1 to not have an outdoor summer wedding because everyone will pit out. This is probably the only instance I completely disregarded what my mom said and planned my outdoor summer wedding anyways :). So when the forecast showed her words becoming true, I quit looking at the weather websites. I knew I was not in control, that yes we might be hot, but as long as it didn't rain (especially since the month before had been SO rainy) I would be happy.

Fast forward to Thursday night before my wedding. After my bachelorette party and all my bridesmaids went to sleep, my parents and brother pulled me aside to "talk".  They announced the worst news that a bride could hear for her outdoor summer wedding: there was an 80% chance of rain for Saturday. NOOOOOOO!!! I will be the first to admit, I cried. Okay, I bawled. No, no, no. How could this happen? The middle of July! I had dreamed of, planned, and imagined this outdoor, sunny, summer wedding practically my whole life. All the decor I had spend months on would be soggy and gross. Guests would be miserable and leave early or not even come. My hair would be a frizz-bomb disaster. This was not good. I cried some more.

My parents told me we needed a Plan B. For the time being, we would stick with Plan A and pray, but if we thought of a second option now, we would be able to execute it sooner and make it as great as possible rather than waiting until the last minute.

We created several Plan B's:
~have the wedding inside our church and the reception either outside or inside there as well
~have the wedding outside at the farm and then the reception inside at the church
~rent as many tents as we could to cover ceremony, dance floor, and tables plus umbrellas for pictures

Oh it was so hard to choose one because any totally destroyed the image in my head. I did NOT want it inside, but I did NOT want guests and decor to be soggy and lead to a short wedding/reception. I was leaning towards the church however because at least then people would be dry and stay for a fun time. Thankfully my parents told me I could sleep on it, and we could decide later the next day or even Saturday morning. When my mom said "goodnight" to me, she said, "remember, only 2 thing are important on Saturday: you and N get married, and God is glorified." Those two things were very much our motto the last week leading up to the wedding and even more so now with my dreams potentially being washed away.

As I crawled into bed, I called my fiance and we talked about it while I cried a little bit more. He, as always, went the optimistic route and said he wanted to stick with Plan A unless it was a torrential downpour. Rain where I live is either a 5 minute downpour or a several hour light drizzle. Either would be manageable.

Friday morning was sunny, but the forecast was still not looking better. My parents were both on the phone figuring out logistics and options. My dad was able to rent several large tents and so we decided to stick with the wedding and reception at the farm. The tents would be used in the best way possible to keep people, decor, and food dry. To create the best set-up based on the weather, we changed the delivery of tables, chairs, and tents until Saturday morning.

We went about our tasks on Friday, buying last minute food items, discussing decor set-up, and the rehearsal. The rehearsal, by the way, was SOO hot. My Maid of Honor got heat exhaustion from earlier that day and skipped the rehearsal to recover so that she wouldn't be sick for the wedding. Thankfully that did the trick and she was revived in time for the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal went smoothly, dinner was fun and delicious, and it was gorgeous and sunny the whole time. But on the drive home, the dark clouds rolled in, and that night it rained, thundered, and lightninged.

I fell asleep that night telling myself "2 things, just 2 things are important." I was disappointed of course, but I was okay. I knew it would still be great.

Wedding day! I woke up, and it was raining. My heart was a little sad, but I was still okay. I knew my parents and dear family friends were already at the farm working to set everything up in the rain. I texted both my parents to say "sorry they were getting wet, thank you for doing it, and I could come help if they needed." My mom replied saying she was still in bed! I got up and went and crawled in with her as she made phone call after phone call to coordinate food prep, someone buying umbrellas for taking pictures, etc. etc. etc.

As my bridesmaids woke up and we started getting ready, it stopped raining, and the sun slowly, but surely began peeking through the clouds. Dozens of people were praying for good weather and God was answering!

By the time, the photographer arrived, it was completely sunny and we were able to take bridal party pictures outside. We headed over to the farm. It. Was. AMAZING! There was a tent over all my decor pieces that looked so great! Having it in the tent really pulled it all together. All the tables were covered by tents and twinkly lights had been strung up! My parents and so many dear friends worked very hard to make it look incredible! They got wet and spent extra money to pull it off and make the image of my wedding become a beautiful reality! Thank you thank you!

It ended up not raining at all! We were so blessed! It was sunny, blue skies, beautiful, and a nice warm temperature. The tents were still great to provide shade and I think it looked really nice how the tables were all together under the twinkly lights and tent tops.

I learned some good things through all this:
~always have a Plan B, even if it is the middle of July
~focus on what is truly important
~prayer is powerful
~different can be better--the decor tent turned out better than I think it would have without the tent and with the tents over the tables we were able to have twinkly lights!
~expect rain at some point in the day if you get married at that farm (mine was the 3rd wedding there with rain at some point in the schedule)
~friends and family who will do anything for you are the best things ever!

So I sit here today, thankful for the rain because it will be cooler and allow me to comfortably be productive in my home. And as I sit here, I think back to my wedding, the tears, the smiles, the rain, the sun, the people, and the memories! I am so thankful for all of that. I think I needed that rain those few days. I needed that reminder that even though I had planned, I had made decisions, I had worked, I had dreamed, still, I was not in control. I needed to re-learn those things I listed. I needed to be blessed by the rain.

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