Love is not proud
My baby brother got married. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to see him as a man. Isn’t this the same boy who would chase me around the house with his underwear? Lock me in the car with him and pass gas until I couldn’t breathe? Scare me to death as I walk down the hall? He’s grown up. He found her.
Love does not boast
And she is amazing! My new sister, with God’s grace, compliments my brother. She brings out the best in him always. She challenges him and encourages him to rise to the occasion to be the man God has called him to be. She’s patient with his shortcomings and praises his strengths. She really is his better half. I’m thankful he married one of my friends.
Love after all
One year ago he matter-of-factly said, “Yes, I love her but I’m not getting married for at least five years.” HA! God had other plans. I remember that day in February my phone rang and my bro’s face popped onto the screen. I was at the bank. “Hey Heth – I’m proposing!!” “TO WHAT?” was my response. Shocked, surprised, jealous, excited… the air was sucked out of my lungs as quickly as the bank teller sucked up my container.
Matters the most
And boy did he propose! It’s one of those that makes all the other guys mad. He blew them out of the water and created quite possibly one of the most incredible, romantic proposals I’ve ever heard of. She said yes. On came the ring. My heart remained divided. I was thrilled for my brother. I loved this girl. Yet, the heart inside of me was still breaking. Only one year prior, my wedding and impending marriage came crashing down in a heap of flames before I even knew what was happening.
Love does not run
I felt numb. Occasionally sparkly, but mostly numb. It seemed like only months earlier my brother would come home from his musical rehearsals and sit on the floor of my room. “Heth… I really like this girl. What do I do? She’s one of my best friends and I don’t want to ruin our friendship. I can’t ask her out. I’m going to ask her out. No, I can’t. I think I really like her. What if we’re better as friends? I don’t want to hurt her…” This went on for a few weeks.
Love does not hide
“KYLE, for Pete’s sake! PLEEEAAASSSEEEE ask her out. If she thinks you’re a dweeb she will say no. Good grief!” I couldn’t handle it anymore! And I am so glad he asked her out. I know now that she does think he’s a dweeb – but he’s a dweeb that she loves!
Love does not keep
I shared their genuine excitement. I also bottled up my grief. Friends of mine were getting married right and left, but this was different. This is my baby brother. I’m the older one. My job is to tell him what to do. (Despite the half-million times Mom said, “Heather… you are NOT his mother – I am.") He was entering territory I had not yet deemed safe for him.
I was thankful that I could be excited from the other side of the country. I don’t know that any closer I would have been able to. Out of sight and out of mind. But the date kept getting closer. I knew I couldn’t do it. I haven’t been to a wedding since. But I wanted to do it. I got help. I received prayer. I finally faced my own hurt head-on; that I might go home and be their joyful sister.
Love is the river that flows through
My brother is one of the few people in this world I would do absolutely anything for. I was more motivated than I’ve ever been. I chased healing. I demanded it. I sat in the lap of my Heavenly Father as he healed and worked so that I could stand where I so badly wanted to stand: by my brother’s side on his day.
Love never fails you
More healed and whole than I’ve been since February of 2012, I got on the plane. Every emotion from fear to elation engulfed my busy brain. I landed in the South Plains knowing I was going to learn a lot about love in one weekend.
Love will sustain
Never mind that he looks five years older than I do, he is my baby brother. I saw him in a new light. With a puppy. Packing for a honeymoon. Preparing groomsman’s shirts. Sorting out the playlist. He was busy and focused.
Love will provide
Then she walked in the house. It appeared as if his world stopped. He paused to look at her beauty. His face lit up. She was in sweats and no makeup, but to him, she was the epitome of flawless beauty. Love.
Love will not cease
My heart eased. This is what it is supposed to look like. It’s hard to argue. They are right for each other. Anyone who knows them agrees. A huge honor, my sister-in-love asked me to be her stand-in bride for the rehearsal. For those who don’t know, this is a Texas tradition. The bride doesn’t walk down the aisle twice – a friend or family member stands in her place at the rehearsal so the wedding really is her first time to approach her husband at the altar.
At the end of time
I was thrilled she asked me to be part of her special weekend. It was a huge honor to be her stand-in. And yet, I had no earthly idea how I was going to do it. I haven’t been to a wedding since…. Now I have to pretend to be the bride? Seriously...
Love will protect
Healing had come. I was going to do this. I wanted to. I needed to. A few deep breaths and I linked arms with her father. A familiar song – one I intended to use in my own ceremony - filled the sanctuary. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a frog in my throat quite like that. Her father offered me a knowing smile. “We’ve got this,” he said. And we put one foot in front of the other.
Love always hopes
My brother came and took my hand and led me to the altar. We stood together with the pastor and the bridal party while the choir sang “One Thing Remains.” It was in this moment I learned about love.
