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INVOKING THE PRESENCE OF GOD

Unlike most girls, growing up I never planned out what my wedding would be like someday. I knew that I wanted to get married and have a beautiful wedding but the details of flowers or colors didn’t catch my attention.

I didn’t want my “one day of fame” or my “only day to be a princess” to be the focus; I wanted God to be the center of attention. I wanted people to leave the wedding, not commenting not on my dress, but on how the presence of the Holy God had touched them.

When I was 16 the Lord blessed me with Ben, the man who would eventually become my husband. At the time we didn’t know it but a few years later in April 2008 Ben proposed to me and we decided that a long engagement was not what we had in mind.

We had known that marriage was for us from the beginning of our courtship. We set the date for two months later on June 27. I finally realized part of the reason that I had never been interested in all of the frills and bows of weddings. There simply wasn’t enough time for me to think about all of those details!

I had so much help from all of our friends and family to do all of the little things that seem to be all too necessary to put together a wedding. I was stress free about everything.

Standing Support

On the day of our wedding my father and I reached the end of the aisle and my mom joined us as we stepped up to my soon to be husband. Ben’s parents also stepped forward and stood with him at this time.

This was to symbolize both sets of parents releasing and giving us over to each other. As we stood there with our parents on either side of us Byron, our minister, asked if family and friends would stand to show their support of us in our marriage, that they would encourage, love, and be there for us as we became husband and wife.

We wanted our ceremony to be personal and to show an example of family. At two different times throughout the service our fathers came up separately and shared for a few minutes about what we had individually meant to them through the years. It was a very special time for both of them.

Unity Candle Included Everyone

We included everyone in our lighting of the unity candle. When guests had arrived earlier in the evening they had each been handed a small candle. When it came time for our unity candle the ushers started lighting everyone’s candles in the back of the sanctuary.

As the flame was passed to the front it finally reached our mothers who in turn lit the individual candles of their child. Once they had lit our candles they each passed it to Ben and me. We then went and lit our unity candle.

This was a special time when we wanted to symbolize that it isn’t just our parents who helped to make us into the individuals that we are. Everyone who was there that night had been a part of raising us and molding us into the man and woman that we had become.

Everyone Prayed for Us

The most important part of the ceremony came at the end. Prayer is foundational to our faith, so our guests were invited to come and lay hands on my husband and me and pray over us and our marriage.

It was such a beautiful and moving experience to have all of our closest friends and family gathered around us praying aloud as one voice from every direction. As every moment went by I would hone in on one voice that I knew and hear the sweet words of love, then I would pick out another voice.

They were such powerful moments, to hear everyone’s voice at one time crying out to God to bless our marriage, to make it strong, to grow us, and so much more. Ben and I will remember that special time for the rest of our lives.

We still have people who tell us how much our wedding impacted them and what a spiritual time it was for them.

A wedding is only the beginning of a marriage, not the whole marriage. Having our beginning wrapped up in Christ and standing on the solid foundation that only He provides was all I could ask for on the first day of our marriage.

ASHLYN SHEARER
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