"If this isn't love" Part X

Give a girl a ring = 40 points
Give a girl a ring and propose = 80 points
Give a girl a ring after arranging a surprise proposal in front of her friends and complete strangers = PRICELESS!!!
I was in heaven. I felt like my whole life was coming together. I could see further than two weeks into my future; and at that point in my life, that was saying A LOT. Every negative event from our past was erased from my memory. My heart was warm again. And that euphoric feeling was sweeping over my mind and soul. I was at peace. I was about to marry the man of not only my dreams, but also my prayers.
If you know anything about me, you know that I wasted no time planning our wedding. He proposed to me on March 15, 2009. By the next week, we had set a date for September 26, 2009. It was only six months away, but I knew I wanted a fall wedding and was not about to wait a year and a half to get married. The week after setting the date, I knew what our colors would be, what our bouquets and boutonnieres would look like, who would make up the entire wedding party, and where everything would take place. I decided to create all of the decorations and flower arrangements myself, including my own bridal bouquet. I scheduled my first bridal appointment, and was at David’s Bridal with almost my entire bridal party by April 18th. On that day, I tried on maybe four dresses before finding the one that I would call mine…and I bought it that day. My bridesmaids had their dresses selected and had already worked out the order in which they would be during the actual wedding ceremony. By May, we had reserved the church and reception venue, booked the photographer, decided on a caterer and menu, and put a deposit down for the cakes. By June, we had taken our engagement pictures, I had ordered all of the materials needed for decorating both locations, was done making all of the boutonnieres, corsages and all of the bouquets, including my own, had tuxedos selected, groomsmen fitted, and final alterations done on my bridal gown.
I was on a mission to have a beautiful and organized wedding, without being stressed or stressing anyone else out. I was determined to get everything done and do everything on my own very early on, just so that there was no confusion or frustration as the big day drew closer. I wanted it to be a joyous occasion for not only my future hubby and me, but also for everyone that would be involved in our special day. I wasn’t filling my head with unrealisms (not a word), expecting it all to be perfect. I just wanted things to be as perfect as possible. And up until the middle of June, they were.
Me and all of my ambitious ideas, lengthy to-do lists, and go-get-it mentality were working out great for wedding planning. But those things were causing me to develop blinders that prevented me from seeing what was happening around me. I was happily anticipating the most important day of my life, but the man that I was about to share it with, seemed that he wasn’t fazed by the whole ordeal. I petitioned his opinion on almost every wedding element, but the most I could get out of him was “That’s cool.” Only after I had, completely, emptied my savings account, did I wake up and smell the craft glue. Why am I the only one with empty pockets when two people are getting married?
We had our choice words about the issue; his being, “I didn’t pick any of that stuff out!” It was a cut to the jugular, but I took it like a woman. I can’t say the same about my dad, though. Three months before the day I was to get married, my father decided he was going to give my future husband a whole piece and a half of his mind. During the most intense phone conversation I had ever witnessed, I heard my dad tell Marcus, “I don’t think you really love Coco! If you loved her, you would be helping her pay for this wedding! I don’t think this wedding is as important to you as it is to her!” They went a couple rounds in the proverbial boxing ring, going back and forth debating the equivalence of love and money. I sat there watching Marcus and listening to my dad and getting sick to my stomach. They both had valid points, making both of them my least favorite people in the world. I hated my dad for waiting until three months before my wedding, to bring up the past and tell Marcus how he really felt about him and our relationship. I hated Marcus for sitting back letting me plan this entire wedding as if he wasn’t going to be a part of it. I went home that day with a totally different outlook on the wedding, my relationship with my dad, and my relationship with Marcus. I began to question if either of them were going to survive.
My ambitious ideas were now down-turned thoughts. My lengthy to-do lists were no longer existent. And my go-get-it mentality turned into where-do-I-go-from-here questions. I was stressed and depressed. This was not the way things were supposed to be with a little over two months to go until my wedding. It seemed that ever since my father decided to proclaim is disdain for my husband to be, I couldn’t see Marcus in the same light. He wasn’t the same loving, thoughtful and considerate man that proposed to me. All I could see was everything he did wrong. I couldn’t talk to him about what I was feeling any more. I couldn’t tell him that I was having doubts about us. I loved this man and I wanted to marry him.
So, in the midst of my depression, I turned to the one source that I knew would remain constant, no matter what life presented me. I began to seek God. I would ask him to tell me what I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to say. I wanted to take my burden and hand it to Him to work out. I was tired…tired of the stress…tired of my skin rebelling against my body…tired of losing my hair...tired of not sleeping. I wanted some relief…so I gave it all to Him. Once I handed Him the problem, He told me to listen. Just listen.
