The day of my wedding, it rained buckets.
I will never forget walking to my car that morning on my way to the salon and thinking,
Really, God? Clear skies and sunshine – is that too much to ask on the most important day of my life? Would you mind clearing this up by approximately 2:45 this afternoon?
The wind blew harder and my umbrella inverted defiantly. I got drenched.
It was not clear skies and sunshine that day.
In fact, as I walked into the sanctuary that afternoon to get photos taken with my bridesmaids, my attention was immediately drawn to a suspicious looking bucket full of water and a wide, dark stain growing around it.
The sanctuary ceiling had a leak. Right where I was supposed to stand. In less than an hour. In front of 300 people.
My brave and lovely maids of honor reassured me that they were on top of the situation, that the rain had slowed to a light drizzle and nary a drip would fall while I stood there to recite my vows. My grandmother tried to tell me it was a good omen – something about God “showering” me with blessings.
I took a deep breath and smiled for the camera, resisting my instinct to panic.
The leak held off through most of the ceremony and I had almost forgotten about it until a wayward drop splashed my shoulder as we sang, “In Christ Alone” with our roomful of guests. I smiled, shaking my head slightly, and my mom caught my eye and winked.
At that moment, the rain didn’t matter, did it? And neither did the craziness I put myself through in the months leading up to this day, this perfect moment.
The endless yards of tulle and ribbon, the hundreds of individually wrapped chocolates, the exact hues of brown and blue were suddenly less than, completely inconsequential in light of why we were there that day.
We had made it, and now we were singing and praising God and making the most important covenant of our lives and I was happier than I’ve ever been ever, maybe even since.
I wish I could say this revelation stayed with me through our first three years of marriage.
That the sense of holiness on our wedding day never waned.
I wish I could tell you that I stopped trying to force my hyper-vigilance and obsessive compulsive planning on all the little details of my life, or that I’ve finally learned to recognize God’s blessings “raining” down on me.
But in less than a day’s time, I was playing a game of comparison with myself :
Our friends’ big, fancy, sunny wedding a couple of weeks before compared to our smaller, soggy, not as fancy wedding.
Their sunburnt-with-cocktails-in-hand honeymoon on a tropical island compared to our stay at a friend’s cabin for three days in southern Michigan.
Their big house and big jobs compared to our home on the second floor of my in-law’s house for the first ten months of our marriage.
We were working for pennies and dimes and sleeping in my husband’s childhood bedroom and most of the time, when I thought about God working in my life, the rain felt like a downpour and I was surely drowning.
There was no getting around that awkwardness.
And so the twinge of jealousy stayed with me through that first year, every time our financial situation got worse instead of better, every time I thought of where we might be if we had just waited another year, every time I thought of how good our newlywed friends had it compared to us.
And then their marriage ended. One year in. An infidelity.
And I wanted to hate, but I couldn’t.
I wanted to cry over a good plan ruined, over their big house that had to be sold and the photos of their big fancy wedding that now were nothing more than scraps of paper, but that’s not where I found my tears. When I cried, I cried about the damage caused and the hearts hurt, and I cried for how badly I had misread the surface of that situation.
I always get confused about what a “blessing” is. I always expect clear skies and smooth sailing. But it turns out that the weather on a wedding day can’t predict a strong marriage.
Instead, the buckets of rain and a rough start are sometimes how God chooses to reveal Himself, grow deeper relationships, and remind us that we can have nothing and still have everything we need, rain or shine.
Have you ever had a rough start? How did God use it to grow your relationships or help you depend on Him?