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I just cried at a stranger’s wedding

Are weddings not about knowing the bride and groom personally? If so, how silly is it that I went through YouTube videos of weddings and shed literal tears. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. However, I do not think my tears came from knowing the couple but from knowing the covenant to which they were becoming one.

What beautiful earthly representation of the gospel in one of the most personal and intimate forms!

There is something so sweet about the covenant of marriage. Where two become  one flesh underneath the blessing of God. The bible actually gives many references to the wedding experience, Jesus representing the groom and the Church representing the bride. As Ephesians 5:23-24 reads, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” What beautiful earthly representation of the gospel in one of the most personal and intimate forms!

Though vows are pure expressions of love, my favorite part of each YouTube video is the husband’s reaction to the sight of their bride. For many grooms, the bride’s entrance into the church is the first time they see their girl in “the dress”. Many months of preparation; many years of dating; many hours spent pursuing…the song plays, the crowd stands and the bride finally appears. The groom stands in awe of their soulmate. One guy stated, “I felt like the luckiest man on earth.” Such humility and splendor in one moment! As tears flowed from his eyes, the bride smiled because she knew he adored her. Maybe before the wedding she doubted, but in this moment, she felt assured of his love for her.

A wedding is to celebrate with loved ones as they stand witness to the greatest of all gifts: love (1 Cor. 13:13). Though I sobbed while living vicariously through each maid of honor with my best friend as the bride, I knew my heart melted for a greater reason. God gives us this beautiful picture of marriage not for romance novels and hopeless dreaming, but to bring glory to himself! Marriage is a choice to bind to another in love through sacrifice and commitment. In the same way, Jesus Christ chose to bind to us in love through sacrificing his life and committing himself to us.

When Jesus returns, he will be waiting at the altar for his bride to arrive! As these grooms lost it at the sight of their bride, my imagination still cannot fathom my Savior’s reaction as he sees the Church standing in the glory of Our Father. The greatest sacrifice of all was at Calvary. Jesus has already proposed, how will we answer?

Can’t stop, won’t stop

This is our house. This is our rules.

Ever since we were kids, adults have never failed to ask us the dreaded question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We never fail to answer with an over-sized, grandiose imagination, “Doctor…football player…tooth fairy…firefighter!” I mean, we really do believe with all of our heart that we will fulfill our wildest imaginations. Nothing stands in the way. And then, we start to grow up. As adolescence approaches, our imagination diminishes. We lose sight, then ultimately lose hope. What was once a goal with hopes to achieve becomes a dream that disappears at the sound of the alarm. We say “reality has set in”, but who says that is our reality?

Who can think about their dreams when life has to be dealt with?

Way too often I hear stories of people settling because the rollercoaster of life took an unexpected turn. A high-school teen finds out she’s pregnant her upcoming senior year. A college couple suffered a messy breakup and decides to transfer schools. A single dad going back to school fails his first two college exams. A married couple just finds out they had a miscarriage. A middle-class family loses their primary source of income due to a recession. These are not easy to bounce back from. In fact, any ounce of security and stability are snatched at once. Who can think about their dreams when life has to be dealt with?

Hands down, life gets tough, but it should not be at the expense of our aspirations. I have faced many obstacles along the path of getting an education. Nothing was ever given to me, and competition with other students was inescapable. There was always someone smarter, better qualified and more favorable than me. Aside from college problems, the storms of life never seemed to subside either. Relationships were rocky. Finances were never sufficient. Eating habits were shameful. If my aspirations of getting a degree were based on my circumstances, peers or qualifications, then I would’ve tapped out a long time ago.

Nevertheless, we were given a life with desires that lead us to our purpose. God has given us the gift of free-will with a variety of choices to choose from. When life body slams us, we can lay there helplessly or remember the hope we have in Christ.

This life is our temporary house. Our reality falls underneath the rules that we choose to follow. We can’t stop because our house has a few leaks. We won’t stop because we know that reality is only as we perceive it.

Rascal Flatts encourages us best in this, “And if one door opens to another door closed, I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window.”

Weave doesn’t mean insecure

There are so many rumors linking weave with insecurity. In the same light, those who wear weave are likely made to defend their natural hair length. I know plenty of black women who rock their 20-inch sew-ins with the best grade of hair underneath! I have also witnessed black women who regularly wear box-braids that could have the same style with their natural hair. Listen here ladies, if you want to pay the money to buy your weave, you should be able to wear it confidently and comfortably without the constant feedback from others.

We are blessed to have the grade of hair that is versatile enough to do several styles. It’s about time we embrace who we are in confidence. If a guy tells you that he doesn’t want a woman with weave, but who embraces her natural hair…you tell him to go to cosmetology school to either do your hair or pay for all of the products needed to maintain it. People on the outside looking in will never understand the lengths we go through to look simply presentable. Besides, if wearing braids throughout the year will keep our hair protected and healthy, then braids it is!

“Anyone would be insecure if her supposed silk press turns into a fro after three minutes outside”

However, if you are insecure about your hair which many people are, find out your grade and curl pattern and educate yourself! I didn’t know how to manage my hair until college, and I am still learning. Hair is never about the style but the woman who rocks it. Not all of us were meant to have the straight, roll-out-of-bed, heat-resistant grade of hair. So, when us 4c girls try to mimic that, we end up applying excessive heat that damages our hair. Anyone would be insecure if her supposed silk press turns into a fro after three minutes outside.

I’ve pitied myself for too long desiring the “perfect grade” of hair. I’ve applied perms and texturizers to make my curls more loose and ultimately more desirable by others. Weave serves me well the majority of the time because it protects, lasts and slays! Whether it’s weave or natural, God knows the exact number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). Let’s be confident in who God created us to be, with whatever hair grade he chose for us.