Tag Archives: wedding

Shared Post: At Last by Beth Grabenkort

Happy Monday world! I couldn’t help but share this entry (found here) as I’ve been there a time or two myself having played at multiple weddings over the years. Great insight.

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For all of us, life is about timing — God’s, not ours.

“At last, my love has come along…” —Etta James

I had no idea that I have as many friends as weddings I’ve attended over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, I recently found myself at another of these joyous occasions for a girl I had met and befriended at church. She was barely a year out of college and was settling down with her high school sweetheart. This particular wedding was of the traditional nature — the poofy dress, the roses, the tuxes and the orchestral music.

Once the ceremony ended and we moved to the fellowship hall reception, I settled in with my tiny plate of food and began chatting with the people at my table. When the time came for the bride and groom’s entrance, we all stood and listened to the DJ croon into the microphone his announcement of the happy couple. Then the radiant pair floated through the breezeway and sailed to the dance floor.

As the opening notes of the first dance song sounded, I found myself nearly choking on my Sprite-and-pineapple-juice punch. Their first dance song was “At Last.” At last. At last? They were 22! How long had they been waiting? The ink had barely dried on the thank-you notes for their college graduation gifts. What did they know about truly waiting and finally receiving?

This thought continued to nag me like a buzzing insect until something else began to occupy my irritation: I was forced to join the few other single girls on the dance floor to catch the wedding bouquet. Because I loathe feeling like a member of a herd of cattle, I tried my best to escape to the bathroom and hide in a stall until the event had passed. But someone discovered me and dragged me to the dance floor where, much to my chagrin, a 10-year-old girl jumped in front of me and caught the bouquet — because, as everyone knows, 10 year olds know even more about waiting than 22 year olds.

Driving home from the wedding, I became irritated with myself. I started thinking about perspectives and how my own limited viewpoint can so often cloud my judgment. Everyone, at various points in his or her life, will face “at last” moments. At last, I’m graduating from high school and can start college. At last, I’m graduating from college and can start a real job. At last, I’m dating someone I really love. At last, I’m having a baby and starting a family of my own.

It’s not my job to correlate when someone gets something with how much she’s able to appreciate it. To my friend, it was an “at last” moment. At last, she was spending the rest of her life with the man she loved. She was rejoicing in that. And so should I.

The truth is that for all of us, life is about timing — God’s, not ours. Sometimes I feel ready for an “at last” moment while God is telling me to wait. He may bring that moment one day, or He may not. But my life is not on hold until whatever I want to happen happens. God has me where I am right now for a divinely appointed purpose — mainly, to make me more like Him.

It’s not that God doesn’t understand and care that I may not be exactly giddy about where He has me right now. He sees me, He hears me, and He even uses my frustration as a reminder that life in this world is unfulfilling because I was created for a much better world.

Until the moment comes when He welcomes me into my real home, I will continually search for the fulfillment of “at last” moments, thinking that if I can just get to the next level, then I can breathe deeply. Once I get that diploma, that job, that family, then my life can begin. But one day, when I’ve entered the world in which He created me to dwell, I will really be able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that He has instantly met my every desire. My heart will long for nothing ever again except to continually sing my Father’s praises. Only then will I lean back with arms outstretched and finally be able to say, “At last!”

 

Copyright 2013 Beth Grabenkort. All rights reserved.

for a most beloved sister on her wedding day

Let’s face it. Writing any speech is hard. But, writing one for your sister’s big day? Definitely.

I’d been working on the thing for weeks. I’d start it, write a line (okay, maybe two), and end up wadding up the yellow legal paper because I didn’t like the way it flowed and toss it towards the non-existent trash can in my living room. Ever the perfectionist, not only was I making a mess in my apartment (which, secretly, drives me nuts), I was hitting road block after road block. This speech had to be the best thing since sliced bread. Flawless. Epic, really.

The idealist in me demanded romance and perfection, with enough humor to captivate the audience (her guests) and keep the new husband and wife from falling asleep at the head table. I didn’t want something generic, something cut, pasted and dried from someone else’s idea. I wanted it to be genuine. Real. Us – my sister and me. Adding Jordan would be a bonus. If only I could get it right.

