Call me Mrs. Jordan
On Friday, November 25, 2016, beneath the sunny sky and the slight shade of an old tree, I married the love of my life! It was the most amazing day that ever there was! <3 We were surrounded by one hundred of our closest family and friends, but most importantly the presence of God was palpably around us, binding us together for the rest of our lives.The week was filled with beloved family and friends from South Carolina, Louisiana, and all over spending time with us, witnessing our new hometown and new lives, many of them for the first time. It was a dream come true to see our friends bonding in this city we love so much. The morning of the wedding was spent getting perfectly prettified and polished with my bridesmaids and family. After lots of love songs (Holla to Whitney & "How Will I Know?"), hair teasing, makeup akin to spray paint, and the cherry on top: Natalie leading us in prayer, we were finally ready. We were ready for the spotlight, and I was ready for some tears to be shed.
As I walked toward the aisle, I remember thinking, "Keep this fun, Priska. Don't trip. Smile, shoulders back. Keep it fun." And as soon as I reached the start of the aisle and my eyes gazed up toward my husband-to-be, I saw tears streaming down his face and I lost every thought I was thinking. The sight of Russell crying made me cry. In that instant, our souls were in exactly the same place, our lives were ready to merge together, and our thoughts were the same. Moments later, my head started racing again: "Is this real?? And if it's real, is it really MY life? How can it be that I am here in this moment with my lifelong partner standing there in front of me?" Russell and I were 20 feet from each other, but by the same tears streaming down our faces, I knew we were never before so in sync as we were in that moment. It sounds weird to say it, but the whole engagement is a bumpy ride of two people trying to come together while being mindful of healthy boundaries. These boundaries are crafted during the dating/courtship period, but during the engagement you start to dismantle them as you realize your lives are being knit into one. There is no more "me" and "mine", but only "us" and "ours". But even if I knew that in my head, I didn't quite realize how much the wedding day would mean to us in truly coming together and becoming one person.
There's a great difference in saying "Yes!" to the engagement and saying "I do!" to a lifetime of committed love. At that moment, I knew the difference. Saying yes to an engagement is fairly common. Even saying yes to marriage is common. But knowing that you are looking at your once-in-a-lifetime love whom you were created to walk alongside until death do ye part...well that, my friends, is so rare, it's exquisite. You see, when Russell proposed to me, I knew God was leading us together, but I also was quite aware that we weren't totally together yet. At that point, we had been dating for 8 months, and we hadn't even had our first fight. So why on earth would someone in that position agree to marry a man she hasn't spent years vetting, testing and proving? Because I knew without a doubt that the Lord was leading us together. And any amount of time through my own foolish eyes of trying to "prove" this was really God was not worth a fraction of just simply knowing that the Lord was creating this union. During the past 6 months of being engaged, we finally had our first fight. We also witnessed each other sacrifice for the betterment of one another. We saw ourselves concede to our own ways of doing things (see ya, stubborn habits) for a better way, sometimes that was the other person's way and sometimes that was something completely different than what either of us did before. We planned our lives together. We spoke love, grace and forgiveness even during the difficulties of wedding planning. We leaned into the discomfort of change as the Lord weaved us together. Our engagement wasn't validating each other's love, but watching the Lord fulfill His Word that two would become one.
When we recited our vows, I felt an instant change. It was the Spirit of God binding us together for the rest of our lives. It was magical and divine, everything I always hoped for but couldn't possibly imagine to be real until that very moment. It was a dream come true, but a dream I thought too fantastical. It was PERFECT!
As I think back now, only days after our wedding ceremony, I think about a few things:
1. Until death parts us, I am MRS. RUSSELL JORDAN. That could be 100 years from now, or it could be tomorrow. Either way, I represent Russell, and not just his namesake. In my actions and words and kindness and compassion, I represent Russell, and I want to make him proud. What makes him proud is knowing that I am following the Lord, whether that path be easy or difficult. What makes Russell proud is watching me grow and thrive in God's love. I am going to make him proud! But when I stumble, Russell is going to help pick me up and encourage me to try again, and I will do the same for him. We dreamt of more than just a legal marriage and a life spent as roommates. We wanted a God-ordained marriage and a partnership. Working together toward a common goal is partnership, and I am so looking forward to partnering with Russell for the rest of my life.
2. The wedding was expensive, but totally worth it! Sure, we could have gotten hitched at the Justice of the Peace and taken the money and traveled across a few continents, but as the Scripture says, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." For me, having a wedding week planned for our out-of-state family was a way to bring everyone together in unity to get comfortable with the families we are merging together, to witness our exchange of vows, and to know that they pay a role in supporting our union for the rest of our lives. We spent the whole week with our families and friends, and by the end of it, I dare say that our friends who just met felt like they met some new lifelong friends. And seeing that happen was entirely worth the "trouble" of crafting a wedding week.
3. The wait was tough, but totally worth it! What I'm referring to is my own waiting for the man of God's dreams. Not the man of mine - I dreamt way too small in comparison to the AMAZING man that Russell is. *Swoon, swoon!* I truly mean the man that God created for me, and me for him. In my younger years (and even recently until I met Russell), I secretly thought that people only marry when they're ready to settle. Not settle down...just settle. Settle for something less than what they always dreamt of. I thought marriage was for people who decided to placate their dreams and numb their feelings. Only after I met Russell did I realize that living life with a committed life partner was the very best dream to have. Years ago, I couldn't possibly imagine that at the sight of my husband standing at the end of the aisle, my eyes would pour tears of joy that God's grace toward me could be so BEYOND what I could have envisioned for myself. And the reason I couldn't imagine it is because I hadn't met Russell before. For my whole life I've heard the romantics, the lovey-dovey people, the ones I couldn't stand when I was single say so simply that "When you know, you know". Like it's that easy?! But as I sit here, on the other side of things, I don't know how to better describe how I knew my future with Russell was everything I wanted than to say that I just knew like I never knew it before. But let me add a helpful tidbit for all you single ladies (#Bey) and men: If you have any doubt about that person you think might be the one, don't force the relationship to progress. That's how people end up regretfully married. When you meet the right person, you will know. You will see your future together and it won't be a foggy abyss anymore. The one message I wish to convey through this entire walk down wedding memory lane/random blogging, is that God does have a VERY BEST for you, so keep looking for that. God's best is like a Ferrari in a desert of skateboards: the alternative to God's best is bleak! As I look at Russell, this man that I somehow tricked into marrying me - jk! - I am astonished that this rare jewel is mine forever. He is undoubtedly the perfect match for me, and when the fluttering feelings of romance fade, I know the strength of our marriage is found in God's grace. And having a partner that knows the same makes us unstoppable! I can't wait to see what a beautiful life God has in store for us.
In my prayers tonight, I pray that you will have the faith to wait for your rare jewel of a spouse. I pray that you will have the courage to say yes when the time is right and the discipline to say no to the wrong person. I pray that God will restore your hope like He has restored mine.
For the first time I bid you goodnight with love as...
Mrs. Priska Tabitha Jordan