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Monthly Archives: October 2012

The Scent of Your Wedding

'Smell' photo (c) 2009, Dennis Wong - license:

2 Corinthians 2:14 and 15 says, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us into triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

Working from this passage, Scotty Smith, former pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, wrote the following prayer for the edification of believers:

Thank you for triumphing over me and in me. I’m also grateful to be among those released for a life of announcing your triumph of mercy and grace. What more could I want for the rest of my life than to be someone through whom the fragrance of the gospel is released—the aroma of forgiveness and freedom; the kingdom cologne of reconciliation and restoration; the fragrant bouquet of healing and freedom? What an honor and privilege.

This is the reason my mom and I are writing this book–that the gospel would be proclaimed in our weddings and marriages. May His fragrance and aroma be evident so that no matter your wedding style, your wedding scent is of Christ.

Wedding Planning Resources – Recycling

So we all know planning a wedding can be extremely expensive. You see something you love on Pinterest, then discover just how much it will cost to recreate what you’ve seen. Even a collection of glass jars can cost big bucks.

Now there are a couple of thoughts here. First, remember what is most important–giving glory to God. Yes, we can do this with or without cute mason jars and burlap runners. But you’re also throwing a party–a celebration of God’s grace in your lives. There is nothing wrong with spending some time and money on this, but once you have determined your budget you will want to stick with it. So how do you create the look you like on a limited budget?

Sometimes you will have to sacrifice certain desires in favor of more practical elements (i.e. five candles on a table rather than thirty). Let’s be honest, some of these Pinterest ideas are just way over the top. I mean maybe it’s super fun for you to hand-glitter 200 Mason jars, so I don’t want to completely knock the idea. But sometimes I think we get a little obsessed with an image in our minds and struggle to be content if reality doesn’t live up to it. Sometimes we have to give those things up, and sometimes it helps to find a more cost-conscious way to purchase the things you do really like or need.

Below are just a few of the great websites that offer brides a way to recycle their dresses, veils, decorations, shoes, etc. You can search for various items and buy directly from the seller. I love this idea and wish it had been around when I was planning my wedding. It’s also a great way to clean out items from a recent wedding if you’re a newlywed.

Ruffled – Recycle Your Wedding

Ruffled is a wedding blog with a section devoted to recycling objects from weddings. The listings mostly contain decorations and fashion items–dresses, hair accessories, shoes.

100 Layer Cake – Marketplace

100 Layer Cake is also a wedding blog with a “Marketplace” section devoted to reselling. It is similar in style and format to Ruffled.

Recycled Bride

Recycled Bride is a huge collection of wedding-related items, including hundreds of dresses from numerous designers. The format is clear and uncluttered and the site is easy to use.

Once Wed – Used Wedding Dresses

Once Wed is another wedding blog with a sellers section, but this one is devoted only to dresses.

There are many other similar sites and a quick search for “recycled wedding” or something related can lead you to them. I thought these four were particularly easy to use and love the clear images of the items for sale.

What are some other ideas for being frugal in wedding planning?

The Anti-Bridezilla

'boxing gloves' photo (c) 2008, Generation Bass - license: to all who have responded to my request for help with mother/daughter issues for the book! I have loved reading the responses via email, comment, Facebook, etc. It is such a tricky situation, especially since there are so many reasons conflict arises. Obviously we can’t touch on all of them in the book, but we can look at the one issue that causes all the others–our hearts.

Most of us are probably familiar with the Bridezilla concept–a bride on a rampage, willing to destroy anything standing in her way en route to the perfect wedding. While that kind of self-focus will certainly cause huge interpersonal problems during this time, even a much smaller degree of selfishness can subtly creep in and become a joy thief. What seems at the outset a harmless desire to express one’s personality can, in the absence of gospel-centered motives, gradually turn into non-compromising selfishness.

Once again, the gospel is crucial here. As Tullian Tchivijian puts it so well:

The gospel doesn’t take you deeper into yourself; the gospel takes you away from yourself. That’s why Paul reminds the Colossians (and us), “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (3:3). The gospel frees us to realize that, while we matter, we are not the point.

This perspective is revolutionary because the gospel is revolutionary. The world says, “It’s your day,” but the gospel says, “This day belongs to Christ–the true Bridegroom.” The world says, “Please yourself because you can’t satisfy everyone.” The gospel says, “Honor Christ because you can’t satisfy anyone.”

I am thankful today for that kind of freedom. I can strive to honor Christ by believing He is best and everything else pales in comparison.

Book Help Needed – Mothers and Daughters

'Good Housekeeping 1964 - Mother/Daughter Hairdos!' photo (c) 2008, HA! Designs - Artbyheather - license:

This picture has nothing to do with weddings, but come on–it’s amazing. And come to think of it, it probably caused some mother/daughter conflict a few years down the road.

Okay, friends, I need your help. I’m working on a chapter focused on the people you relate to as you’re planning a wedding (i.e. family, friends, bridal party, etc.). I am hoping to discuss how a couple can honor Christ in these various relationships, but need some insight from those who have already planned or are currently planning a wedding.

It seems the relationship that receives the most focus, and can cause the most stress, is that between the bride and her mother. I think several different factors contribute to this, and each case is different. For some the differences in taste and style are subtle, but enough to cause conflict. For others the differences go all the way to the heart–disapproval of the wedding or of the groom.

So I have two questions for you, if you don’t mind answering. Feel free to use a pseudonym if you need to (I don’t want to cause any further drama). The goal is to help those coming after you to have a peaceful experience as mothers and daughters serve one another in humility.


