When I first discovered one of my favorite painters, Melissa Lyons, she was in the midst of painting wedding bouquets for people. I remember being mesmerized by these bouquets and wanted to try painting some one day. I actually painted two of my bridesmaid's bouquets from their weddings but they weren't the best.
Recently I decided to try my hand at bouquets again for two very special brides. One of my best friends, Jordan (Who also happens to be one of my favorite artists as well) and my sweet cousin, Emery had to completely change their expectations for their weddings during this pandemic. I was so proud of them for handling it with such grace and focusing on what really mattered. Their marriages.
This time, I really loved how their bouquet paintings turned out and I decided to offer them up for a limited series. I reached out to Melissa Lyons via Instagram and reminisced out of nostalgia that this is what she was doing when I first found her site. She laughed and responded that she actually doesn't overly enjoy painting bouquets, but she used them as a way to share her marriage testimony! It is an unbelievably powerful story of God's grace and love through pain. I encourage you to go to the blog page of her art site and read it.
We don't have a story like hers. But I have thought a lot about our marriage as I painted these, as well as prayed over the marriages of these women. And as I painted, I remembered things about the beginning our story that I had forgotten about.
When Kirk and I first got engaged, I was finishing up my BFA and about to start my intense one year master's program. In this program, you intern for Knox County full time for one year (unpaid) while taking your grad classes all summer, and at night during the school year. I had a job teaching dance on one night of the week too. So with homework on the weekends, I barely had any time to breathe or plan the wedding. But somehow we did and I had a brilliant idea to hand crochet doilies everywhere for the decorations. So that was smart. On top of that I was a bridesmaid in four weddings that year, helping throw parties and showers. It was just a lot.
But while I was crazy busy, Kirk was busy too. He spent months searching for a job in his field with no success. It was so discouraging. We were getting married in December, in the middle of my school year and I needed to stay till the end. But Kirk wasn't finding any jobs in Knoxville. We were faced with the possibility of him getting a job in Nashville or even another State and having to start our marriage long distance. He couldn't wait till I was finished to get a job, I was at an UNPAID internship. So we were confused. Our families brought up the idea of postponing the wedding but we felt like we would be more faithful to God to keep moving forward with his direction to get married, than to postpone out of fear.
I struggled with trust. Big time. And faith. And God's Sovereignty. Sometimes I would start trusting God better but then I would let anxiety build along the way. My savings for the year were slowly depleting and the wedding was coming up. I had dreams of a cute apartment that Kirk and I could host our friends for game nights and things. But we didn't have money for that. I had a car that was dying. Every morning I said a prayer and when it started I almost cried of relief because I had no back up plan for this car. My tiny faithless mind could not possibly see how any of this was going to work out. But the LORD can see. The Lord knows. The Lord forgave my fleeting heart and planned a year for me that I could never have fathomed.
I thought the Lord would provide, don't get me wrong. I really believed he eventually would, and I was just uncomfortable with the timing. But I also thought He would provide by giving Kirk some crazy lucrative job and we would all be fine. We would be able to get a car, buy furniture for a nice apartment that we could afford comfortably. I thought that the Lord would look after us in the traditional way. But He did something so much better! He spoiled us, but in a way that still required us to learn and grow. A way that reminds us we will always be reliant on Him.
He gave Kirk a job at Starbucks where he learned so much about hard work, patience, humility, and how to provide for a family in so many ways, not just financially. He gave me the career type job instead. Right before our wedding, an art teaching job opened up at one of the schools I was interning at. I had to go to a million meetings with UT and with FIS but the all agreed to let me start working there as a full time teacher, get paid, but also still count it toward my hours for my master's degree. Unfathomable. Then the Lord gave us a free car from our dear neighbors. a FREE CAR.
He provided for us in ways we could never have imagined. And then to top it all off, God honored Kirk and a few months after our wedding steered Kirk into a job working for our church where he is still working now. He loves his job so much. It was the perfect fit for him and he just needed to wait.
I type all of this out to hopefully encourage anyone who is in a period of waiting. A period where God is calling you to trust. It is really hard and it is really difficult, but God is so good. He might not provide for you like you think, but He might know what's even better for you. He also forgives your impatience :)