A few months ago Casey and I found out that we were finalists in an Ultimate Dream Wedding Giveaway contest. I had heard about the contest through Ashley Hicks of Wedding 101. She runs this beautiful store at The Factory in Franklin that is a haven for brides. Imagine a place where any bride can go to sit on a comfy couch and talk with someone about their wedding dreams, and they will help match her with the vendors that will help make her wedding dreams come true. Instead of searching for hours on the internet and calling vendor after vendor with the same questions, there are experts there that already know which vendors will be a good match for your style, needs and budget. This highly valuable service is offered to brides for absolutely no cost, that’s right, it’s FREE. I wish I would have known about this place in the beginning of my wedding planning. All this to say that Wedding 101 was a sponsor of this contest that was hosted by Her Nashville, another fabulous FREEbie. Pick up your FREE copy of Her magazine at local hangouts to find out the latest news and trends that all Nashville ladies should know.
It was our proposal story (read it here) that led the editors of Her to select us as 1 of the 4 finalist couples in the contest. For two months our friends and loved ones have supported us by voting online to help us win our dream wedding. Thursday, the winners were announced and our votes were short, we didn’t win this contest. However, it has become very evident that contest or not, a wedding, beyond what I could have ever dreamed, will happen on March 26, 2010.
As the final few days before the announcement of the winners approached, people in my life began to encourage me. “You’re wedding is going to be beautiful no matter what.” “You all have already won. You have each other.” “It’s the people and not the things that will make your wedding memorable.” I appreciated the support, but was still unsettled about the idea that there was a 75% chance that we wouldn’t win this wedding. Financial stability is an idol I continually fight and funding a wedding leaves me anxious about our finances. However, God has recently reminded me (although I should never forget) that God’s fellowship, His grace, it’s all FREE because Jesus already paid the price.
Thankfully, God is able to calm my heart. The day before we were suppose to find out about the contest, God gave me a peace that I needed to embrace. It became clear to me that he was preparing my heart for disappointment. There was a particular piece of scripture that put my soul at rest. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Although it was difficult to see $20,000+ in giveaways slip away and I was disappointed, it didn’t last long. I looked in front of me and staring back at me was the love of my life, surrounding us were our friends that were there to support us and our marriage, win or lose. It was easy to see that I already possessed something much greater than a fancy cake and extravagant decorations at my wedding.
God had a plan for Casey and I to be finalists in this contest. He wanted us to be able to share our story, His story. The video about our proposal led to a newspaper article about our courtship, and numerous questions from people curious about our relationship. This created opportunities for us to talk about God’s redemption and His power in our lives that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Not winning this contest creates even more opportunity, opportunity for Casey and I to lean on our faith and for God to provide in BIG ways (more than He already has).
Since the contest results were revealed God has made it clear to me that winning that contest could never compare to the prize that Casey and I have already won by finding companionship with each other, and NO victory on this earth will EVER be able to compare to the eternal victory that God has waiting for us in Heaven. Corinthians and Philippians teaches us of this victory.
1 Corinthians 9: 24-26
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
So here’s to pressing on towards an eternal victory in Christ Jesus.