Posted by: Kara Luker | September 7, 2011

Giving thanks no matter what

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have been planning a wedding – my wedding, in fact. It’s not the sort of thing that suits my strengths or interests and, in all honesty, I prefer the idea of something simple and private. But my heart is for community and feels so joyful to include the people who have shared this long, sometimes difficult road, revealed the grace of God to me, and helped me get to this place. I also happen to have an amazing friend named Sheree who loves me and, despite my complete inability to comprehend, thoroughly enjoys event planning.

Everything was moving forward nicely, thanks to John, Sheree, and an entourage of fun family and friends. I had a groom, bridesmaids, dress, venue, and even some $7 backup bridesmaid dresses from Target in case my shopping trips continued to reveal only stiff, shiny dresses like the one I wore to my prom in the 80’s.

When the restrictions and costs associated with the venue became prohibitive, I got briefly discouraged before deciding it was a perfect opportunity to “rejoice in all things.” Because God is bigger than anything life can throw at me and will use every situation to achieve the good things he wants for me. I had a minor breakthrough that very evening and became excited again for our very special day in December.

What I didn’t realize was the building sense of expectation. Whittling things down to accommodate new, potentially smaller venues provoked unpleasant conversations, like the deep hurts and offenses that followed my first, very small wedding nearly 20 years ago. And an anticipation of who would be hurt this time. The terrible, awful truth is that I can’t invite everyone I love and appreciate or please everyone with my choices. The impending failure felt like a crushing weight on my insides.

An old, familiar rebellion rose up in me. I wanted to throw off everything anyone expected of me, including this wedding. To give John my heart without the fanfare, without the expectations. I whimpered out a feeble “thank you” to the Lord through my anger for this circumstance, and attempted to wrestle down my will so I could hear his voice.

It wasn’t until I was walking around my neighborhood late last night that I realized how personally I had taken the comments; how responsible I felt for the breaches in friendship and offenses taken; how scared I was of causing more. I walked, cried, and talked to John about a private ceremony. He comforted me and said we would talk and pray it through. I went to bed with a soft heart.

There was a sweet reconciliation this morning, but the tears continued. I whispered another “thank you” to the Lord and headed off to my day. The level of emotion seemed excessive and I finally asked God what it was all about. Understanding came. This weekend was a perfect picture of the rebellion I displayed so vehemently as a teenager. I hated myself for it, thinking I was a wretched person – a bad girl, a black sheep – hell-bent on destruction. I don’t mean to excuse the behavior or blame anyone but the truth is that I was hurting, crushed by the weight of expectations I didn’t think I could meet.

Through this understanding and his pervasive presence, the Lord touched my heart, unearthed something more true of myself than my behavior, showed me he loved me no less during those awful years – or on days like yesterday, and spoke healing into me. It was not remotely what I was expecting to get out of frustrated wedding plans and weak rejoicing, but that is just how big, how strong, how loving, and how faithful he is. To take whatever we’ve got and make it into something beautiful. Not only do I get to step into marriage with a lightened load and better understanding of God’s love for me, but with a greater trust in his ability to bring good out of every circumstance and an increased vision to see past actions and into the hearts of his people. Go God!


  1. Kara, you write with such lucid transparency. Your ‘Day’ in December is Your Day! Celebrate your love for and with John and let the chips fall where they may.
    If one will chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand; then God in His Majesty, has chosen His unsual math to allow the two of you to “blow away” all the accusations and fiery darts of the enemy of Love.
    I love your transparent writing, I love you and John, and I love our God. My history with Him has been: God is Love!

    • Ray, The way you write speaks right to my heart. I receive all you’ve said and stand in agreement with you that God is love! Thanks for loving us. Hope to see you soon.

  2. Such a good description of how the unhealthy coping mechanisms we create hide the truth and hurt inside. I’ve experienced deliverance from some of those unhealthy coping mechanisms, and all the while the Lord never made me feel guilty for having used those to get me to the present. He simply greeted me with revelation, kindness, and a better way. I see this in your post.

    • I saw so clearly what I wanted to say yet couldnt quite spit it out. But wow you said it so well – bring greeted with kindness, revelation and a better way!

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