The boxes were packed, most of the house was clean, and it was the last photo hanging on the wall.
It has always been a favorite of mine. It was taken right before our wedding, right after our first look.
I remember it like it was yesterday.
I stood outside those big sanctuary doors, knowing that Ben was waiting inside made me so nervous that I had to run into the bathroom to collect myself. I looked at myself in the mirror, grabbed some paper towels and dabbed my forehead & armpits all super star style (keepin’ it real folks). After giving myself a pep talk, I gathered myself and walked back towards the sanctuary. The doors were opened for my entrance and when I saw him, my stomach dropped. His back was facing me as I walked down the aisle, hands shakily gripping a huge bouquet of flowers. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around and embraced me. I cried. This candid kiss was captured a few moments after he first laid eyes on me, his new bride.
We LOVED so many of our wedding photos (shout out to our favs Braun Photography), but this one strikes a different chord. You see, we know what it feels like for us both to break different aspects of our vows, forgive each other, and still stay true to the promise of “til death do us part.”
Those young 25 year olds didn’t have a clue what was in store for their love story, but God knew. And I love that. It wasn’t easy and life wasn’t always fair, but regardless of the bumps and bruises we obtained along the way, we have learned to trust that He is good and all things are for our good and His glory.
This photo is such a good reminder of that.
It was always the first one I’d hang up whenever we moved into a new home. It was also the first one I took down during a hard season in our marriage. I couldn’t look at it; it felt like a cruel joke. So it went up in the attic for a few months. But eventually, by God's grace it found its way back to its rightful place on the wall.
And a few years later, it was the last one standing.
I love that.
I love that it wasn’t intentional.
I love that when I walked into our bedroom to finish cleaning, that photo took my breath away.
Last. One. Standing.
Because when I walked down that aisle to Ben the first time, before all the pews were filled and the vows were said, my heart was already there. I was his bride. He was my groom. And together, we were promising to never leave nor forsake the other. Only death would determine who would be the last one standing.
Years later, now that we fully understand what those vows mean our photo means so much more.
That photo is a picture of a covenant made between two sinners determined to keep their vows despite the sin that plagues this world and our hearts. It’s a picture of a promise that life is going to be hard, wounds will accrue, and hard seasons will come, but that young bride and groom are going to grow old doing their damnedest to forgive, hand out grace like it’s going out of style, and walk with each other through so many seasons of life. It’s a portrait of an imperfect love that is an earthly, broken picture of a PERFECT, eternal love that will never wound or fail. It is evidence that God loves to redeem broken stories for our good and His glory.
And so I snapped a picture of that photo on the wall and I wept, because God has sustained so much and at the end of it all, we know that He is the one who is truly the last one standing.
I don’t know your story. I don’t know where God has moved big things for you and what all He has restored. I don’t know what areas of your life He’s said “No” in and left some prayers unanswered. I don’t know the hard parts of your story, but if you’re a believer, I do know your God.
I know that...
...He is sustainer and provider.
..He is close to the brokenhearted and that His specialty is redeeming broken things.
...He is the perfect groom, and not in some creepy hyper-Christian romantic lingo, but in the most legitimate sense of the word. He has made a covenant with His people that can never be broken.
...His promises will never fail and His mercies are new every morning.
...He is both the first and the last. He will forever be our Last. One. Standing.
And when I saw that photo, the last one hanging on our wall, I was reminded of all that the Lord has done in our lives and I’m sharing because I know He can do it in yours too. Nothing is beyond His care or repair. May our story point you to that greater story, and our prayer is that through every season, you'll look to the Last One Standing to guide you through it all.
Much love to you all,