Tag Archives: love

Our Engagement Story

[Taken from our wedding website]

DSC_0700.jpgFrom the moment Griffin saw Rachel, he knew she was special. After their first date, Griffin made a note to himself: “I am going to marry this girl.” Just 8 months later, the two had fallen in love, learning much about love, sacrifice, repentance, and commitment even in that short period of time. This is the story of their engagement.

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Rachel had become suspicious. For a couple of months, she and Griffin had been talking seriously about marriage. In that time, the engagement had become an inevitability. This was a problem for Griffin.Griffin is a man who loves surprises. There had not been a single date in the entirety of their relationship where Rachel was told the plan. Griffin would tell Rachel when to be ready and how to dress, but otherwise every date was a complete surprise. That made the certainty of the engagement a problem: how do you surprise someone you have been in serious talks about marriage with for months?

Rachel’s suspicions began in November. She and Griffin had discussed rings, but he had made it clear that no ring would be purchased until the end of the year or later. He constantly hinted at an early to late February engagement, but Rachel knew he wouldn’t be able to make it that long. Griffin is not a naturally patient man, nor is he able to pass up sentimental seasons like Christmas. But she didn’t know when. The calendar had begun filling up. The only open date she knew of was December 10, and Griffin had asked her to go see the Nutcracker that day. Griffin had made a comment about the 2:30 show being “the best one”–which of course is untrue (the night show is the best!)–and so Rachel had become convinced that they would be getting engaged that evening. Not only that, a friend (Melissa Munn) had asked Rachel that week to get their nails done together for Melissa’s graduation. Rachel wasn’t buying it.

Melissa went into crisis mode. She called Griffin and told him that Rachel is onto them. So Griffin met the problem head on. The week of the engagement, Griffin asked Rachel, “Do you think we are getting engaged after the nutcracker?” Rachel blushed and sheepishly admitted she did, so Griffin informed her that this was not the case. She shouldn’t get her expectations up. Then they made plans for dinner that night with some friends. Of course, Griffin wasn’t lying. They weren’t getting engaged that night. They were getting engaged that morning.

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The morning of the engagement, Griffin got up early. He drove to a florist and picked up a dozen white roses. From there he drove to Raleigh Avenue Baptist Church where his friend Nic Seaborn had volunteered the beautiful RABC sanctuary for the event. He met Nic there, as well as Hillary Dickey (Rachel’s roommate) who would photograph the event. It was beautiful. They set up the sanctuary for the proposal, and Griffin laid out the “supplies”: a new Bible for Rachel, the flowers, the ring, and a letter. A letter was an important part of their relationship. During a short breakup early on, Griffin had written a letter to Rachel that brought them back together. That letter had implied how much he loved her. This letter would tell her.

Griffin got back in his car to pick Rachel up. Then he turned around, because he left the ring at the church instead of in his pocket. Then he got back in the car to pick her up. Rachel was ready when he got there (Hallelujah!) and they got in the car. The plan was for Nic to call Griffin and tell him to swing by the church and get a book. Nic calls. Griffin says he’ll swing buy. But then, Rachel and her wonderful curiosity kicks in.

“Do we have to get the book now?” Yes.

“We’ll be late for lunch!” No, we won’t.

“I’ll just stay in the car then.” You are not going to be rude to my friend. (Griffin begins to panic.)

“Why is he at the church on a Saturday anyway?” He’s setting up for Advent things tomorrow.

“Advent started last week.” *silence from Griffin*

At this point Griffin realized he only had to drive 5 minutes without letting the cat out of the bag and he is failing. Rachel, who is wearing a beautiful ring of her Mammy’s, slipped her ring off her finger and put it in her purse. Griffin fell silent.

They get to the church and walk into the foyer of the sanctuary. Griffin stopped Rachel and grabbed her by the hand: “Rachel. I love you.” Rachels eyes got huge and she nods. I love you too. Griffin took Rachel by the hand and began to walk her up the left aisle where a small pew had been set up between the Christmas tree and the communion table.

“Nic isn’t here, is he?” No, baby. Nic isn’t here.

