“Every good and perfect gift is from above,” James 1:17.
The wedding was a perfect gift. Not a perfect day, but a perfect gift.
Who would have known a little bride in a $24 dollar thrift store dress could be so beautiful.
I start with the dress so I can explain the love here.
Honestly, I can’t remember the exact day when Lacy brought home her thrift store dress, but I remember the look on her face, so hurt and yet so hopeful. I remember the knife in my chest because our daughter had a broken heart and was aching so badly back then.
“I bought my wedding dress today,” she told me.
“Who are you marrying,” I asked, knowing it was so over with that boy who broke her heart. Lacy knew it too. “I don’t know,” she said, and then the tears hit like a hurricane.
I pulled Lacy into my arms, the dress crushed between us, and I said with fierce faith, “God knows who you’re marrying. Let’s pray for him.” And then we prayed for Lacy’s future husband, Jake on his own bumpy road headed our way. We didn’t know Jake yet. These two wouldn’t meet for another year.
When Lacy and Jake got engaged this past spring, it surprised me that Lacy didn’t want to go dress shopping for a new gown. “I have my dress already,” she said with the sweetest smile on her face and tears in her eyes.
“You do have your dress,” I said. “It’s lacey like you.” Then I teared up too.
This dress is ready for a resurrection. Just like you, I thought to myself. Just like Jake. But I didn’t say this to Lacy, instead, I took the dress into my hands and said, “Let’s take it to the cleaners.”
We added a longer under slip and had the dress dry-cleaned and pressed. Lacy’s veil also came from a thrift store in Marysville. There wasn’t much to the veil. I added some lace to the netting and silk flowers to the headpiece. Lacy’s future sister-in-law, Alyssa, in the midst of fixing Lacy’s hair on the day of the wedding, cut the veil in half with my kitchen shears. I think she used my kitchen shears, since she ran to the kitchen, and returned with half a headpiece. Lacy loved it. The pregnant maid of honor, Lacy’s sister Cami, approved it too.
I tell you all this because this story isn’t about a wedding dress. Or even a wedding. It’s about the grace of God. How He takes us and resurrects our lives no matter how dead we’ve become along the way.
Lacy’s bridesmaids were so pretty last Saturday. They chose their own dresses after Lacy said, “Don’t spend much, just get a dress you love in a neutral color. I know at least one of the girls got her dress at a thrift store too and all these girls were so happy for Lacy.
And we made the bridesmaids’ bouquets from the hydrangeas in our yard. My dear friends, Tonya and Kay, helped me. It was a good year for hydrangeas. They must have liked all the rain. My Aunt Marolyn and Cousin Chrissy provided hydrangeas from their yards as well. The flowers were so lovely. The God thing was, I’ve never had white hydrangeas before, but this year one of my light pink hydrangeas turned white on its own. That transformed flower created the bride’s white wedding bouquet.
Kay also made the wedding cake and we topped it with the two little people that adorned Scott and my wedding cake 28 years ago and tiny white roses we picked from the rose bushes that grow around our chicken coop now. My mom planted these bushes 12 years ago from her old bushes that she dug up from her rose garden that is now mostly a mandarin orchard. Oma said the roses would make the chickens smell nice. And they do.
So we had Oma’s resurrected chicken coop roses on the cake. Thanks, Oma for everything you and Opa provided. I also stuck some chicken coop roses in the bride’s bouquet. Opa brought in his tractor and we used the bucket as an ice chest. This really was a farm wedding. And so much help from family and friends made the day amazing.
Since the ceremony was at our house all the groomsmen needed a gun to fight off the rattlesnakes. I’m kidding, we didn’t run into any rattlesnakes during the wedding, thank goodness, but the groomsmen still had their guns, maybe because they’d heard we’d had a rattlesnake coiled on our welcome mat two weeks ago.
The ring bearer, Lacy’s baby brother, ditched his boots and climbed a tree while the groomsmen took pictures.
But our pretty little flower girl, my adorable niece Leah, got Cruz down the aisle in spite of his wedding jitters.
In the end, the ceremony was so special. Lacy and Jake really wanted Pastor Doug to marry them since their first meeting was at Hope Point Church and their first date a Bible study there. It was also Pastor Doug and Tonya’s, the friend who helped with the flowers, 28th wedding anniversary. Pastor Doug did a great job as doves cooed in our redwood trees and dragonflies zoomed around the guests. A friend told me that dragonflies are a sign of death and resurrection. Things reborn.
My friend said, “When I saw the dragonflies, I thought of your family’s loss, and prayed for all of you.”
We needed those prayers. It was hard for our family to do the wedding without Anna. We didn’t take a cousin picture, the first family wedding without gathering the cousins together for a memorable snapshot, but I hugged Anna’s mom hard, and Anna’s sisters, Emily and Bella, too. Anna’s mom and me and the girls took some quiet time away from the reception to hangout in the house looking at family pictures on the walls, talking about heaven, sharing how much we missed Anna.
Anna’s mom and dad loved the story of Lacy’s dress. Anna’s dad’s birthday was just a few days after the wedding. I sent him a little book on the meaning of dragonflies. And told him what my friend told me. God sent the dragonflies to the wedding to remind us there really is a resurrection. That Anna is waiting in heaven for us. I’ve never seen dragonflies this early in our yard. They usually arrive around the 4th of July and their best month is August. Dragonflies always fill our yard in August. It just dawned on me, Anna’s birthday month is August. Yet, by the grace of God, we had dragonflies on June 10th, and I cried some tears in the house over Anna before joining the happy reception.
I told you the wedding wasn’t perfect. Life on earth isn’t perfect. Life is sometimes brutal and sometimes beautiful, sometimes on the same day.
But the wedding was a gift. An amazingly wonderful, beautiful gift. A gift I still am savoring a week later. The truth is, that dress could have died in a thrift store. Never worn again. Never loved again, but here it is in a field of love because God’s love resurrects us.