Memories and Anticipation

Nicki and Daniel Niehls

Nicki and Daniel Niehls

I don’t know how you feel about weddings. Do you cry? Are you overcome by the display of love by the bride and groom? Do you sit through the ceremony dreaming of what deliciousness could possibly be served at the reception? Well, I went to one this past weekend. It was my little sister’s wedding. And I was filled with a lot of emotions and memories.

On her wedding day I still had visions racing through my mind of Nicki as a little girl pretending to be an Olympic gymnast while using the piano bench as the pommel horse. Now before me was a beautiful bride in her pure, white wedding gown.

My mind also raced back to a time when Nicki’s innocence was on full display. Several years ago when Nicki was still living at home and I was home visiting from graduate school, Nicki came into the house visibly upset. She looked confused as she relayed that our next-door neighbor was incensed because our dog had “shedded” all around his mail box. The young Nicki was confused as Dad calmly explained that what our dog left behind was not his fur.

My mind is still filled with memories of Nicki’s escapades as a little girl. I still see her that way because I left for college in Arkansas from Pennsylvania when she was only eight. This past Saturday, I did not see a little girl, but a woman saying “I do” to Daniel Niehls. They are a wonderful couple and I am so glad that they have found one another. I see how much Daniel cherishes Nicki and what a godly man he is and I am happy about that.

I also had the honor of officiating her wedding. I haven’t been so nervous about delivering a speech in a long time. I was nervous because she was my little sister and I wanted to do it right for her. I also felt the urgency to tell her and Daniel some important things about marriage. I didn’t tell them anything they didn’t already know nor will they remember much of their wedding for that matter but I did take the task seriously. I said:

“We learn from God that we can fail and he still loves. We fall short but he picks us up. We sin and he forgives. We repent and he accepts us back. We speak and he listens. We are annoying and he is patient and kind. God is love. God is faithfully committed to you. We are to love others as God loves us. And this goes for your marriage as well.

Success in life can be measured in many ways, but in the end, as Jesus told us, it lies in loving God and loving others. The greatest barrier to this love is selfishness and pride. And in marriage, you need to fight the urge to be selfish.”

This is so simple but so hard to live. I guess that is the equation for most everything Jesus taught. Love God + love other = Simple + Hard. Sorry to get algebraic on you.

As I looked at Nicki look into Daniels eyes I saw such excitement and passion. This time my mind couldn’t help thinking of the future. There will be hurt and disappointment in their relationship as in any relationship. I guess I was worrying for them like a big brother. But then I heard it echoing in my head, “Love never fails.” With God as Lord, guide, and example their relationship will flourish.

So how did I feel at this wedding? Filled with joy and anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing what God will do with this great couple.

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