There is a reason I write a lot more than I talk. Well, I’m sure some would debate that, but at least when I write I don’t end up hiding my face in embarrassment (that you can see).
By default, I am normally a fast and nervous talker. It’s something I work on. And truth be told, I’ve actually made significant progress on this front. I put intention around listening, pausing and responding. However, put me in front of a group and I feel like that shy-ish, somewhat pudgy, younger version of myself that’s really just seeking approval.
I had two instances this week that were fairly unrehearsed and it showed. The first was while I was at our VML headquarters in Kansas City. That morning, one of the MIP’s there asked if I would introduce our team that was in from Kalamazoo and I assured him it wasn’t necessary but I knew better than to turn him down. And surely, when I stood there in front of everyone (at literally the beginning of the meeting, which I didn’t anticipate either), all I could say was ‘thank you for having us’ about six times and shuffle around like I might have forgotten I needed a potty break. But, thankfully it was brief and they likely forgot because seriously, they don’t care.
The second, though, was much more important to me and I did that same thing. I got all nervous but it got me all worked up because it was in front of my work ‘family’ in Kalamazoo; people I know and *should* be comfortable speaking in front of. In my defense, it’s been a very long couple of months and my brain and nerves are pretty well shot. I also ate lunch that day at 3. While talking on the phone. Sorry, client.
My point? I want a redo! I want to take a quick second here in my safe place to talk about this super amazing thing that’s happening this weekend.
My friend, Kate, is getting married.
Now, lots of people get married. Some people even do it a number of times because it’s so fun! I kid, I kid.
But this wedding is special because it’s just like what I’ve always prayed for in this season … a brand new ending. And Kate deserves it more than most.
If you recall, I wrote about Kate a year ago when she suddenly lost her husband Andy.
I’ve worked with Andy’s wife, Kate, for almost 15 years now. It’s so hard to describe Kate with any level of brevity because there at least 117 things that I absolutely love about her. But if there was a word (well, before today), it would be joy. At her core, though, Kate is simply a daughter of the King who epitomizes the light and love of Jesus on Earth and if only each of us could reflect a bit of that light and love back well … I’m quite confident our cheeks would hurt from smiling. That, or our voices hoarse from giggling that infectious giggle.
Because Kate is who she is, her grief still had this sweet element of joy because she was submitting to the Lord’s will. As she does.
I recall coming back from my sabbatical in March (which, for the record, feels like ten years ago now) and asked Kate about some property she was looking at and she shared how her life had basically flipped-turned upside down in just a couple of short weeks. She’d met someone. And even in that conversation, she confirmed that this wasn’t just anyone but likely someone she was going to marry. I know, without a doubt, my jaw dropped. And I know that I teared up. And I know that I gave her all of the cautious advice I could. But I also knew that she believed it wholeheartedly and that in four months, she would be married.
It didn’t take long and the joy that had been hiding just under the ‘safe’ surface for some time returned with a fire like I’d never seen. Kate was/is in love. And suddenly, plans were being made. And then, before I knew it, Kate and I walked into the office one morning together and she exclaimed that she was engaged. And tomorrow, four months and eighteen days (I’m pretty sure) after she met Lee, she will be his wife.
I won’t lie. I was nervous about how quickly everything happened. I mean, you just don’t often hear about couples meeting, getting engaged and marrying in four months’ time (unless you watch that show I saw in KC this week, ‘Married at First Sight.’ just.no.). But, I trust Kate implicitly and I know that Kate trusts the Lord and His plan. I recall years ago when she and I shared a special connection to Jeremiah 29:11 and I know, without a doubt, that the Lord does have good plans for her. And now? It’s her time. It’s time for her to live fully into her heart’s desire. And she is.
I’m sure my run-on sentences yesterday were well-received, but I just needed to acknowledge this woman who sits right near the top of my list of special Proverbs 31 women in my life. There are few who are as absolutely clothed in strength and I know I can hear her laughing about the days to come from at minimum a floor away. Joy. She still chooses joy. And I love and admire her more than she’ll ever know for it.
Lee, you are a ridiculously blessed man to have found my friend. Adore, cherish and praise her with absolutely everything you have and never stop being the reason for those brilliantly blue eyes to shine. And, now that I have your attention, I also told Kate to relay the message that if you ever hurt my friend, I’ll punch you in the face. Congratulations on your new beginning!