Glory to God

God has purposes far beyond our own comprehension. And sometimes, you can see exactly what His vision is and not feel like you even deserve to be a part of it.

Ever since April, Ben and I have been on a wild journey with God. We have seen miracles, signs, wonders, peace, struggle, confusion, and everything in between. But nothing and no one could ever prepare us for what is going on right now.

We have always known that our story is not exactly the "American dream". We haven't dated for 2 years. We aren't waiting until after college to get married. Ben didn't ask my dad for permission. Our families didn't jump up and down when we got engaged. We don't have full time jobs. We don't have financial stability.

In most people's eyes, we are totally out of our minds crazy. And I admit, I agree. But God has had a vision for both of us that seriously cannot be shaken, despite multiple attempts by others and ourselves.

In April, I told Ben after our first date that I couldn't date him unless he was willing and wanted to jump on a very fast train headed I don't know where with me. I think he knew exactly what I was talking about because God had been moving him too.

Since then, Ben and I have seen God shape us and change us and bring us close. In July, we got engaged and our entire world changed. I had a vision for my life, but now I was thinking about our life.

Ben and I planned our wedding for May of 2010. We had the date, the place, the time, everything... and then God closed the door HARD. So we started over and we thought, "Oh! Let's get married July 4th! That's when we got engaged!" The excitement started all over again and we couldn't have been more thrilled.

Then my old boss and dear mentor, Jeff Davidson, told me and Ben that we should get married in December of this year. We both laughed and just shrugged it off. (Hint: When God speaks through godly people...you may want to listen)

We then realized that Ben's old boss's husband and good friend of ours told Ben even before we were dating that he gave us 8 months until we were married (our wedding is 8 months and 2 days after our first date!). Once again, we just laughed and let it go.

During Vision Weekend at The River, God put a huge boulder in front of us. We both felt God saying "December, december, december..." and we broke down. We thought, "Ok, how is this going to work? And how many people are we going to make mad? And how are we going to provide for ourselves before we graduate? Where are we going to live? How would we have a wedding so close to my sisters' weddings?" etc, etc, etc.

Then the greatest peace that I've ever experienced took over any worry or concern I felt.

Ben and I surrendered our plans and our hopes so that God could start to work.

And yes, we have probably hurt some people because of our wedding. We know that this has not been easy for people and that this isn't what's easy for us either. If it were the "right" way, we would wait until after Ben graduates and do this when it's the "right" time.

We started planning our wedding the last week of October with a very small budget and limited resources of our own, but we told God that if December was when we were supposed to get married that God would provide.

Since we prayed, here is what God has done.

For the wedding:

-my family has voiced concern, but is supporting us

-Ben's family has voiced concern, but is supporting us

-decorations have been donated

-veil & shoes were given to me

-tuxedos got $20 off of each one and Ben's for free

-free invitation designs

-20% off printing invitations

-my dress was ordered on a Friday and came in 5 days later

-we got half off of our reception site

-we got the cleaning fees waived

-we got our flowers for half off

-we have someone doing music for free

-someone volunteered to alter my dress

For our life:

-Ben's parents have decided to pay for Ben's car insurance until he graduates

-it just so happens that our school money that we get back next semester is EXACTLY enough to pay for our rent from Jan-May

-our parents have shown us so much wisdom and encouragement

Here's the big thing. We knew that once January came, we would have rent covered. But how in the world are we going to pay for December?? We are both broke and don't see a silver lining for miraculously making $900.

So the prayer began.

We prayed about our property manager, what kind of place we wanted to live, in an area, for a vision and boy did God deliver!!!

Our property manager is a strong believer, young, a newly wed, and a church planter! The house is the perfect size. It is safe. And God gave us a vision for what He wants us to do there. It's not the vision that I thought it would be and it's not exactly what everyone else is doing either, but it's what we are handed.

We have a deposit due Thursday for the house. Last Saturday, Ben and I prayed that the $300 would be there if we were meant to get the house. Well, it just so happens that we got $200 cash at our wedding shower and that Ben was blessed with $100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We were on top of world and absolutely shocked at what God has done! But the worry of another $600 being due in three weeks shook us. So Ben and I just prayed.

God surely answered.

Yesterday my dear friend Jessica Dunlop called me and said, "Wow Amy, I'm so excited you got your deposit! But I have to tell you something..." Jessica rallied people together and in two days we have received $600 and our rent is PAID!!!!!!

Ben and I cannot even being to express the emotions running through us right now.

But I'm going to be quite frank. Ben and I don't deserve this money. We don't understand why this has all happened. We've been struggling with sin, distant from where God wants us, and selfish. Yet God is opening door after door after door for December to fall together perfectly.

We grieved this yesterday.

But what we learned is the gospel. Nothing we do or have done or will do can ever break God's plan. No, we don't deserve the vision He has given us and the amazing gifts that we have received, but the truth of the matter is... no one and nothing can punish us for our problems and we can't fix what we've done. More than anything, we want to. We both want to feel like we did something to make it right. We felt like we had to give up something or give something back in order to feel forgiveness.

The early church gave up everything they had for people who were in need. People that messed up. People that didn't even know they were messed up. God is bigger than our failures and He wants US to carry out His hope. Ben and I are absolutely overwhelmed and amazed at what God did through our friends, our family, and His body. I know that this is all a small (but HUGE) stepping stone to whatever God has for us next. I cannot believe that we serve a God that would take two small people like me and Ben and to care enough to provide for us and to help us succeed.

THANK YOU for being the Church. THANK YOU for listening to Him. THANK YOU for believing in Him enough to believe in us. THANK YOU for showing us that He is all you need.

"What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again."

-Ecclesiastes 3: 9-15

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