One remarkable thing I have observed is the learning process. I never seem to have come to the point where I now know it all or I have the right relationship formula. I guess Jesus plays his J part in the JET bond in such a way that he’s always teaching. We on the other hand have a choice, to miss class or to keep on learning. Missing class and going by what we think we know always proved to have a negative consequence since the first day I met Turi. I have experienced it. There is a way that seems right to a man but its end is destruction. Banking on the words of Christ even when I did not understand why, brought blessings beyond what I deserved. This is our GOD. That though he was rich yet for our sake he made himself poor that we through his poverty might become rich. This is our God. Christ’s words when obeyed in my relationship have always left me positively rich, nothing less. Rich is character. Rich in patience. Rich in attitude and even Rich materially speaking. He’s provided. The blessing of the LORD makes rich and adds no sorrow. Christ’s words ignored have left regret.
Turi and I are not blow-your-money rich. We drive a Toyota and use matatus very often. We cry foul when iMax is charging students 500sh for Spiderman after we have just graduated and we are regulars at flea markets. One important lesson we both have learnt is living within one’s means.
Every girl who desires to marry would want diamond chandeliers for her wedding and velvet draping that matches the maids’ dresses. And every guy marrying that lady would want to give her exactly that. However, being in the process of planning our wedding, I kind of thank J that we had just what we needed. There was no excess to pour. There has been enough to spend and even enough to give away. I realized that God doesn’t give anyone a tithing-off season just because they’re getting married. But what I have also seen is that GOD truly honours and favours his children. Because they’re holy? No. They’re not actually. If they were, he wouldn’t have died for them now would he?. Because they’re worthy? No. They’re not that either. Because they’ve waited for sex till marriage? Not primarily, no.
Because HE is Good. This is our God
Where to start
At the beginning of the year, Turi and I had nothing but our savings. Venues were pretty much expensive. The cheapest best we got was 55,000sh. We had to add a further 30,000kes to have photography costs incurred. The total was 85,000kes. There were other cheaper venues but the standards were appalling. We settled on this particular one not far from the city. The day I went to pay the deposit, I was told it was already booked yet we had secured the date. I was frustrated. I called Turi. We had to start looking again. The previous day, Turi had an intuition about Brackenhurst. It came strongly and she kept wondering why. In my mind, I dismissed the idea. Brackenhurst was a lofty retreat centre with foreigners lodging there. The price was likely to be close to 200,000kes. Still, I trusted her intuition and we called Brackenhurst. Brackenhurst offered us their grounds for the ceremony, the reception, the photography and a nature trail for only 45,000kes! Boy was I glad the other venue was booked.
Lesson: Trust a godly woman’s intuition. This is our God.
Free is Free
We drove to Brackenhurst to see the grounds. What a beautiful place it was! It was too good to be true. We paid a deposit and secured the 45,000kes price. We were served by a lady called Mercy. Mercy had recently been married and had graduated from Samantha Bridal as a wedding planner. Seeing that we were getting married, she offered her services. She pulled out her tools: files, contacts, contracts, designs, fliers, cards et al. From the get go, we knew we couldn’t afford her. She was very professional and had top class information. We told her we were sorry. Mercy didn’t take no for an answer. Her response nearly ripped out my kneecaps. “That’s okay,” she said, “I will plan it for free.” I couldn’t help but ask what free meant. To my surprise, Mercy’s definition of free rhymes with mine. No charge at all. And she’s been planning ever since.
Lesson: God can use strangers. This is our God.
At the beginning of the year, Turi and I went for the Samantha Bridal fashion show in Westlands. I had been jittery about buying my suit. I knew that I had money in my savings but the prices around town spooked me. I asked Christ to ease the burden expenses. I had no idea he was quick to reply. We arrived just in time for the show. We watched breathtaking dresses and suits grace the runway. And in the process, it reminded me of my undue expense. During the show, the MC asked all the men to get onstage. Curiosity defied my shyness and I got onstage. She said that she would cast a white hat in the throng of men. We were to fight for it. The winner would win a prize. She turned and cast the hat. We scrambled and poured all over the runway. I emerged victorious getting 90% of the ripped hat. The prize was a full wedding tuxedo worth 55,000sh (designer shoes, shirt and socks inclusive).
Lesson: There’s nothing too big for our God. This is our God.
Food for thought
I was elated after the tux. A lesson I learnt in the process is how man easily forgets the faithfulness of Christ. I had prayed for the suit and it came. Yet despite me having seen the miracle, I was worried about provision. I knew my job would have to sacrifice a lot for the wedding. I just did not imagine it would feel so difficult at times. But J was with me. And as if to prove it to me again, I experienced another peculiar blessing. My parents one morning during breakfast told me, “Ernest, we’ve been thinking about the food for the wedding and we have decided that we will take care of all of it.” And thus hundreds of thousands of shillings were cancelled off the budget.
Lesson: Christ feeds the birds of the air, how much more you his child. This is our God.
If he dresses the lilies, he will dress the bride
The next month, I focused a lot on growing Pen Strokes. I dedicated it to Christ and the outreach was overwhelming. We got readers from Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, India, Alaska, Canada, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Zambia, Palu, Indonesia and Kenya. One lady from Uganda by the name of Sandra found me on Facebook. She asked if I was the writer of Pens Strokes. I affirmed it. She asked to print a few to share with her friends in church. I gladly accepted. A few days later, Turi and I were praying for a wedding dress. Turi could not find one that she liked. The ones she liked were too pricy. I told Turi that J would provide like he did the tux. A day or two after that. Sandra writes to me a message on Facebook. She tells me she doesn’t know why she’s doing this but she ‘s giving me a wedding dress. All she knows is that God asked her to do it. And send the dress she did. And thus another prayer was answered.
Lesson: Be about God’s business and He will be about yours. This is our God.
God was taking centre stage in the wedding. He brought us to a point where he asked us to choose between to either have Him be the centre of the wedding or to have ourselves. If you ever get to this point beloved, choose Christ. Choose the cross and bear the loss. This life was never about us in the first place. Let him take centre stage and watch him move to bless not only you but others as well. We are not worthy people. We are not perfect people. We are not great and we are not better than others. We are just saved people. This is just a tip of the iceberg of the gospel of J. This is his grace that sustains those that follow him. It is the grace of our Jesus who being in the very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself a man and died on a cross for us so that we may stand right in the presence of a Holy God when we die someday. I pray that you may give him a chance. This is our God.
What more does this Almighty Maker have in store? I guess I will have to wait for September the 1st 2012 to discover.