I have a lot to tell you today. So if you're not ready to read a long post, you probably want to either A. grab a snack and change plans or B. just come back later. I've had an interesting last few days. What a glorious God we serve--El Shaddai, God Almighty!
Thursday evening I didn't go to swing dance. I opted to take my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and go to the Amish wedding I had been invited to. If you've never been to an Amish church, you are really missing out. The men and women sit on different sides of the church, always, even weddings. But their children..it never ceases to amaze me how well-behaved they are! I looked over when I heard this little child shout out. The mom popped him in the mouth, and that kid (no more than a year old) shut up and didn't disrupt anymore. They don't tolerate disrespect. And oh..their sweet hearts!! I just love being around my Amish friends! The wedding part was interesting. The bride and groom have 2 witnesses each. One couple walks in front of the marrying couple, the other couple walks behind them. They all sit together in the front of the church. Like..the front pew..not even being noticed. Someone (a man, always) brings a word. This particular man spoke of love, and he started with the verses in Genesis 1:26-28..how we are made in the image of God. I didn't understand the words he said, because the scripture was in German. But I knew those verses by heart, because that is what our banquet is all about on Monday night! How amazing!!! (God sure is awesome!) He talked about love...and how we are to love one another. After he spoke and some songs (mostly in German) had been sung, about 8 different deacons (?) got up to talk. They do this at church too. It's supposed to solidify what the speaker had said, and that each of these men individually agree with what he spoke. They say, "This is the message and how I heard and understood it..." then they summarize what they heard. They also gave "a heart, a yay, and an amen!" to the marrying couple.
After the wedding I went to the reception which was at the school. I was so nervous driving there, because I was trying to follow this Amish car (you know it's Amish..b/c they all drive black vehicles). Well, this guy was a maniac behind the wheel. He lost me in no time. But I looked behind me, and I saw an entourage of Amish trucks, vans, and cars following me! I was freaking on the phone with my BF Katie. I kept yelling, "Amish people..they're following me..Amish people!!" I couldn't call my Amish friend Renae, because she is hard to understand. We seldom talk on the phone, because our accents make it hard for the other to really comprehend the conversation. But I found the church needless to say! So after a 2 hour wedding (yes, a solid 2 hours), I went to the reception. Come to find out it lasts even longer. My friends are so funny though. After songs and a quick word by the dad, they started passing out plates. They served sandwiches (come on..I wanted some Amish bread!)..and like 15 desserts. The reception was decorated with a bulletin board...and a table that had 6 skinny candles. That's all. And there was a cake...a big, beautiful cake in front of the bride and groom. (Oh yeah...before the reception started, people would congratulate the couple. The men would kiss the groom on the cheek. Interesting how different cultures respond to different things.) I asked my friend which one of them made the cake. She said they bought it from Wal-Mart!!!! haha...crack me up. Amish people buying cake from Wal-Mart. That's too funny.
I stayed until 9:30 (the wedding started at 4) talking to my friends and the little girls. By the time I left I had about 8 young Amish women and children sitting around talking to me. I had too much fun telling them about my life..and getting to know more about theirs. I told the little girls if I were them I'd save my money and buy a dishwasher. This 12 year old told me I was lazy!! hahahaha. I guess I am. I taught them how to fist pound and thumb wrestle. They acted like they didn't want to, but I told them, "Tomorrow when you're doing the dishes, you'll be fist pounding each other and wanting to thumb wrestle. Then you'll think about me and how I'm putting dishes in my dishwasher." I told them I'd take them to McDonald's sometime..and the 12 year old who thought I was lazy...she decided she really did like McDonald's. But they didn't understand why I didn't cook so much. She also admitted to me that her cousins (not her of course) had gotten on Facebook at the library. But NEVER EVER would they put their picture on there!! Those little heathens....
Friday and Saturday was Living Proof Live with Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell. The praise and worship was one of the most heartpounding moments of my life. My mom looked at me and said, "If nothing else, I'm glad I came for this!" I was skeptical about my mom's willingness to go on this trip. She doesn't do women's conferences. Not that she doesn't like women...she just lives in a man's world. She farms. She fishes. She hunts. She brush hogs and mows and weed eats. And she doesn't like anything very girly, especially 7,500 women with a lot of estrogen. But she went, because I begged her to. And at the end she started crying and gave me the biggest hug (which is saying a lot..b/c she's a hugger like yours truly!) she's ever given me. It was from way down deep...and I knew she was glad she went. During the conference, Beth Moore talked about Imago Dei and how we're made in the image of God. This was quite phenomenal, because everything in my life has been revolved around this theme lately. I think God might be trying to tell me something!!! haha. She started out with the same scripture as the Amish wedding--Genesis 1:26-28. Blow my mind.
Overall, the weekend was pretty much near perfect. Being covered with scripture is the most uplifting weekend I could ever imagine. I can't think of anything I love more than praising our Creator and learning more about Him. I honestly love that more than anything in the world, even above riding horses and swimming in the creek (and sweet tea). And that's saying a lot!
Zach and Les had their departing luncheon today. When I walked into church, I looked at Zach and told him not to talk to me. Then I started bawling. And I don't mean a tear or two. No, this chica flat out BAWLED!! I went to give Les a present (a candle that smells like a cupcake..HAHAHAHAH), and I couldn't even control myself. Her mom hugged me and thanked me for being such a good friend to Les and was sad she had to leave right when she had made a friend. Zach preached just a tremendous sermon this morning. Exactly what I needed to here...when going forward in life, look back and see how God has always been faithful. Right down to the last drop He has!! It seems like right now I'm playing a waiting game. God is saying..do this...this is what I have for you. But "this" is not showing up..and my patience gets worn down. But I look back and see all the things God has come through on..and I see how He has put me in this position. And I do believe it's for "such a time as this." Needless to say, I'm going to miss Zach and Les. We've had some good times! Many hours of catchphrase, numerous Sunday dinners, and more laughs than a stomach can keep up with. I love them so much...but I know God has major plans for their lives. Therefore, I'm so ecstatic to watch them as they go to Little Rock. (LOVE YOU BOTH!)
Tomorrow is our big Crowning Creation banquet!! I have some Amish friends that may come. My mom is coming. And some dear friends may show up as well! We spent all evening at the church getting ready to rock-and-roll. The activities building looks just perfect. Many times I thought I might cry. I got a text from Kristi as I was leaving saying how excited she was about speaking. Although tomorrow excites me, tonight was just about perfect. I got to spend some precious hours with some really amazing women from our church. Just hanging out with them as we decorated and got the church ready was so rejuvinating. God has put some sweet little hearts in that church. I can't imagine not being there! I LOVE THAT CHURCH FAMILY!!! I love the servant leaders. I love the women. I love the youth group. I love the preacher. I love Sunday night dinners at Dee's. I love swimming at the Thomas's. I love the music. I love the spirit. I love the purity. I just am so in love with that church that I can barely contain myself!! Tonight was just a reinforcement of how blessed I've been. God has really taken care of me in this new town..giving me such a sweet church to call home.
Dee Ann and I went to eat dinner at 9:00 when we got "finished." haha. We were both so beat from the weekend. Although we've had a blast, we're also worn plum out! Tomorrow is exciting..and Tuesday is looking pretty good too! I just love her precious heart to pieces..and she's encouragement when I need it most. Okay, I must go to bed. Big day tomorrow in the house of the Lord!!!!!! Praise Jesus for the blessings! It's raining down outside now...like He always does!