As for the rich in this world, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on uncertain riches but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 (RSV)

Weddings. They evoke excitement of an eternal union and happiness. They also bring stress over endless details–invitations, guest lists, dresses, cakes, in-laws, dinners, flowers, to name a few. Indeed, Sarah and I threatened to elope because we were so frustrated! (We didn’t, but it was tempting!) We stress over these details because we want the day to be perfect.

But often those dreams and plans don’t come true. At our wedding 20 years and one month ago (April 3rd), two things didn’t go as planned. Sarah’s father performed the ceremony and the three of us were supposed to read 1 Timothy 6:17 together. That part didn’t make it into the script, so the three of us stared awkwardly at each other, paused, then shrugged our shoulders and moved on. No one knew the wiser.

The other detail was bigger. One of the rolls of film in our photographer’s camera came loose. The roll had Sarah’s Grandma Binns on it including when she embraced Sarah as we walked back down the aisle and leaned to me saying, “it’s too late!” in a teasing tone.  Sarah’s grandmother was wheelchair and homebound, so her attendance was a big deal. Not having pictures of that moment remains heartbreaking.

Don’t get me wrong. Our wedding was also awesome! Creative dances, tears of joy, lots of laughter. We still have people ask if we’ll have another wedding because they had such a blast!

But things not going as planned is life. We all have visions of how we want the story of our life to unfold. We plan for happiness, health, a good job and a solid reputation. We want to live free of conflict and have the freedom to act on our choices. But the story doesn’t always work out as we would like or hope. Maybe our health turned poor. Maybe a marriage didn’t turn out like we anticipated. Maybe the job we wanted turned out less than stellar. Yet, those moments of broken expectations and disappointments are still part of our story.

Our wedding didn’t turn out exactly like we wrote it or hoped it would. But that doesn’t mean beauty cannot be found in the broken. Rather, it is BECAUSE of the disappointments that we experienced the fullness of the day, the ups and the downs. And that is also life – the story we didn’t expect, but the unique one God invites us to enjoy and experience.