It’s been a big week at our house: Five years ago, Talia and Jimmy were married. On the same exact day two years later, Laney Lu arrived! Then one year ago, on Aunt Sally’s birthday, Milley arrived, just four days after her sister. Some of you will remember the story about Tal’s wedding, and even five years later, I cannot remember her wedding day without a hurt in my stomach. You see, I did a stupid thing that resulted in a snowball from hell that began rolling over this wedding celebration. We had everything planned, lists and lists, everything down to the last detail. But see, in the details are people. And sometimes people fail. They don’t always mean to, but sometimes they just do.
We left the house with ten bridesmaids, two bridal gowns (one for the reception), and when we arrived at our destination, no one (including me) even thought about my gown, the one we had all walked by hanging right by the back door. It wasn’t until time to put it on that the wide-eyed looks began to occur, the “Did you get it?” “Did you see it?” “Where did we put it?” began. By then, we were close to an hour out from the wedding, at a venue almost an hour from our home. Thank the Lord, one of the flower girls’ fathers hadn’t left Ripley yet, so he ran by our house to get it. Easy fix – thank you, God! All else was perfect – we had a sunny, warm dry October day, just what we had prayed for!
The dress arrives right as it was time to line up. I was ready. Hop in it, zip it up, turn to get into line, and I feel it begin to split down the middle of my back. This is a floor length gown. It is now locked together at the top of the zipper and the bottom of the zipper, and the back is gaped wide open for about 15 inches. The girls begin to try to sew me up with orange thread (on a brown dress – but at that point, who really cares??). The sewing is taking too long, and I know my daughter who has dreamed of this wedding day her whole life and has been the most unBridezilla bride I had ever seen, patient and easy to deal with in the whole planning, was about to lose it. I said, “Come on, just forget it – I’ll go down the aisle like this!” One of the girls grabs a chair tie that was gold, wraps it around my gaping hole, ties a bow, and we have redesigned my gown, “repurposed” it, you might say. Down the aisle I go with the groom’s mother.
We reach the area for the candle lighting by the mothers, and the wind is blowing so hard, the tablecloth is practically standing on end and barely holding on to the table, upon which there are candlesticks AND NO CANDLES! The decorator forgot them….Thank goodness, Jimmy’s mother is a saint, so good-natured. She and I just laughed – the crowd laughs with us. And I’m thinking, “Okay, we’ve had our two bad things – we’re good to go.” That’s what you get for thinking. Talia comes around the corner in a horse-drawn carriage, the flower girls dance down the aisle whispering, “The bride is coming, the bride is coming,” the sun was shining, all was just gorgeous. She makes her way to James, and the ceremony begins.
The wind had been blowing quite fiercely, but once the ceremony began, you could really tell it had mischief under its wings. The sound system begins to screech and wail and crackle, and you cannot hear a word through the racket. Talia’s veil begins to pull and tug at its bearings and eventually is ripped from her head and flies out into the field. Talia and Jimmy had a song they were going to surprise all of us with, and they weren’t able to sing it. Eventually the preacher just yelled through the ceremony so everyone could hear. It was still beautiful, what you could hear. The DJ and sound man was highly overpaid, and he had not tested the wireless mics at all, because he flew in there last minute. He ended up totally ignoring the dance song list and all his other instructions at the reception, and Talia was incensed when she found out I paid him. We really did end up with no usable video of the ceremony because of the screeching, and I took some off of his bill, but there was no amount that was going to recover our beautifully-planned ceremony.
There were other things that went wrong, like at every wedding, but by then, we just had to laugh. I mean, it was like the devil had gotten into the mix and once that snowball of my dress began to roll, things just piled on until it was more than you could even imagine. We barely got Talia through the reception without a total meltdown of disappointment and horror that her dream day had gone so wrong. Thank God, five years later, the marriage is good and the wedding day is but a good story to tell in the vein of “You think your wedding day was bad??” We did find some crazy videos after her wedding where people had fainted or the rain had just poured or lightning struck, or all kinds of unimaginable things that made our problems seem like nothing.
I remember telling Tal later that I wondered what God was trying to teach us. Did we need to care less about what other people thought? Because isn’t a wedding really a “show” that you invite your friends and family to, a little play to participate in? Maybe we needed to learn the lesson that we should only care what God thinks and not whether other people approve of us or not. Talia has always been my “say it when she shouldn’t say it” child, like telling me she was NEVER going to be a preacher’s wife and have to wear a house dress her entire life! Or nor was she going to put her life in God’s hands because He might just call her to be a missionary, and she wasn’t doing that!
And the real kicker is that as she battled God for 23 years, doing it her way, it wasn’t until she truly laid it down before Him and said, “Take me, I’m yours – do what You will with me” that she met the love of her life and really knew what true happiness was. The morning after, as she is crying and talking about how humiliating her wedding was, she never once – NOT ONCE – blamed me for starting the disasters or for not planning better or doing more or any of those things. I then said to her that I wondered what God was wanting us to learn from this, and she says – just like Tal – “Mom, do you think JUST ONE TIME God could let me NOT learn a lesson from my life? Like perhaps on my wedding day???” I had to laugh. I guess you do get a free pass on your wedding day, or your birthday perhaps….
And why am I telling this story? Because this week being busy for our family celebrating things, it has also been busy in our country, with the last debate and all the ruckus surrounding and following it. And I think to myself: I STILL feel shame over how I messed up my daughter’s wedding day. I can’t think of her wedding without feeling bad. And yes, I didn’t do it on purpose, but it happened, and I did it, and I’m ashamed that I did it. Where, I ask you, is the SHAME in this country? We have two OLD adults running for the most important position in the entire world, and neither of them has any sense of shame – not a shred! And isn’t shame where we begin with repentance? Remember in the garden, Adam and Eve, once they sinned, realized they were naked, and the Bible says they were filled with shame. All through the Word of God, we read of how people were ashamed of their actions and they repented. THAT is what is missing in this country!
Parents, it is not being hard on your children to teach them that there are things you DO NOT DO. God has given you these children, and it is your DUTY to raise them to fear the Lord, to respect their elders and people in authority, not to run around like hellions spewing curse words and violent acts, thinking the world revolves around them. There are things in this world that are black and white, and there are things that are right and wrong. And when you do wrong, you need to be ashamed, and you need to seek forgiveness – not just from the person you wronged, but from God Almighty. THIS is how we receive peace and the joy that makes life worth living.
Thank God for forgiveness and the cleansing it brings – from people and from Him! LET’S BRING SHAME AND REPENTANCE BACK, AMERICA!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.