Griffin walked Rachel to the pew and sat her down there. “Hillary is taking pictures in the balcony. Don’t look at her, look at me.” Rachel nodded. Griffin walked over to the table and picked up the letter. He sat beside Rachel on the pew and read to her as they both laughed and cried while Griffin retold fun times they had, and told her of all the reasons he loves her. Griffin stood and walked back to the table and left the letter there. He picked up the Bible and walked back to Rachel. Squatting before her, he told her of the life he wanted with her serving the Lord together, and then he read to her Psalm 34:3:

“Magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

After reading it, Griffin set the Bible on the pew and asked Rachel to stand.Rachel stood, and as she did Griffin reached into his back pocket and pulled out the ring box. He went to one knee, and asked Rachel to marry him. Rachel quickly said yes, and Griffin quickly stood and kissed her. They stood in a long embrace until finally Griffin said, “Would you like to see your ring?” He put the ring on her finger and they began to celebrate! He told her all about her new Bible, ring, and engagement setup, and Hillary took them for a proposal photoshoot right then.

After an hour or so, they went to have a celebratory lunch with their parents. Then they spent the afternoon together where they called friends, reminisced, and prayed together for their marriage. That night, nearly 75 friends and family gathered together to celebrate them at a dear friend’s home who volunteered to throw the party. It was a full day, but it was a perfect day.

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Griffin and Rachel aren’t perfect, but they are perfect together. They are in love, but not the sort of love that flutters up and down depending on the day. Their relationship is marked by mistakes, victories, failures, forgiveness, repentance, celebration, laughter, and friendship. They can not wait to celebrate this love with their closest friends and family members on April 29. Regardless of the weather, the food, or the festivities, it will be a perfect day. Why? Because it will be the day that God unites Griffin and Rachel for a life together, exalting Jesus and serving one another.

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I Am Not the Holy Spirit

This post originally appeared at Borrowed Light.

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There’s something to be said for not saying anything.

In a church culture where cliches, cool quips, and candor are the currency, silence is most often seen as only deficiency. Add in a passion for theology, a thirst to see people grow in Christ, and a sprinkle of immaturity and the problem multiplies. Silence isn’t golden.

Except sometimes it is.

1 Corinthians 2:2-7 reads:

For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

Paul doesn’t represent the quivering silence of cowardice here. Rather, he represents the silence of wisdom. To the unwise, he is silent on lofty matters. To the childish, he delivers food for children. He doesn’t choke them on big thoughts and force feed them epistemology. No– Paul is like the true shepherd Jesus. He gives the children that pure spiritual milk of Jesus. And like Jesus, he does so with humility. It’s with “fear and trembling” that Paul delivers to his people the word of God.

And yet, weak as he was, there was power in it. There was power that comes from God, “the demonstration of the Spirit”. Paul didn’t withhold wisdom from the wise (1 Corinthians 2:7), but he didn’t impose it on the unwise. Rather, he gave them what they needed: Christ and him crucified.

Have you ever been in a Bible study where you dominated the conversation? Have you ever gone home and thought, “I wish I had said less”? Worse yet, have you ever thought, “I wish others had said more?” Many of us who are pastors and ministers of various kinds fail in this way. In my life I have often failed to nourish those who are children in the faith. I have often run off at the mouth like I was giving a theological treatise. I have often told long stories about God working in my life that built myself up but didn’t build others up much at all.

What hope is there for those of us who struggle like that? What can we do?

Trust in God. A friend of mine taught me to go to a Bible study saying this to myself: “I am not the Holy Spirit.” When you know that you aren’t the Holy Spirit, you know that God doesn’t need you to speak for others to learn. When you know that you aren’t the Holy Spirit, you can begin to trust the Holy Spirit to teach others.

That’s not to say that you won’t say anything. The Holy Spirit of God does not produce cowardice or a spirit of fear that we may say too much. But the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. When we trust the Spirit and love our neighbor, we see what Paul taught the Corinthians: what is best for the church isnot that everyone always exercises their gifts whenever they feel like, even if those gifts are teaching or prophecy.

So, let’s be humble. Let’s work hard to see our small groups and discipleship with young believers thrive. And let’s relinquish our pride and trust the Spirit to point to Christ. He will teach us what to say.

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