1. What was the chief cause of conflict in your wedding planning? (assuming there was conflict–if not, that is awesome…and extremely rare)

2. In retrospect, what would you do differently or what do you wish your mother/daughter could have understood?

Thanks so much for taking the time, and please pass this on if you don’t mind. I would love for this blog to be a forum to help those currently going through this process, and also I know I can learn so much from the wisdom of others as I write this book.

Be The Moon

One Christmas my parents gave my daughter a children’s book called Fool Moon Rising by Kristi and T. Lively Fluharty. It’s an excellent book about pride that delivers a convicting punch to my heart every time I read it to my kids. The story centers on a foolish moon who believes he is “the greatest light.” So he brags and shows off and tells all the planets how great he is, until one day when he sees the sun and is shocked. This moment of clarity causes him to reconsider and he is humbled. From that point on he lives out the mission of pointing others to the sun and happily reflecting the sun’s light.

This little picture book is a great visual as we live out our lives, and it is especially poignant for a wedding. The moon is unique from the sun – they are not the same. But the moon’s mission is to reflect the light of the sun. It has no light of its own. In the same way, our mission is to reflect God’s glory and love to our world. A wedding is a perfect opportunity to do this. And as a couple thinks creatively about how God has made them unique they can remember those distinct gifts and desires were not given to bring glory to themselves, but rather to Him. There is so much freedom and joy in this!

I’m always on the lookout for creative ways in which couples have reflected God’s glory in their weddings. If you have any thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to hear from you!


A Fairy Tale Wedding

I’ve been thinking about fairy tales lately. My five-year-old daughter is not much of a princess kid. She prefers playing with animals (hence the cheetah-wrangling) or being a cowgirl, but we do have princess stories in our home. In thinking about these stories I’ve realized the major theme is that of a princess waiting for her prince to come and rescue her or give her a better life. Now that doesn’t mean she’s always just sitting there waiting–most of the time she is actively working or serving someone or something in the process. But her life does not have its greatest meaning or purpose until her prince comes. Then things are complete.

Our weddings and marriages are not fairy tales. We are not made complete by another person, and our lives do not get their sole meaning and purpose from another person. If you have trusted Christ and His finished work on the cross to save you from the penalty for your sins, then “in Him you are made complete” (Col 2:10). Jesus alone can make us complete. Our job is not to sit and wait for a human prince to come so life can truly begin, and our weddings are not the culmination of this waiting process. Yes, we wait, and yes, we rejoice in our weddings. But not so that life can finally begin. It’s not that kind of fairy tale.

Yet in another way weddings do represent a fairy tale. They are a beautiful depiction of a much bigger story—the great Rescuer joining with his rescued bride, the church. This is the greatest story and we miss the point if a wedding is only about a beautiful princess coming down the aisle to her groom and to an earthly “happy ever after.” It should be pointing to a much greater, truly perfect wedding—the marriage feast of the Lamb as described in Revelation 19. In his sermon on this passage Charles Spurgeon wrote:

Oh, what a day that will be when the eyes of the entire universe shall be turned in one direction and the glorious Christ, in the splendor of His Manhood and of His Godhead, shall take the hand of His redeemed Church and, before men and angels and devils, declare Himself to be one with her forever and forever! That will be the beginning of the marriage supper of the Lamb—it will be the publication to all of the great fact of mutual love and union![i]

I confess this was not the picture I had in mind as I planned my own wedding, nor was it what I thought of as I walked down the aisle toward my husband, Erik. I wanted to glorify God through my wedding, but lacked the big picture. Now as I stand and watch brides walk the aisle I’m usually the one with mascara running down my cheeks. It’s just so beautiful—we get to be the bride of Christ!

When I see things that describe a wedding as a fairy tale, I have mixed feelings. This can either conjure up images of a misdirected bride placing all her faith in her groom, or a grateful Bride placing her faith in her Rescuer. May our weddings, and our lives, represent the second picture.

For more reading on this subject, I recommend the following:

Mike Cosper wrote a great article on princess stories and the gospel here – Are Fairy Tales Finished?

Tom Strode (my dad and former pastor) wrote a series of short and helpful posts on marriage myths here – No. 1: Someday My Prince Will Come

[i] C. H. Spurgeon, The Marriage Supper of the Lamb, no. 2428 (sermon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, England, Lord’s Day evening, August 21, 1887).

Have This Mind

When I was planning my own wedding in 2005 it was my senior year of college. It was a unique situation as five of my closest friends were also planning their weddings during this period. Our dorm rooms were buried under bridal magazines and we were inundated with advice from the world on what our weddings should entail. It was difficult to withstand the pressure imposed by these “experts,” especially as nearly every article included the idea that the wedding is the “bride’s day” or “all about you.” This is now the societal norm.

It is truly difficult to resist the urge to make the bride the sole focus of the wedding. We stand in her presence as she walks down the aisle and the attendants are told to keep their eyes on her at all times. Generally she is involved in every decision made, and a wedding will usually reflect the bride’s taste and personality. It is a strong temptation to start thinking, “Hey, this day is my day. I should get what I want.” It’s a temptation for all of us, whether we are getting married or not. True humility must be fought for, and the best way to do this is found in Philippians 2.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)

We must fight the desire to make our weddings just an opportunity to show off. It is natural to want our weddings to reflect our tastes and personalities—natural and wonderful. We have those tastes and personalities as gifts from our Creator. But we are made to worship the Creator, not His creations. And so our desire must be for our Creator to receive the glory in our wedding ceremonies. We do this best as we “have this mind among ourselves”–the mind of our humble Savior.

Although a wedding is just one day, this is a lesson that we must learn again and again. I am learning it again today as I care for a sick husband and two sick kids. This day, like every other, is not about me. It’s about God graciously making me like Christ, exalting Himself  in me, and faithfully teaching me along the way. To the glory of God the Father.



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