There I stood beside my dad, the master of ceremonies, and my five groomsmen. The wedding march was playing, and the audience stood to their feet. My eyes were fixed on the balcony above the stairwell in the grand pink Arbor of downtown Arcadia, Florida. My beloved would soon appear at any moment. My heart pounded as I eagerly awaited the first glimpse of my bride in her white dress.
Four months earlier, my fiancé Jamie and I had been officially engaged during a canoe trip on the Peace River. Having received the blessing of our parents, we both knew we were following God's leading in our lives. I had read a verse in the Bible that says, "I will give them one heart, and one way..." in Jeremiah 32:39. This immediately took on a personal meaning: our paths were actually merging into one!
When Jamie and I had begun courting six months prior to our wedding, we had agreed that it would be best to avoid all physical contact. Yes, this would include no kissing, hugging, and even holding hands until we said, "I do" at our wedding! During this time of courtship, we came to know one another more specifically with the intention of marriage to follow. It was important, we realized, that we become more familiar with one another intellectually and spiritually, but not physically. The reason is once you begin touching, where will it end? In addition, what part of touching is supposed to be reserved for marriage? We believed the best thing for us to do that would bring the least regret to us and give the greatest glory to God, would be to abstain from touching at all. Sometimes the best things in life must be waited for the longest. For us it seemed like eternity, but we soon found out it was worth it. We thought of it as putting hugs and kisses on layaway! We were saving up many precious "gifts" for each other to open on the day God had ordained - July 22, 2006. We endearingly refer to this time as Christmas in July!
Now the long awaited moment had finally arrived! As the piano played, my beautiful bride stepped out of her dressing room. I knew that in the next few moments we would unwrap the first special gift we had saved for this time. The program went as planned- special music was sung, a charge was given, our unity candle was lit, and now we were asked to take each other by the hand. I was already nervous about the thought of kissing Jamie for the first time, but I was not expecting the jubilant experience that was literally to be placed in my hand! I was about to grasp ultimate bliss!
Each touch we had saved for our wedding day was an additional gift given by God to be opened at just this perfect time. Yes, today was our day to give ourselves to each other "to have and to hold." As we took each other's hand, we experienced the most euphoric feelings imaginable! We could not help but smile from ear to ear and stroke each other's hands for the remainder of the ceremony. After exchanging vows, I was permitted to kiss my bride. Everything about it was right and pure and it was incredible to give away my first kiss! We were both elated, as we were pronounced man and wife. Our journey together had now begun - hand in hand.
It is a joy to know that God has guided our steps giving us a story to tell our children. The principles of His Word still work today. God's way is best and has rewards that are numerous and inexpressible! I challenge every single person to save yourself for your future spouse, and you too can enjoy the greatest treasures God intends for you to have on your wedding day. If you are willing to wait, God can write your love story!