PART 15 ~ January 2016 – Marriage Preparations with Limited Time
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“My times are in Your Hand.” (Psalm 31:15)
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PEGGY CONTINUES HER TESTIMONY:
So the “Date” was set! Now was the time to make a list of preparations and prioritize the list. The first item on the list was to make a short “guest list.”
If the truth be told, I had read a lot of end-time prophecy . . .
Side Note: okay, that lavender light is appearing now in confirmation.
. . . such as “In the Month of Red, Blood will be Shed.” That headline appeared on the Z3news website. There was definitely much information that pointed to a “jihad on the churches” by the end of February. I’m sorry to be a “Debbie Downer,” but I did have concerns about this, and the lavender light continues to flash here in confirmation. Truth be told, I hated to invite anyone and think that I could be putting their very lives in jeopardy by the invitation. I knew that we were in extremely critical times.
There was also a conviction of trust at the same time that God would bring this promised relationship to completion, so I progressed confidently, but prudently. Jim selected his Best Man and I selected my Matron of Honor. Then we made a list of some couples that were very close friends. We invited my mother, and Jim invited the one relative of his that was still living, and in fairly close proximity. We left out friends and relatives that lived a distance away. Again that “blood will be shed” bothered me a great deal. So the list was finalized with 12 guests, plus the two of us, the photographer, and the Priest. It was a total of 16.
Next, we selected a theme Scripture for the Wedding Invitations to go in the mail:
“And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.” (Hosea 2:19)
Notice the fact that “I will betroth you to me” is written twice. That implies emphasis. We also loved the “righteousness,” “justice,” “steadfast love,” and “mercy” parts! Before we sent out the personally created invitations, we decided to call or e-mail the guests and participants. In one case, we made a personal visit. We were very gratified that everyone was extremely happy for us and that all replied that they would be present “no matter what,” and “there’s no way that we would miss this!” I thought that was amazing for being such short notice for them.
You will remember “Pastor Tom H. and his wife Linda H.” from my writings about “The Church with the Grand Piano.” Well, there was no question in my mind that Linda H. was God’s choice for my Matron of Honor! We e-mailed fairly frequently, so I just sent an e-mail about that request to Linda H. After it was sent, I told Jim that Linda H. is going to be touched and a little emotional about it. Did I know Linda or what?
See what she wrote back:
Thursday, January 7, 2016- Hi Peggy, My heart is so touched by this lovely request. I’m overflowing a bit! I would be truly pleased and honored to be your Matron of Honor! I’m very happy and excited for the two of you. This is truly wonderful! Where will the two of you be going for your honeymoon? Glory to God and praise His Holy Name! You are going to look so beautiful, Peggy. Woo Hoo, I’m just thrilled! Thanks again for asking me to stand up with you. You are a blessings! Praise God! Linda
Next I purchased necklace gifts for Linda and our female reader, Marilyn. I had their favorite Scripture addresses hand-engraved on them. Both women wore these on the Wedding Day.
Jim purchased Key Chains with the Irish Claddagh ancient symbol of love, loyalty, and friendship from the “Irish Shop” in town. (Jim is 100% Irish. My maiden name is Irish, too. One of my great-grandfathers was 100% and his wife were Irish. (We had that ancestral link in common, too.)
We went to the lovely Victorian Style Bridal shop bordering the charming “Bethel Mill Park.” Remember that “Bethel” means “House of God.”
We had countless walks and talks in that park. I thought I would just get a white formal dress, but as we looked, Jim saw a full, fairly elaborate gown that he really liked. That did it. I wanted to please him, by getting something he liked. (I went there with Jim on purpose. I really wanted him to be part of that decision.) We had wonderful cheerful help, and it wasn’t long at all until THE GOWN was found. There were only minimum alterations needed, and it would be indeed ready for the date. Amazing! If the right gown wasn’t available, it could have taken weeks between ordering and delivery.
Side Note: This is an interesting point about the gown: In thinking about possible “jihad” trouble in the near future, I expressed to the owner that as soon as it was available after alterations, I would like to bring it home. (Of course I didn’t vocally express any reasons for this. I just kept these thoughts to myself at all times. If expressed, I knew most people would’ve thought I was crazy, except individuals awake to the times we are now in. I believed the majority of people to be in a strong “normalcy bias” mode.) The Bridal Shop employees assured me that I could do as I pleased, but they highly recommended that the gown be kept in their “steam room” until the day before the wedding. This was so that the gown would be assured of being “without spot or wrinkle” for the actual Wedding Day!
One day, Jim surprised me by walking out in his Wedding Attire. I thought he looked perfectly wonderful. He wore a dark blue three piece suit with a white shirt. His tie was best of all. It was dark blue with gold crosses and phrases “I love Jesus” appearing all over the tie. He picked it himself and did a great job. The Best Man suggested the restaurant for the Wedding Dinner, which I will from now on call “The Wedding Supper.”
The restaurant was right across from the Bridal Shop. It was beautiful on the inside and out, and extremely creatively decorated with wonderful ambience. There was a perfect rectangular room on the far side. They required 15-25 people to reserve it. Well, we had 16, so that was great! As providence would have it, the room was not reserved for the three hours we needed it (6p.m.-9p.m.) on Sunday, February 21, 2016. We were amazed at how quickly and easily everything was just falling into place. We were in quite a “time crunch,” but in every instance, all obstacles simply did not exist!
