My sister was kind enough to accompany us to help watch our little man alongside Ross, and this weekend included the longest stretches of time I've ever been away from my baby since he joined this world outside of my body! Haha!
We got to stay at The Westin hotel, which I would highly recommend if you've never stayed at a Westin property before if for no other reason than.......wait for it......
They have Starbucks coffee. In your room. With liquid creamer. It's complimentary. It's also in the lobby in case you've downed the first cup from your room by the time the elevator reached the lobby (which I'm not saying happened). This fact alone meant that the Westin pretty much nailed it in trying to impress me, even though their staff was also amazing and were so kind to us. Plus, they're pet friendly, so that is also a bonus as someone who LOVES her furbabies to pieces!
But, back to the wedding! If you follow me on Instagram (which I'd love for you to, naturally!), you saw some of these awesome photos from this weekend!
Of course, my BFF looked more beautiful than I've ever seen her! Her blue eyes popped like you cannot imagine. Her forever love cried as she came down the aisle to join her life with his. The entire hour-long Catholic mass was filled with him giving her loving looks and funny faces, and it was amazing to see the pure love and joy that was radiating from both of them.
Ross and I also got a little bit of time to spend together, just the two of us, (these moments are definitely precious and few but cherished nonetheless).
And, as I always do when I'm attending, planning and coordinating, or participating in a wedding, I take my time to really listen when the pastor (or Father, in this case) speaks during the ceremony. You see, if you're married and you only attend a wedding to see the love in the couples' eyes and see the big kiss, you're really missing a huge opportunity. Weddings are the perfect time to reflect on your own marriage and mentally recommit yourself to the person and to the life that you chose.
In this ceremony, Father said something that I really loved and wanted to pass on. Many times, the wedding rings are given their moment in the sun in a wedding ceremony by discussing their circular shape, which has no beginning and no end. I'm sure you've heard that before. Of course, they are also noted for being the outward symbol of your commitment to your spouse and also of the covenant the two of you made with the Lord when you chose to say, "I do." Both of these things are true, so I definitely do not want to devalue their sentiments!
What Father said that I had never heard in a wedding ceremony before, but absolutely felt in my spirit was this: the wedding rings and the cross have something very important in common. Jesus used the cross to tell the world: "Here is my life. Take it. It's yours." When you choose to enter into the sacred covenant that is marriage with someone, you give them a wedding ring and you also accept a wedding ring from them. In this exchange, each of you are saying: "Here is my life. Take it. It's yours." Just as Jesus laid His life down for you and me (and we have the cross as the constant reminder of His love and sacrifice), so too must we lay our lives down for our spouses. When you choose to get married, your life is no longer just about you. It is about the new family that has been created, and selfishness has no place anymore.
The other point Father made that really resonated with me is that your wedding rings are not silly pieces of materialism. They aren't meant to just be pretty. They aren't meant just as an outward symbol to others that you are taken by someone else. The wedding rings themselves should be the reminder of another person to YOU - the person you chose to spend your life with. When you look at your wedding rings, you should see your spouse. Every single time.
This is why it is vital to consistently wear your wedding rings. When they're sitting in a ring dish beside the sink or tucked away in your jewelry box, they're not serving their purpose. When you look down at your bare hands, it's easy to revert to thinking only of yourself or focusing on what you are capable of alone.
Is this not the exact opposite of the point of marriage? It is the same with the cross. When you look at the cross, you shouldn't see a wooden structure. When you look at the cross, you should see Jesus. Every single time. When you refuse to acknowledge the cross and the weight of its power in your life, it's easy to revert to thinking only of yourself or focusing on what you are capable of alone. Is that way of thinking not the exact opposite of the power of the gospel?
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Wedding rings and the cross are the only two things that are symbolic of another person, and this commonality is what makes them each so special. They are symbols of selflessness and love in a world filled with the "me-me-me" mentality and hatred. So, I hope you can take this little nugget that I gleaned from the wedding with you today and let it soak in. May you be uplifted and encouraged in your marriage, and may you also be challenged whether that's in changing your way of thinking or whether it's in practicing discipline in being more intentional about wearing your rings and allowing them to convict your heart. I would also challenge you to continually make the cross a focus in your life - don't save your acknowledgement of it for Resurrection Sunday every year. The power of what Jesus did for you is relevant every single second of every single day. And, if you enjoyed this post, please share it with someone! As I always say, when you find a good thing, do your best to give it away! :)