How different.

Less than 36 hours until I'm married! So, so, so, so exciting! And it's pretty amazing because this week really has been one of peace and joy. Really no stress at all. And I've even been freaking out the people around me. They are shocked that I'm so calm in the days leading up to my wedding. I know that's really because I have so many friends praying for us this week. We both know it and can feel it. It's made a world of difference.

It also has to do with the approach we are taking. We're going with a more non-traditional route, as I've previously mentioned. And the idea was to take out a lot of the stress. I may look like a planner and I coordinate things fairly well at my job, but for my own life, it can just be too much. And that's not what I wanted.

We both wanted to just celebrate and share a meal with our people. To take all the hype and over-the-top things out of the picture. Those things just aren't important to us.

But even in that it's been challenging at times in feeling different. People have generally been excited, but also a little taken aback. This doesn't at all fit the normal wedding mold. I get lots of questions.

"What are your colors?" None.
"Things aren't really going to match then..." Totally fine with me.
"Where are you registered?" Nowhere. We aren't asking for gifts.
"Why aren't you walking down the aisle? The bride needs her BIG moment." I don't want it.
"What are your decorations going to be?" Haven't put too much thought into it.

And I know the hearts of the people who ask. They really do love me. They want my wedding day to be great and special. They are trying to wrap their brains around what I'm doing. And they want to make sure I'm making the decisions that I really want to make.

But then there are the moments that are a little more hurtful. The ones that take a little bit more time to recover.

We went to the mall this Sunday to look at rings. Greg bought my engagement ring online. I love, love, love it. I'm not into fancy things. And I am hard on my hands and usually don't wear jewelry because of it. I've already put some scratches in it from the 3 short months I've been wearing it. And because he didn't spend a lot on it, I'm okay with that. I love the idea of being okay with the imperfections and nicks that life can cause.

But for our wedding, Greg wanted us to look around and see if I found something that I would want instead. The idea of even spending hundreds on a ring, that I was likely going to mess up, was a bit stressful. Then we walked through a jewelry store where there were rings for THOUSANDS which made it a million times worse. And we're talking not just one, but multiple numbers to the left of the comma.

Let me take a minute to make a disclaimer. I am not against people spending money on rings. If that is something that's important to you, that's great. We all have our things. And I'm also learning that being frugal also means buying quality. Cheap is not always the way to go. I'm not trying to make the point that spending money is a bad thing. Hang with me for a moment.

The first salesperson we came in contact with was friendly. I'm one of the most annoying shoppers ever and I acknowledge that. I need people to leave me alone initially. I need my time and space to look and get my head together. Then I'm okay for you to talk to me. It takes me FOREVER to think it over and go over my options. I don't take purchases lightly, especially those over $50. This salesman was very respectful and gave us our space.

Shortly after, another woman came over and was quite a bit more assertive. Greg, the wonderful man that he is, jumped right in and told her we needed to look at the rings that were in the hundreds and not thousands.

That was when everything changed. Her mannerisms changed. I felt judged. She was almost rude. She started pulling rings out one by one, looking at the price tags, and putting them back. She was not nice or friendly. And, I get it. She works on commission. She knew she wouldn't be making much if she sold us anything. I just don't want to be treated like trash. I don't want to feel like she's judging our relationship based on the money that we are willing to spend. It's not about that.

It's about being confident in who you are. Realizing that ever single person in this world is different. That means that every single relationship, friendship, and marriage is different. And it's wonderful. Beautiful.

It's about choosing the things that are important to you and sticking with those things. About letting the insecurities fall away. Letting the fears fall away.

(After Greg pre-read this, I felt the need to add something else. The saleswoman may not have intended to come across the way she did. She didn't just smirk and send us off to Walmart. I was already in overwhelmed-uncomfortable-mode, so it wouldn't take much to set me off.)

We stopped at another local store that specializes in jewelry the next day. The woman there made all the difference. She was so kind and friendly. She gave me my space but helped when I asked. She treated us like people and was there to help. We told her our price range and she showed us some options. She made me feel comfortable. I found one that I liked, but it was a little more than what we were wanting to spend. Greg was willing to buy it, but I wasn't willing to commit to it just yet. We decided to drive around a bit and look at a few other places.

I told Greg that I'm sure we could get a better deal somewhere else. He reminded me that cheaper wasn't always better. Quality was important. And the woman that took the time to help us, was also worth spending a bit more. He's beginning to expand my definition of what being a good steward of my money is. That saving every single penny isn't the main goal. Where our money goes is a much bigger thing than just saving.

As we talked, Greg gave me the option of getting my current engagement ring engraved on the inside. He's had an idea of that for awhile now. So it was either a new ring or get the old one engraved. At that point, it wasn't even really a decision. Words get me every time. That was more important.

The only problem was that he'd have to take my ring off to get it engraved for the wedding. But he had a "placeholder" I could wear until then.

The keyring that he used to find out my ring size. The "placeholder" for him before we were even engaged.

Side note, my finger still has a rust stain on it from wearing it only a couple of days. And I honestly don't even care. For future reference though, keyrings aren't meant to be worn as rings for an extended period of time. But hey, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Greg and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend small group last night. It's the group I've been in for the last 6 months or so. And he's been able to visit twice now with me.

To fit our theme perfectly we talked about being different. How it even seems to be pretty universal that we all feel different. But how that's really the way it's supposed to be. We are all different.

At the end the whole group prayed for us. And it was wonderful. We got in the middle of the room, in the middle of this family of ours, and felt the love they had for us. They blessed us in our differences. They spoke words of deep longing I’ve had for years. They encouraged and built us up. They spoke truth.

And we stood there together. I felt my arm close to Greg’s. I felt the difference in my heart over these last months. How my affections have been deepened. How my walls have fallen. How I’m learning to be loved and to love. How different we are from when we first started dating.

I recognized how different our relationship is from others that I see. How I knew that from the beginning. I knew that going in to this. And we are so different from each other, but yet so much the same.

I stood there with my arms open and my eyes closed in prayer. My rust stained finger and all. My joy and excitement for the future. My hope in how different our lives are and will be.

How there is a plan for us. How we couldn't accomplish what we were meant to accomplish without our differences.

Different really isn’t so bad after all.


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