Laying the foundation.

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There are 82 days until Isaac and I get married! Yesterday we bought our fake wedding flowers at Michael's and I attempted to arrange my own bouquet. Today Isaac and his mom bought plastic plates and napkins for our exquisite menu options, courtesy of our favorite Johns: Jimmy John's and Papa John's. (I love everything about our wedding already). We had another premarital counseling session yesterday. Tomorrow I'll have my wedding dress fitting. Things are moving right along, friends!

It has been quite an adventure to be our own wedding planners. I love having Isaac as a teammate. I've stressed out a lot about stupid details, but he always knows how to bring things back into perspective. Our wedding day is going to be just that -- one day.

The next couple of months leading up to April 28th are going to be a whirlwind, but I'm ready for it. I feel more ready than ever, because outside of planning our wedding together, we've been laying the groundwork for our marriage together in two huge ways.

We've been reading the Bible together more than we have before, which I've come to understand is essential for cultivating the kind of marriage that people should have. I really do believe that marriage is a reflection of the gospel. Our marriage (and lives, for that matter) should be a living example of Christ's self-sacrificial love. This type of love transforms us from the inside out. It challenges us to dig all the way through our self-centeredness and pull our humility up to the surface. I don't think we can truly understand the purpose and beauty of marriage until we understand how it's rooted in God's word. Throughout these last 10 months of engagement, this realization has continued to blow my mind over and over again. Pretty awesome stuff.

We're currently in an eight-week class called "The Gospel and Marriage" with 11 other couples at our church. I'm excited for this because we're reading The Meaning of Marriage, which I've raved about endlessly in my past blog posts. I'm excited for the growth and the intentional community. Last week was our first class, so I'll probably write more about that as time goes on.

We're also reading Francis Chan's marriage book You and Me Forever (which has been incredible so far) and Tim Keller's bible study of Galatians -- which, before diving into that, I decided to read through the entire book of Acts. I've always loved Paul's letters to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, etc. But it never occurred to me that I didn't really know Paul himself. I wanted to know his story and the story of the establishment of the church. Long story short, Acts is amazing.

Now, I know what you're thinking... That's a LOT of God stuff. You're not wrong. But holy crap guys, nothing has made me more excited to commit my entire life to loving and serving Isaac as my husband than learning more about Jesus' commitment to loving and serving people.

I'll be honest, it took me a really long time to have faith again. Like, more than 15 years. Even as of last year, I don't think I was truly a believer. My parents' divorce played a big part in that, but my mom specifically played a bigger part in that (I'm going to make myself write about this eventually). The point is that faith didn't come naturally to me. I did write about that. It took time and a whole lot of mental and emotional work for me. But I've finally reached the point where faith feels real. Where God feels real.

The main reason I know God is real is because people are real. We're made in His image. We are not just "part" of the plan -- we are the plan to make it believable that God exists. We're here to make sure His will is done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I want my life and my marriage to be the lens through which people can see God and know that He is good.

It's a daunting mission. Matthew 7:13-14 even says so.

 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

So that's why we're currently reading four different books, doing premarital counseling and investing in an eight-week marriage class. I want the narrow gate. I want to put in the hard work. I want to stay hungry for the pursuit of growth. And I want to roll up my sleeves -- with Isaac alongside me -- and lay the foundation, with all the sweat and tears and concrete all over our clothes, for a strong marriage that glorifies the one who created it.