My best friend Aubrey got married a little over a week ago. I meant to share this post earlier, but I’ve been busy packing and then moving from Texas to Ohio after her wedding, but that’s a side note. I wanted to share what a beautiful day the wedding was and share with you all how God has impacted my life through Aubrey and Josh. I gave a speech at the wedding, but could have gone on and on about how I see God at work in Aubrey and Josh’s lives, so that’s where this post comes in. I thought it’d be fun and different to spend a whole post sharing with you why this day was so special to me. Aubrey and I have known each other for over 12 years, but could not ever pin point why we became friends exactly, other than it was totally because of God’s sovereignty. In middle school, we became close friends as we sat next to each other on the bus for basketball games, but we had nothing in common as far as I knew, which is why we are baffled at how we could become such good friends. I remember how she always talked to me about Jesus while I was not living for him, although I claimed to be living for him. I walked through some dark times of my life and this girl faithfully encouraged me to place my hope and trust in Christ alone. During my sophomore year of high school, I attended the youth group at our church on and off, but had not understood what it meant to follow Jesus. I thought attending church every Sunday (and occasionally Wednesday) would be enough for me to consider myself a Christ follower, while I would live a completely different life throughout the week. Aubrey reached out and asked me to come to this retreat and it was there where God revealed to me the depth of my sin and need for a Savior. While Aubrey is not the one that wooed me or prodded my soul (that’s the Holy Spirit’s job), I praise God for a friend who never gave up on me no matter how many times I called or texted her because I felt hopeless as I would turn to worldly things to fill a void.
Aubrey has been an encourager, someone who holds me accountable, someone who prays for me, listens well, and tells me what I need to hear rather than what I want to hear, which is the most loving thing a friend can do. Her desire is to care more about pleasing God than pleasing people. God has continued to make her look more like Christ as she matures and I love that I get to witness that. I’m not saying all these things to say that Aubrey is perfect, but to say that I’ve seen how faithful God is to complete the work he has started in someone. He’s faithful to allow me to experience a friendship that is centered on Christ ultimately. While I’ve shared more amazing memories with Aubrey than just about any other person, I’m more taken back by the fact that God would see fit to allow our friendship to prosper even after I moved to Texas four years ago. You know someone is a true friend when they go out of their way to call you weekly and ask how your heart is or how you can be prayed for. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and I can genuinely say that Aubrey has been this type of person in my life, which is a rarity. She doesn’t correct me to tear down or one-up me, but does so in a loving way to point me toward greater joy in Christ. She has a heart that desires to reflect the gospel in all aspects of her life, even her wedding day.
As you might expect, I cried several times on the day of their wedding. I could barely hold it together because I was overwhelmed by Josh and Aubrey’s desire to make the day more about Jesus than about themselves. That was their prayer all along. When you think of weddings and planning a wedding, it’s easy to assume that it’s all about the couple’s love for each other and how they can make each other happy, etc. But this day was much different. It was about Christ’s love for two sinners who have been redeemed by a gracious Savior. That is why I cried. While I was overwhelmed (in a good way) for my best friend getting married and all that comes along with that, I was more overwhelmed by a reminder of the final wedding day, which is the act of Christ returning to rescue his Bride, the Church, when there will be no more pain, tears, or struggle against sin. Aubrey walked down to the song “Holy (Wedding Day)” which points to the story of the gospel–the story of Christ coming down from heaven to serve those who do not deserve to be served and dying on a cross for us. Their ceremony reflected the true substance of what marriage is about. The shadow (marriage) points to the substance, which is saturated with Christ and how he loves his Church. Gospel-centered marriage enables a couple to hold no record of wrongs, to forgive, to love without expectation, to show grace when they don’t deserve it. It’s all because of Christ’s love that we are freed up to enjoy the beautiful gift of marriage, while still allowing God to be glorified in it. God is so gracious to create the institution of marriage between a man and a woman so that we get to tangibly see and experience how his grace is displayed. I was overwhelmed by this day and it was just a glimpse of the day that we who are believers get to feast on Christ forever in eternity.
I am confident that Josh will lead Aubrey well in their marriage and that each of them will show grace and mercy toward one another because they understand the grace that has been revealed to them from Christ. Josh has been like a brother to me this past year as I have had the chance to get to know him more and have solid conversations with him. Just as I shared that Aubrey cares for others, I could not pick someone else to be with Aubrey because he also cares deeply about others. He is genuine and goes out of his way to put others before himself. A few weeks ago, Josh called me spontaneously and left a voice-mail sharing encouraging words. I am so encouraged by the way him and Aubrey have a desire to reflect Jesus in all things. They know they can’t do it perfectly and need Jesus daily to lead them in that. Josh and Aubrey- if you guys are reading this, thank you for your friendship to me and to others around you guys. You both are such a joy to know. For those of you who don’t know Aubrey and Josh, you’re missing out :)
For His glory,