Grant and I kneeled together at the prayer bench and Grant took both my hands in his. We had just made our vows to one another, and now we were starting the first few moments of our marriage in prayer.
I heard my dad ask everyone to bow their heads in the presence of God.
Grant and I closed our eyes as Keith Green’s, Make My Life a Prayer to You began to be sung by a family friend.
I listened as he sang,
Make my life a prayer to you, I want to do what You want me to, no empty words and no white lies, no token prayers, no compromise.
I want to shine the light You gave, through Your Son You sent to save us, from our sin and our despair, it comforts me to know You’re really there….
Never had the words seem to ring more true and sincere as they did at that moment. As we kneeled there, I was so thankful that we had chosen this particular song for our first prayer.
It was a song that God had used in both our lives. Grant had listened to this song over and over again in high school. The lyrics had meant a lot to him because they reminded him of his dad’s life. The writer of the song, Keith Green, also died in a plane crash.
The interesting thing was that God had also used this song in my life during college. I can remember many times listening to it in my dorm room and it made such an impact on me that I wrote out the words in the front cover of my Bible as a prayer to the Lord.
We both felt like the song represented how God had been shaping and molding us separately. That’s why we chose it.
But now it was our prayer. Because God had brought us together not simply for our own companionship and joy, but so that we could join together in sharing Him with others and bringing Him glory.
That is God’s ultimate purpose of marriage ~ to bring God greater glory than one could bring alone. We wanted that to be true of our marriage.
As the song continued, Grant grasped my hands even tighter and I heard him say, “Yes, Lord.”
I opened my eyes and looked up, and I found Grant staring at me.
Then the last line of the song was sung,
I want to die and let You give Your life to me so I might live, and share the hope you gave to me. I want to share the love that set me free.
Even though the congregation was still present in the sanctuary, it felt like it was just the two of us before the Lord.
As the song ended, my dad began to pray. He thanked God for the new family that had just begun. He also thanked God for answering Kelly, Susan, Preston, my mom, and his prayers. They had all prayed that God would bring us a godly spouse one day. And God had been faithful.
A tear slipped down my cheek as I thought about what was happening.
God had brought things amazingly full circle.
He had taken the tragic death of Grant’s father years ago and brought yet another beautiful thing out of it.
I couldn’t believe that the seventeen year old boy I had met in high school who was in town visiting his dad’s memorial, was now my husband. My husband!
My dad’s prayer broke my thoughts,
. . .And God, may You give GraceAnna and Grant a godly heritage that would love Christ and follow closely after Him. Help them to be examples to their children. And now Father, may you bless them and keep them. May you cause your face to shine upon them, be gracious to them, lift up their countenance and give them peace and may the grace of the Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of Jesus be with you all. Amen.
Grant and I stood and made our way back to the altar. I felt myself smiling as my excitement rose. This was it! We were married!
As we stood, my dad faced us once again.
“Now Grant,” my dad began with a huge smile on his face.
Oh no! I thought to myself. What is he about to say?
“I told you that you could hold hands with GraceAnna when you got engaged and kiss her when you got married.”
Grant started laughing.
“You may now kiss your bride!”
All the sudden, I got really nervous. All these people were watching us have our very first kiss! And not just our first kiss, but it was the first time I had ever been kissed.
When I was a little girl, my parents had told me that I should save my first kiss for my future husband. There were times when I had thought this was a ridiculous request. Couldn’t I at least kiss when I got engaged?!
But I had honored their wishes. And now, here I was.
My mind began to race . . .what if something embarrassing happens? What if Grant misses? What if. . .
Before I could think another thought, Grant leaned in and kissed me gently.
It was short and sweet, and the most wonderful thing I had ever felt.
The audience erupted in applause.
It had been worth the wait.
“Ladies and Gentleman!” my dad announced, “I would now like to present to you, 1st Lt and Mrs. Grant Robert Castleberry!”
to be continued…