[Editor’s note: I started writing this before the wedding but decided to wait to post it. With some editing after the fact, here it is. Thank you all SO SO SO much for joining us in the journey, for those who came to the festivities, for those who helped along the way, for those who tuned in online from near and far, and for all those who cheered us. Don’t stop cheering and we will keep cheering for you too! Love to all.]
I am super excited to get married. Let’s start there. I cannot in any way shape or form dream up a more perfect and beautiful and amazing and Godly man for me than everything that is Rob Wootton. I am in awe of how our lives have flowed together much like a raging river at times and other times like a peaceful rippling brook, getting us ready for what feels right now like crashing oceans. It’s a good thing we both love the ocean.
That said, people who are trying to help us and support us are absolutely awesome and lovely and I am not trying to belittle or seem unappreciative or unenthusiastic in any way. But let’s just get this out there – when you say “well it’s your wedding and you should do whatever you want” I really truly have to bite the inside of my cheek (you can try it – say that to me and then watch the side of my mouth.)
If it were up to me, really truly up to me and me alone and no one else and without care or thought for a single other soul on the planet, we’d be (1) married already, (2) halfway to an undisclosed location for about a year long honeymoon, and (3) not telling you good people about any of it.
Again, please don’t get me wrong. I know you are enthusiastic and almost nearly as excited as we are. I know that you are being supportive and want us to realize that the details will be worked out and everything will come together and at the end of the day we’ll be married. (Another favorite saying that has been bandied about a lot. By our calculations we’ll be married well before the end of the day and you better believe we’ll be looking at our watches.)
But the truth is, this is where it gets sticky. At the end of the day, really, it ISN’T about me or us. It isn’t about “our wedding” and it isn’t really truly about what I want.
One of the very many beautiful things about Rob and me is that we think so much alike and have such a wide common foundation for all of life, the way we approach life and its meaning and our purpose in it. For us, marriage is the greatest single life decision you will ever make. I cannot stress this enough. Marriage – devoting your entire being to another, committing and making a COVENANT to another – carries the weight of a thousand tons on your soul. When you marry, a bond is created and fired in the kilns of heaven.
And you might be like whoa whoa whoa. Chill. And I’d be like no.
I mean it. I mean it mean it. Like how I like him like him. It’s serious and it’s for real and it’s for keeps. There is no watering down, there is no backing out, there is no shopping around for something more, there is no turning back. It is a speeding train and it’s headed straight for us and no one is getting off the track.
Believe me, this wedding could not be more significant for my soul. I know this. I have accepted the entirety, the gravitas, of the situation and I could not be any more convinced of the rightness of this decision, not after all that we have faced and been through already in this short time, not after our entire lives of searching, fruitless searches to borrow Peter Cetera’s words, not after all we have learned, all we have experienced, all we have grieved, all we have enjoyed, all we have to hope for.
And when you are blessed, truly richly blessed, it is often not just for you. There’s a great saying I’ve heard a dear friend use and other pastors use often, when God blesses you, He often doesn’t have you in mind. It’s been used in financial terms – when you have much, you are capable of giving much. When you are in the spotlight, you have the chance to turn the light on others who need the applause. When you get a shot at the microphone, you have the opportunity to praise another. When you are in leadership, you have the privilege to point to others and to serve them well. And in this vein, when you marry the Love God has granted to you, you have the great pleasure of sharing that love, that celebration of all His good gifts, far and wide for the sake of the kingdom.
Now before I start sounding any more grandiose, well too late for that really, we know that we carry with us, inherent, intrinsic to our stories and our very lives, this great call – which incidentally is no more weighty than your great call, whoever you are reading this – and that is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Our lives, this story we have been part of and now weave together, serves one end alone and that is to glorify God. And that isn’t to say that it’s the color scheme of our napkins or the way I walk down the aisle, those are mere reflections of the greater truth of the entire event.
Our story as we stand there together for all to see is to point to the hope we have. For some it is a hope for a redeemed past and a redeemed future, because the present is too broken and full of great sorrow. For others it is a reminder of the great love they have in their lives here and now. For others it is the reminder that all our hearts are only as capable of loving as we have been loved, that freedom to love comes only from acceptance of Love in the shape of Grace. And for all of us it is a reminder that there is One who loves us fully, knows us fully, accepts us fully into His arms, and has chased after us to win us back, redeeming the time, setting us right, making us beautiful.
There is no greater Love than this, that he lays down his life. Marriage is an act of laying down one’s life for the other – giving fully and without hesitation, wanting nothing more than the other person and his good, restoring, emboldening, and freeing that person to live the fullest life possible without fear or shame. That is what a wedding celebrates and solemnly commands of us. And I, Robin Jester, do this willingly without regret or so much as a pause.
To the glory of God.