There was a little stationery store right near the Bridal Shop and Wedding Supper Location. The owners were so accommodating and friendly, as was every person that we dealt with. We felt as if we had supernatural favor with every one of them! In the stationery shop, we enjoyed purchasing Place-cards with each guest name for the Wedding Supper. These would be placed ahead of time by the Restaurant staff in the exact places that we had indicated on the Seating Chart which we handed them. Jim and I both loved to read. We purchased enough book markers for each guest in green ink (with an Irish Shamrock symbol on each at the top). The bookmarks included a beautiful poem of appreciation for their attendance and also included our names,(which meant my changed name to MRS.D– AMEN! and Wedding Date at the bottom. The last item was the purchase of “Thank-you Notes” which would be needed to acknowledge the gifts, even though in our minds no gifts were necessary.
We were surprised that the owner of the stationery shop gave us many more of these items (extras) than we had paid for. Once again, we were experiencing “favor”! Every shop that we visited was within three miles of our home. We didn’t have to spend time in long trips to acquire what we needed. It was all so convenient! Also, dealing with each shop-owner proved to be a perfectly delightful experience.
Our Best Man secured a Photographer from the Parish. I had met him several times before and thought he was a wonderful person. Best of all, he had strong convictions about a Pro-life stand, and he worked actively in the movement to protect the rights of unborn children. We were both excited to have “Bill” as our photographer for those reasons!
We enjoyed selecting the 4 Readings for the Wedding, and we had chosen a wonderful married couple to read two selections each. They were very good friends, as well as warm, hospitable, and loving people of the Catholic faith. They were retired Professors from the nearby University. We made certain that they each had readable copies well ahead of time. Their names: Marilyn and John.
I had previously shared Faye Aldridge’s “Real Messages from Heaven-Book 2” with Marilyn. She enjoyed it so much, that I offered her Book 1 in addition. When Book 3 came out in June of 2015, I gave Marilyn a copy. She absolutely loved it, and was eagerly sharing it with her son. I was very pleased about that!
I neglected to comment that ours was to be a Wedding Ceremony and not a “Mass” since I had never been of the Catholic faith. Jim also understood ahead of time that I was very happy at Covenant Messiah Church, and knew that I had no intentions of “converting” to his faith of origin. He was fine with that.
As I mentioned before, he just loved and respected me no matter what, it seemed. I felt the same way about him, too. Besides, we both knew that it wasn’t about “religion,” but an on-fire personal RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. We both had that!
We chose the readings that we both really loved, which would be used during our ceremony.
This is one of the Scriptural references for the readings:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a –
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous;
love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own, is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails . . “
Very soon, we met our appointment to complete the required and previously scheduled F.O.C.C.U.S. Survey. “F.o.c.c.u.s.” is an acronym for “Facilitating open couple communication, understanding, and study.” We both looked forward to this experience! We went to the home of Scott and Kathy. We took a 178 question survey, each separately.
There were no right or wrong answers, but it was a survey to indicate compatibility and areas that may need discussion ahead of time or in an ongoing way in order to prevent problems. We actually did very well. Of course, we were able to skip over a lot of difficult categories such as career, in-laws, etc. Kathy and Scott felt that the F.o.c.c.u.s. Survey and Pre-Cana Training facilitation were their “calling.” Prior to our interview, they had done this for over 500 couples in the past 15 years. About 5 of the couples decided not to marry afterward. They had seen what looked like insurmountable areas of firm disagreement ahead of time. Praise the Lord! “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Also, in questioning Scott and Kathy about this survey, I found that there are versions available for many of the denominations. There is a survey for couples that are on the verge of divorce, and there is one for a check-up on existing marriages. We had a wonderful informative time with Scott and Kathy, and I sincerely respected this form of pre-marital counseling. I wished I could share it with every church in America!
Okay. There are two more things to mention:
1.) The Flowers- The Holy Spirit had impressed on me one morning in the beginning days of planning- to order a white Bride’s Bible and have that decorated with flowers to carry (instead of just flowers). You’ll see that in the pictures later, and have most likely seen it in Linda’s opening post announcing this series. The owner of the shop said that he had only every heard of one similar request.
Once, a Bride had wanted to carry a large family Bible with flowers on top of it. He said that he might have hesitated to answer my request in the affirmative, except he knew from that experience that it could be done! My flowers were to be cascading down, however.
I wanted those Big gold letters, “HOLY BIBLE” to be seen by all. It reflected my heart. So, thank-you Jesus, things continued to fall into place flawlessly!
2.) The Cake- It was a simple small cake to be decorated simply with our Wedding Scripture theme: “Hosea 2:19” and “Jim and Peggy.”
Side Note: Toward the second week of February, I was in touch by e-mail with someone I hadn’t met in person, but perceived to be a very fine Believer named “Jolie” from California. (I had read many of her online Christian blog responses and spoken with her on national prayer lines twice.) She wrote back, “how could I pray for you?” I hadn’t asked for prayer, but it appeared that Jolie was gifted as a prayer warrior and intercessor. I took advantage of that opportunity and asked if she could pray if our February Wedding would actually happen due to the “bloodshed” predictions that I kept seeing for the month. Jolie prayed about it and e-mailed me back the next day. Her response was, “The Lord says that your wedding will happen. Praise the Lord!” (Thank-you Jolie for that wonderful affirmation.) Alleluia, Amen!
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:7)
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