WOW, WOW, WOW! My goodness, SO much has happened in the past four days, I am completely overwhelemed. Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of God’s goodness…He pours out another helping.
My sister’s wedding week was a crazy organized frenzy. Yea, if that makes any sense. She had everything pretty much locked down and set except for the little details. This was my sixth wedding and FINALLY I was able to help out for a WHOLE WEEK! Usually, I am living in another state and can’t even get off work for more than the weekend, so this was a total blessing. God has perfect timing in all things. I am in the midst of transitioning jobs (same town) and just “happened” to have a month where I could take off to visit family, help with the wedding, visit friends, and take a sabatical. Praise Jesus! I always thought it strange when people just took a month off…kind of selfish if you ask me. No offense to my good friends who have done this (many of them have). NOW, I recognize the HUGE benefit, esp. when a person is in the middle of such a HUGE transition. It is good…I HIGHLY recommend it, if it is a possibility.
Back to the wedding stuff. Details, details, details. Shopping, errands, tanning, hair, make up, dresses, bridesmaids, honeymoon plans, vehicles, limo, showers, friends, helpers, TR fam, music, family, neighbors, 400 roses, food, soda, engraved flutes, garders (now time to throw the garnments…haha Vince), speeches, toasts, dancing, more dancing, fun, fun, and more FUN!
My mom was a bit stressed the day before as we strolled frantically through Sam’s club trying to get the cakes, cupcakes, meat, cheese, veggies, and drinks. We had some moments of pure hilarity…like I almost peed my pants laughing so hard with my sister, while Israel looked at us asking, “WHAT is so funny?!?” I guess you have to be a Carney girl to recognize. There were also moments of stress and yelling…of course not me…my sister was going ape about the pop. Come on Stacy…it’s just a beverage. Just kidding…I love you so much and all that yelling didn’t taint my heart of appreciation for you, it was probably pay back for all the meanness I gave you when we were little.
Wedding DAY…simply beautiful! I was pretty much in awe of how Stacy’s friends came together to help out, and my friends who are also her friends. Three close friends from my Two Rivers fam drove 13 hours to help with the wedding. Talk about SERVANT HEARTS! Yea, thats humbling. The three of them took care of so many things…pics of the guest for the guest book, videography during the reception, fixing my sister’s hair, putting out table decorations, picking up food, running errands, replenishing food, making sure things were running smoothly, picking up afterwards (missing the dance), cleaning the building, and had a smile on their faces the entire time! Oh, I forgot one…Stacy (one of my BFs. We have lived together and worked together for the past five years!) who is also a good friend of my sister stood up in the wedding. That’s right, she was a last minute BRIDESMAID! Wow! We have both been in like 6 weddings of close friends, but never together. How special is that?The Bridesmaid situation was quite interesting and I won’t go into detail…basically they all got switched out the last three weeks before the wedding except for me. I think all the women STacy invited to stand up in the wedding are wonderful sister’s in Christ, and I am still not sure what all happened, but I am praising God that He knows and He wanted the four of us to stand up in agreement with STacy and ISraels’s covenant of love. The funny thing is that when STacy (roommate, not sis) told me she was coming to the wedding about five months ago, I pictured her IN the wedding. Of course, I didn’t say anything…two weeks ago she actually pictured herself standing up in the wedding too (but she didn’t say anything either until after the event). God is so good!
What else…hmmmm…lots of fun connections. I got to see my neighbor, who sold us Yolanda, the teal sporty Saturn I drove in college. We even prayed together for his family. Talk about a blessing. When I lived at home I was definitly NOT a Christian. I thought I was, but really didn’t have a clue about Jesus or living my life in the Kingdom.
Bethany School of Missions is a fun connection the Lord gave me while at One Thing this past December. They had a little booth and were doing the recruiting thing. Of course I stopped to chat…because I want to meet and talk to everyone, trying to figure out how we are “connected”. This does get a little time consuming and can be rediculous at times, so I have to hold it down. Anyway, I connected with these brothers at the booth and found out Bethany Printing Press is one of the largest printing operations for Christian literature. Very cool…they do self publishing stuff, so you do all your own marketing and other stuff…which is PERFECT for me. I don’t want to give anyone else money for doing something I already enjoy doing. Got the deets there…hopefully my book will start really coming together. After that I spent time in their prayer room. Yea, that was good stuff. The half hour went by in what felt like 2 seconds…I was reading through some of my favorite scripture in Song of Solomon…lots of revelation and more to come. There is ALWAYS MORE! Finally, I joined them on a little trip to Minneapolis to do some worship, prayer and outreach on the U of M campus. Did you know this is one of the largest campuses in the US (as far as student population)?