When writer’s block started to affect my ability to think straight, I put the entire project aside for two weeks, attempting to write the week of the wedding. Actually, it was the day I planned to leave town and make the 3.5 hour trip back home that I picked up that legal pad, tuned into YouTube for some much needed inspiration and started writing again. After weeping like a sad sap over a few sappy speeches online, it struck me…like a dream from long ago. I questioned whether Ashley would even remember the moment…when she won the battle between Ariel and Belle, two Disney princesses that profoundly shaped our childhood. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Writing any speech is hard. Writing one for your sister’s wedding…very.

This was a day we had both talked and dreamt about since we were kids. We used to pour over sketches and ideas for Barbie’s big day (went through several of those…I swear, the poor gal got married every five minutes) and watch with starry-eyed wonder as Ariel pledged her love to Eric/Belle to the Beast on Saturday afternoons.

Writing any speech is hard. Writing one for your sister’s wedding…very.

Yes, I know I’m repeating myself, but can I drive that fact home? Writing something that will last only five minutes, but encompasses your relationship to both bride and the group, passions, dreams, and childhoods is super hard.

Trying to get through said speech without shedding a tear, never mind turning into a blubbering idiot is impossible. For me, at least. For someone who had shut the waterworks off for years, I’ve turned into a sap. I cry over anything that the touches my heart and soul – sappy movies, sappy books – I am definitely not immune to sappy speeches.

So, since I’ve been there and done that, I figured I’d offer a little advice for those seeking inspiration on the topic at hand and to share the speech I gave on my little sister’s special day.

  1. Take time to jot down a few notes or write out an entire speech beforehand. I don’t care if you’re the type to fly by the seat of your pants or oober-organized like me. The day of is crazy-busy and having something prepared/on hand is always a plus.
  2. At the very minimum, include a favorite memory, funny story, something sweet or words of advice and end it with a toast. It’s usually best to steer clear of inside jokes that no one will get.
  3. Keep the focus on the bride and the groom.
  4. Speak from your heart. Your sister wants to hear from you…not words from someone else’s experience.

If you were there, you probably remember my inability to make it through the first paragraph and my sister standing to give me a hug before I was even finished. Thank goodness for Kleenex, family and hugs.

For the Gorgeous Bride, My Beloved Little Sister, on Her Wedding Day 

 

For those of you who don’t know, Ashley is my beloved and most favorite little sister. And, Snoopy, thank you for asking me to be your maid of honor. This morning you said I’ve blessed you, but you have no idea how much of a blessing you’ve been to me.

What can I say about Ashley that most of you don’t already know? She’s not just my sister; she’s one of my best friends. She’s the kind of person who sees humor in many situations and her unexpected wit will have you laughing in no time. She’s one of the few who has always been there to listen to me rant and rave about everything and nothing. She’s beautiful inside and out. I am so blessed and grateful to be her sister.

Seems like yesterday that we were redecorating Barbie’s playhouse, planning her absolute last wedding, sharing secrets and laughing over nothing in particular. Oh wait, that was yesterday.

I remember debating over who made the better mermaid and, until Disney’s Beauty and the Beast came out, I thought I had won that one. Upon seeing Belle wander the streets of her “little town, full of little people” with her nose stuck in her book, you stubbornly stood in the middle of the living room with your little hands on your hips and that look on your face and said, “There. There’s you.”

Personally, I still think I’d make a better Aril than you, red hair and all, but I digress.

Thinking back to singing “Part of Your World” with you when we were kids, I see now that you’ve found a man whose world you’re now a part of and vice versa.

After Jordan proposed and I had reminded her about those extravagant plans we had made with Barbie and Ken when we were kids, she said that she had changed her mind and wanted a simple, intimate and elegant wedding. She told me she wanted it to be more about the love that she and Jordan share, not about the most expensive dress she could find or the elaborate decorations covering the altar and aisle. By the way, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times today, but Ashley, you truly look stunning and Jordan is a very lucky man.

Jordan…You’ve become an integral part of our family’s system in the last year. It was easy to consider you a part of our group before you even started dating my sister. I’ve watched you grow in your faith and in your love for my sister. You are becoming an amazing man of God. I’m so proud of you and it’s an honor to officially call you brother.

Like all things in life, you get out of a marriage what you put into it. You’ve built your relationship on the most solid of foundations that is Christ and this is the beginning of your own happily ever after. This is also when the real work begins. All the little every day things add up to a lifetime of happiness through both the good and the bad. Congratulations, Ashley and Jordan! Join me in toasting them – I wish you happiness, more love than you’ll know what to do with, and may God bless you in giving you a marriage more beautiful than your wedding.

I love you.