One of God’s greatest mercies of all, I learned, is his timing. Seeds that are planted will eventually grow. The blossom of new life will eventually bloom. Some seeds grow better than others, becoming the greatest of trees. With lots of nurturing, much toil, and plenty of love from life’s Master of Gardening, time grows the story of love.
Like St. Thérèse herself, some of the little shrubs that grew especially well in this garden of the Lord’s started out as seemingly the smallest seeds. For me, through planting hope-filled (and often dreaded) attempts at searching for a holy, Catholic spouse online; watering with multiple novenas said to the saints for their intercession; exposing to sunlight the prolonged vocation discernment to the married or religious life — these seeds eventually came to their fruition. This all took time. But in retrospect, it doesn’t matter whether time took two years to create the story of a man and woman’s journey into the garden, or over a lifetime, because all of the bittersweet tilling among the thorns produced the sweetest fruit, and ours is that of a lovely little rose.
Red, green and gold were the colors that embellished the scheme of our wedding day — a date which landed after Christmas, before Epiphany, and, last but not least, on Lance’s birthday. A date which, in keeping with its surrounding feasts, was also much anticipated. To my unsuspecting delight, my groom-to-be had chosen this date with the priest a few months before. With our past behind us, the future before us, and a present from God among us, the feat of our wedding day was sure to be a witness to the gift from our Father.
I never knew in years previous that the Christmas season would become the theme of our wedding day. Equally enchanting was how well God would surprise me with the gift of this very special point in my life. Everything on this day was all but what I could have previously imagined or heard. From the grand, festive, and reverent Catholic ceremony, to the tall, dark, and handsome Christ-featured groom who awaited me before the altar of God, all was as I had been waiting for, imagining, and more.
There was definite and infinite beauty in this culminating celebratory event. However, in spite of all these glorious things in our celebration, just know that this day was not prepared without struggles, without thorns, and without the cross. Without perseverance, and without ultimate trust in Jesus, our story would not have come to the fullness that it did. In its time, our story has served as a testament to many of God’s great mercies.
And it started with a seed.
Elizabeth Gracy is a wife, mother & writer. Her interests include developing as a Montessori educator, growing in her Carmelite spirituality, and caring for the needs of her family. She has a degree in Speech Pathology and attended Texas A&M’s Master of Public Health program.