It begins with worship at The Source, a Chi Alpha church in the city. They seek the Lord about where they are going to go…they share ideas and get into their groups and do it. They really get into it too, like Bethel in Redding…asking the Lord for BIG things. They expect God to really touch people, heal them, set them free, and minister to them. After a few songs of worship, the teacher (yes, this is actually part of their class…my kind of class…hands on learning) lead us in a time of prayer. He asked the HOly Spirit to show us who He wanted us to pray for and minister to that night. Sounds crazy…but check it out! I had a picture in my mind of the Starbucks on Riverside in MPLS (this is where I would get coffee before going into work at Freebees back when I worked with YW and where I would do in person interviews when I worked in the recruiting department), also it is where LOTS of Somoli men hang out (who lack revleation of JC – he’s MORE than a prophet friends. Next a brother stands up and says, “We need to pray for the Msms!” I guess he had been meeting with a group from campus and been totally recieved and welcomed even though they know he is a follower of JC. He had been trying to contact them about the meeting for tonight, but no one was getting back to him. So, as we are praying, HE GETS THE CALL! Yes…it get’s better. I finally feel liberty to share my silly little picture. Afterwards, I hear the brother yell from across the room, “That’s where we meet them!” Hahahaha, that is stinkin’ hillarious. So, my friends, next time you have a silly little picture in your mind and don’t have a clue how it fits in the puzzle, I recommend you SHARE IT!
After the wedding Stace and Izzy got some prayer action from the bridal party, family and friends before catching their limo. The day was coming to a close and the reality still hadn’t sunk in…MY SISTER IS A MARRIED WOMAN! Mrs. Israel Heard. WOW! She is no longer a Carney. How weird! Now, I am the only single one in my family…YIKES! I’m getting over it. It’s not even a big deal to me anymore. I just had to get over myself and focus my energy on the people who were getting married and know that my time will come. Jesus is writing my story, and He is a pretty good writer…so I am not even worried. Ha, remind me of that when I start freaking out.
The whole day was filled with blessings, joy, peace, and abundance. It was almost like a dream to me…and I am sure for the two love birds. Everything was taken care of as family and friends all pitched in to help. It was elegant and beautiful. The day seemed to fly by so quickly, but I soaked in each moment. I almost forgot I had to give a speech…I had already written and practiced in my head, knowing I would lose it and get all weepy. Luckily, Vince went first. I was really impressed by his words of encouragement, the brother is only 18 years old, but holds wisdom. Next, Israel told “the story” of how he knew that he knew SHE was the ONE. I asked him to share it for those who hadn’t heard it yet, which was most of the people. Talk about a God orchestration! I will have to write that story on another blog for you. Finally, the time came for the sister of the bride to share words. I couldn’t help it…I started tearing up and crying, as I was OVERWHELMED with the love and goodness of our Father. I was able to pull it together and share my perspective of their relationship unfolding from beginning to end. I will try to post it on my fb page or something…maybe. They are blessed and have an increadible destiny together in Christ. He treats her as a princess and is SO IN LOVE WITH HER! She recipricates love back to her groom and it is wonderful. I look forward to seeing the path the Lord has for them now together as Mr. and Mrs.
I was house sitting while they were gone…so I cleaned up a bit, put their gifts downstairs and started organizing a little bit. Their house is still a work in progress, they have painting and other projects going on…so it’s a lot like us…a work in progress.
It was really nice having lunch with an old friend of mine from high school. We didn’t have any contact for 10 years, then all of a sudden we are friends again. It’s nice when you can just pick right back up…like time has just been frozen and yet you have matured and been transformed in pretty radical ways. The relationship had not been tainted, just shifted a bit. I like that.
Visited two good friends from Camp St. Croix. They actually met at camp, fell in love, got engaged at camp, and got married at camp. Yea, it’s a really fun story. He is from New Zealand and a perfect match for her. They have grown to love each other more through the last three years of marriage and I love witnessing their story unfold. They bought a house like 2 minutes from my high school…how fuN! I think I need to pay some old teachers a visit…hmmmmm….maybe today? They will probably be glad to hear I am following in their footsteps. Plus I would like to see Cindi in action (my friend from three years old, danced together and she is pretty much my sister) teaching SPanish and ESL. Then I get to hang out with the International Students on campus! Just like old times! I would always rush to the International students and try to befriend them.
Lunch with the sisters (and little Jack my nephew) yesterday at Applebees was full of laughter and remeniscing. I love them so much and wish I had more quality time with them. Again, I reflect on the importance of family and the priority they are becoming in my life. I wish Cairo was like 10 hours closer! You women are so special to me. This weekend will be nice, a bonfire on Saturday with the fam at Mom and Dad’s.
The Pastor who officiated the wedding is actually Israel’s old roommate and now brother -in-law! How fun is that? He is married to Izzy’s sister. I am truly blessed by Israel’s family. They are all unique in their own way and so welcoming and loving. It has been wonderful spending more time with Alex and Mo and I look forward to more quality time and hopefully ministering together. Maybe a mission trip….ooohhh, that would be fun! Let’s go to Africa!
Dinner last night with my Aunt and her best friend of like 3o years. Again, a time of food, fellowship, sharing, and LOTS of laughter! We were able to talk about so many things and I left feeling so encouraged by these women of God. Thank you Jesus for the older generation that is pouring into the younger. She actually goes to the church I was involved with while I lived in MN and where my sister and ISrael go…along with a bunch of high school and college friends. God is truly doing a new thing in the Twin Cities….UNITE THE SAINTS! Teach them, prepare them! AMEN!
Okay, I need to get going…I am thankful for those of you who are journeying with me on this “Surprise Me God” Experienment.
Please…tell me if you are walking with me on this fun adventure. Also, tell me the surprises God has brought to you…even if you haven’t asked. I am curious!
And now to Him who is able to to immeasurably more than all you ask or imagine according to His Son Jesus Christ.