Once I started listening, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My mother told me that during a women’s conference that she had recently attended, a woman prophesied to her, and told her about me. The woman said that the man that I was about to marry, wasn’t my husband. Now I knew that God told me to listen; but I, also, knew that His word says to be careful who you listen to. I took what the lady said with a grain of salt. Clearly, that’s not what God wants me to be listening to.
A week or so passed, and Marcus and I were planning our 4th of July weekend. We had decided to spend the weekend at his mom’s and then go to church that Sunday morning, where we would then see my family. After a few days, I guess Marcus realized that his 4th of July activities on Saturday night may not allow for an early awakening on Sunday morning for church. Of course I heard and understood what he said, but I still remained hopeful that he’d be able to get up and go to church with me.
Well, Sunday morning arrived. We both woke up early, but I was the only one to get dressed. I ask Marcus if he was going to get ready for church, and got a “naw” in response. Now, there had been plenty a Sunday morning where we both laid in bed and skipped church. But there was something about this particular Sunday morning that just didn’t sit right with me. I was pissed. I couldn’t believe that he would just lie there, knowing that I wanted him to go with me to church. So, I snatched my purse off the floor and went on my way…alone.
Once at church, I felt a little bit better. It’s just something about smiling faces and the presence of God that turns your mountain of troubles into mole hills. I sat down beside my mother, and cracked open my notebook in preparation of the sermon. My favorite preacher, pre-marriage councilor, and God-father to my son was about to tear the church down, and I didn’t want to miss a word of it. I went to church, prepared and expecting to get a word. I wasn’t, however, expecting the word to be for me personally.
Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” (NIV) Yes, that was the text that Pastor took that Sunday morning. And just like what you’re doing right now, I had my own assumptions about how this sermon was about to go. But, never had I been so wrong.
I know several of us, especially, us ladies, are very familiar with this particular verse. But Pastor raised a question to the women in the sanctuary that morning: “Have you ladies ever taken a step back and examined the whole picture” (or whole verse in this case)? Yes, it is a good thing to be found by a good man. But that is not the entire point to that verse. The key to that verse is this: once a man finds you, he then receives favor from the Lord. The favor is the whole point, sweetie. Not you. Now don’t get upset, because that favor is what you should be looking for when you think Mr. Right has found you. I’ll break it down a little further, showing you how this sermon was tailor-written for me and my situation.
When a man finds a wife, the one he is supposed to have, he will find favor with the Lord. Both he, and the wonderful woman he found, will have favor with the Lord. Everything will seem to be as it should. Not to say that every aspect of your lives will be easy and perfect; but things will feel orderly and stress-free. The Lord God is a God of order. He’s not going to grant favor over some mess. Specifically, God wasn’t going to bless my mess of wanting to get married in six months.  Now He blessed the two of us with each other; that was no question. But it was MY selfishness that wanted us to be married within six months; not God. Everything that surrounded us was too much of a mess to have God’s name written on it anywhere. 1) I was broke. How can I call myself a woman going into a marriage with nothing but my bad credit??? 2) I couldn’t find a job. So now, here I come with my empty pockets, bad credit, and absolutely NO WAY of creating a solution. 3) Marcus was not financially prepared to be the head of a household and support it independently. He had yet to have a place of his own, so where were we going to live? With his dad? Roommates? 4) Marcus and my father couldn’t stand the thought of each other; let alone, be civil and share the same space; say, like at a rehearsal dinner. 5) Although we had gone through marriage counseling, and passed with flying colors, neither of us had even thought of becoming one in Christ’s word, instead of just becoming one in the flesh. You see? Five big points of mess. And that was only naming a few.
I thought of these five exact points as I sat in church that Sunday morning. It was like being thrown outside of your life, and then watching it all from the outside. It was so overwhelming to see my “perfect” relationship is such disarray. I had just been slapped in the face by the hand of reality, and it hurt like hell. My mother, who knew my entire situation and had, also, just heard the sermon, tried to console me as tears filled the wells of my eyes. She tried to tell me that everything would be ok. And I wanted to believe her, I really did. But I heard, loud and clear, what God had been trying to tell me.
There wasn’t going to be any wedding...

I apologize for the delay of this post, but it took a lot out of me to write. It was also the most important part of this series, so I wanted it to be perfect. "If this isn't love" isn't quite over, but I really hope that this particular post was able to help someone in their quest for clarity. Please spread the word about Cohesive Randomness. It may be just the the for someone you know.