Rain or Shine.

 

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Staff Writer Bethany Suckrow. For more from Bethany, follow her on Twitter or visit her blog where, She Writes and Rights. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, too.

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?

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  • http://www.marilynyocum.com Marilyn

    I love how you tied together all these events – wedding, weather, surface appearance, the game of comparison.

    “I always get confused about what a ‘blessing’ is.” Simply stated, powerful and profound.

    Wonderful post!

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com bethany

      Thanks, Marilyn!

  • http://inspirationandroughdrafts.blogspot.com/ Melissa

    Wow, well done! What a lesson for all of us – you never know what’s going on under the surface.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com bethany

      Thanks, Melissa. :)

  • Debbie Hart

    Bethany,

    You never cease to amaze me at the wisdom you have far beyond your years and how you can give such creative clear examples to get your point/lesson accross. You are so bright and talented! I look forward to and always enjoy reading your material!

  • http://www.sincerelyrachelchristine.com rachel

    bethany — these words are water to my soul this morning. thank you for the encouragement and reminder. xxo

  • http://sayable.net Lore Ferguson

    Love this.
    And you.
    Love it all.

  • http://aparchedsoul.com Grayson Pope

    Loved this Bethany!

    My wife and I didn’t have a rough start in marriage, but we did dating in college. I found myself wondering what was right almost every day-am I supposed to be investing in this relationship or “living my life” with my friends.

    Through those times I learned to go with that “gut instinct” which we so often consider our own. In reality, it’s God’s way of informing our not so bright minds of the right thing to do.

    Thank God I ended up choosing the first. I don’t know where a single one of those guys are today.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com bethany

      So true, Grayson. Deep in my heart I knew why marriage was more important than the material things that surround it, but it’s easy to get preoccupied. I’m thankful that even though I was easily distracted by what we didn’t have, God continued to strengthen our relationship with what we did have. I think the rain (a.k.a. challenges we faced as newlyweds) helped us realize how important we were to each other, and really matured us over the last three years.

  • http://whileitwasfallingapart.wordpress.com/ Joy

    Bethany, this really hit me right in the soul just now. I have always had this tendency to control and compare in our marriage. So much so that we nearly divorced last year. Until God intervened. We both experienced being born again…together. Now, instead of counting our patchecks and keeping up with the jonses, we try to count our blessings. Even when they arent perfectly packaged and even when they are soaking wet. You tied this all together and wrote it beautifully. Thank you, it touched me deeply.

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com bethany

      Wow, Joy! I’d love to hear more about that journey. Have you considered sharing your story with Prodigal? Just a thought. :)
      Thanks for reading, and for sharing a bit of your experience.

  • http://asimplemanofGod.wordpress.com Daniel M. Klem

    My wife and I had sunshine and beautiful, puffy clouds on our wedding day. We were even able to go to Ireland for our honeymoon (thanks to a generous gift). My wife still has little idea how many problems there really were leading up to and during our wedding, because I made sure people came to me with problems first. (I tend to be the more level-headed in emergencies).

    We also knew going in that after the literal honeymoon, when we had to be back in “real life,” things might be tough.

    My entire family lives in at least one different state. Her family moved with our wedding. We only had a set of her grandparents living nearby, and grandpa died 11 months later right after my wife graduated college. I lost my job two months before that. To scrape by, we had to have another couple move in to our apartment to help pay rent. We have been financially in over our heads on more than one occasion.

    In nine days is our third anniversary. We could not be happier!

    Excellent article!

    • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com bethany

      Happy anniversary, Daniel! My husband and I will celebrate our 3 year anniv. on August 8! Thanks for reading and sharing a bit of your story. :)

  • Victoria

    Thank you for writing this. I’m dealing with the exact same thing right now… my wedding isn’t “big enough” and my menu isn’t gourmet and my sister-in-law is bound and determined to ruin the whole dang thing. Right now, we have barely any money to pay for the wedding itself, but we’re getting by paycheck to paycheck and somehow, seemingly like magic, are making it work.
    We get married two months from today, but I just moved here after being long distance after 10 months. We are happier than ever having next to nothing, as long as we have each other. I see friends going on expensive and tropical honeymoons and I am jealous. But we have a gift that no one else has, and that is US. Me and him, he and I, the two of us together, and we are blessed to even be sitting here in the same room.
    Thank you for writing this and encouraging me so, so much.

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  • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

    Great post, Bethany. Great reminder.

    My adult friend Juanita always says, “Rain means God is near.” In fact, she prayed it WOULD rain on her wedding day. It did and she’s been married for 35 years.

    Katie

  • evelyn

    we can have nothin and yet have everything we need…wow