Love still believes
My emotions raw and feeling almost 1,000 different things, the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “My love will never fail you. His did. Your husband’s love will. Fall in love with me. It is the only sure fairytale.”
When you don't
My heart was overwhelmed with emotion and leapt with joy. Here I was – at the altar – with the Lord of Creation pledging His love to me! Nothing I ever do will make him stop loving me. Nothing will make him “fall out of love” with me. He will never walk out the door and leave me standing alone. Love.
Love is the arms that are holding you
I fulfilled my role as the temporary bride receiving far more blessing than I even knew. But you must know, I am not super-human. Was it hard? Yes. Do I want to do it again? No… I’m thankful I only have one sibling!
Love never fails you
At the hotel that night, my mother wrapped her arms around my emotionally fried self. I was pretending to be tough as usual… She pulled me down next to her on the bed. “It’s ok to cry you know.” A river flowed. I let it out… for many of these months I’ve kept it locked inside expecting it all to fade away someday. It was a beautiful release. I got the nasty, icky, selfish part of the tears out. It doesn’t make sense to completely ignore pain.
When my heart won't make a sound
The day of the wedding was much easier. I think had I not had the experience in the rehearsal I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy or remain composed through the ceremony. Praise Jesus for His hidden mercies. I laughed with my family. Foofed and primped with Mom. Got Sonic with Dad. It was time.
When I can't turn back around
As family, we were escorted to our seats. Then the moment. A stunning, white figure took her place behind the glass doors of the sanctuary. I always love watching the groom. My brother’s face was priceless… even before they opened the doors he was in tears.
When the sky is falling down
And he cried. Not a silent tear rolling down his cheek. The beautiful snot-throwing, eye-wiping kind of tears that seems to say, “I can not believe she is mine.” I cried through most of this too. I was moved by my brother’s love for her. Hope filled my heart again. That is what I want someday. That's what I am waiting for.
Nothing is greater than this
Before God and many witnesses they made a commitment. A life-long covenant. The family then surrounded them with prayer and shared communion. I cried through most of this also. I have never been prouder of my baby brother. He’s amazing. (I'm also glad he no longer aspires to be Captain Underpants!) My sister-in-love is so blessed.
Greater than this
They kissed – we celebrated! Both Bride and Groom were radiant. I breathed a sigh of relief. We did it. We all did it! While I still cried a lot, each and every tear shed Saturday night was for them. Moved by their love. Saddened that my brother is all grown up. Proud of their commitment. I am so thankful my icky tears came out the day before. A hurdle was cleared.
Love is right here
Ever since my fairytale took quite the dramatic twist, I’ve lived date-to-date, challenge-to-challenge. “If I can just get over this event.” “If I can just get past this date.” Milestones and challenges have plagued my race. But you know what? I think I’m done for the time being! It’s a straight away – I don’t see another one in the distance.
Love is alive
I walked out of the church with a weight off my shoulders. A confidence in my spirit. I reclaimed the town that holds a million memories. A new phase of healing was completed on November 9, 2013. Thank you brother and sister for walking this with me. For being patient and loving through the months of tears.
Love is the way
And while I still have a ways to go, I have hope once more. Hope that I deserve that kind of love. Hope that I will find a man who will love me more than anything besides our Savior. Hope that I will laugh again, love again and be romanced again. I now have a desire to let others into my life - to let them love me - to allow myself to receive the love of others.
The truth the life
Prior to my trip, one of my mother-figures in Pennsylvania challenged me to combat the negative thoughts and emotions with a list of “Thankfuls.” She knew they would be there… and Oh, they were: “He’s already found someone else, there must really be something wrong with me.” “Remember this location? This song? This date? This restaurant?” “Why wasn’t I good enough?” “It’s not fair… what did I do so wrong?”
Love is the river than flows through
She said to write down things I was thankful for. Engendering an attitude of thankfulness and praise seems to squeeze the devil out pretty quickly. I kept my yellow notebook in my purse all weekend. And I wrote. And I wrote. Number 58… Number 95… Number 127… and counting.
Love is the arms that are holding you
It’s like being in the ocean. On the surface you can have three-foot waves crashing upon your head making you seasick. Beaten, battered, water in your eyes – up your nose – insert choking here. But when you take a deep breath and dive down just a few feet it’s perfectly still. It’s peaceful. Sometimes in the midst of our storm, we need to dive down. Force yourself past the surface view. Take a deep breath and submerge.
Look for the praiseworthy. There is so much…
Love is the place you will fly to
Kyle and Devon, I love you both so incredibly much. Thank you for an amazing weekend that changed my life too. I bless the two of you: When it gets hard, remember that marriage is a picture of the Gospel of Christ. Satan would love nothing more than to destroy that picture. Stand firm in your love for Christ and for one another and the devil has no chance at erasing that picture. Congratulations – the best chapters are still to come.
Love never fails you
Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath Lyrics