This season is teaching me a lot about what it means to trust God’s kindness and choosing to be still (yes, again). A lot of it has to do with my long-neglected habit of stopping… More
I’ve been wanting to write this ever since the day we said “I do!” and, to be honest, I look at photos of our wedding day probably a little too frequently. I just loved it; it was the best of days.
If you’ve never planned a wedding before, let me just clear something up: it’s not easy. And the hard part doesn’t even really come from the logistics, but from the opinions of others. If you let them, the pressures that spill from other peoples’ words will steal your joy in your wedding-planning season. I admit, I fell into that trap – at first.
As some of you know, Tyler and I started dating again in June 2015. We both knew pretty quickly where God was leading us, so it wasn’t a shock to many people that we were going to get married. What was a shock to everyone, is how short our time of engagement was. To some, it seemed like we didn’t have the patience to wait; to us, it felt like a long time coming. That’s a post for another time, but I’ll sum up our short engagement like this: when my peace gets a certain amount of heavy about what God wants me to do, it’s so much easier for me to jump.
So, the wedding planning began. With a combination of a small budget and our readiness and excitement to start our journey together, you could say our thinking got a bit crazy. If you know me, I’m a planner and normally like to have things well thought-out before I do something. But with this? All of that went out the window. And I was 100% okay with it.
THE BACK STORY
We started out by setting the date at September 10th, 2016. We were going to get married in the town where we grew up, in an outside chapel at the city park, and have the reception in one of the conference rooms nearby. And then, we started on the guest list. Looking at that next to our slim budget made my stress levels skyrocket, and we knew we had to go with another plan.
The beach, for us, has always been a very special place. It was on a day trip we took to Gulf Shores in the summer of 2015, that I knew I wanted to be his travel partner forever. Tyler and I had tossed around the idea of getting married at the beach, but always as a dream, not a suggestion. The more we talked about it, the more we decided we were just crazy enough to do it. We decided around the first of June that we would get married on July 23rd in Navarre, FL (that’s right – a month away). Needless to say, we had some very opinionated responses to that. But we just had to decide that it didn’t matter – this is what we wanted.
I had about a month to plan, so all in June, we bought my wedding dress (thank you, Mom!), Tyler’s outfit, makeup, accessories, a burlap runner to use for the aisle, and some tiki torches to use for decoration at the wedding. We also ordered and sent out invitations!
Oh, and my stepdad got ordained.
I borrowed everything for the reception from my too-generous aunt, and made reservations at the only place large enough in the city to hold everybody. Because of our funds and space, we were only able to invite our families and a few of my closest friends. It was a hard decision, but one we had to make.
WEDDING DAY – MORNING
Things got crazier leading up to the wedding, as it was hard for our guests to find places to stay on such short notice, in the middle of the summer. By the grace of God, everyone found a place, and everything was ready!
Tyler and I drove down to Florida after our work days on Friday, the 22nd, and stayed with his parents at a condo they rented. I woke up the next morning, on my wedding day, in disbelief that our day was actually happening. I was so excited and had the greatest peace.
Unlike many weddings I’ve been to and have been a part of, it was the chillest wedding morning ever. Tyler came into my room that morning as I was waking up, kissed my head, and whispered, “Happy wedding day. I love you. There’s coffee in the kitchen.”
I walked in the common room, grabbed some coffee, and enjoyed it on the balcony overlooking the beach. Later, we walked down to the beach with family and enjoyed time together until it was time for my hair/makeup artist (AKA my little sister) to arrive to start my prep.
It took about two hours for me to get ready, and then it was time to go!
Makeup and Hair: Sydney Gillilan (sister)
Dress: Altar’d State
Bouquet: Michelle Shelton (mama)
Photographers: Michelle Shelton, Kayla Partridge
There haven’t been too many times in my life that something important went awry, and I laughed in response. The start to our wedding ceremony just happens to be one of those things.
As I was finishing up gluing my fake eyelashes onto my face in the car, we pulled up to the city pavilion, where I imaged we’d walk through to the beach, and everything would be laid out and ready to go (because nobody is on the beach at 6PM right? People have to eat! Wrong. So wrong.). I open the back door to the car, and see my mom standing in the middle of the parking lot, looking like she’s been in summer’s heat for an hour. No makeup (or maybe it was there at one point?), and a nervous look on her face, she walks toward us and whispers something to my sister. About five minutes later, I find out that someone has laid on our burlap runner (my aisle) as if it’s a beach towel to sunbathe, and my sister is in the process of telling them not-so-kindly to MOVE. I laughed really hard.
At about 6:15, the strange people had finally found something else to lay on, and my precious friends and family had found somewhere else to set up my little wedding. And so it was time.
I latched onto my daddy’s arm, and we made our way to where everyone was standing. “Which side are you supposed to stand on?” he asked. “Ehh.. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out.” With a shocked look on his face, he responded, “You must really want this. I’ve never known you to just ‘wing’ anything.” “Yes, I do,” I said with a smile. About a half a mile later (okay, a little bit exaggerated), we reached the runner and from that point forward, the only person I saw was Tyler and the only thing I felt was the peace and presence of God.
Officiate: Kyle Shelton (stepdad)
Music: Lauren Oden, Violin // Katie Compton Brasher, Guitar and Vocals // “La Reyna” – Penny & Sparrow (wedding song), “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”, Be Thou My Vision (special), Make You Feel My Love – Adele
After we made our covenant in front of our loved ones, we started back down the aisle as one (with, might I add, an awkward delay in music). We made our way up to a hill nearby and had a moment together of “wow. this is it!” before it was time for a few photos.
We pulled up to East River, which I had only seen in photos, and I hoped to Jesus that everything would be decent. It far exceeded my expectations. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, the company, the delicious food, the view of the beautiful bay, and the live music!
It was so fun to have everyone in one place, and I’ve never felt more celebrated or beautiful in my life. After everyone’s bellies were full, we danced in the sand and took some more photos before the sun went down.
Food and Host: East River Smokehouse – Navarre, Florida
Cake: baked by Publix, decorated by Jake Funderburg, Gina Poole, and Beth Tate (sweet in-laws)
Decorations: courtesy of Rhona Osborne (love that aunt of mine)
To my sister, Sydney, that threw my bridal shower, prettied me up for my big day, and made me feel like the most beautiful of brides. Oh – and chased down the people who laid on top of my aisle.
To my stepdad, Kyle, who willingly (and over-excitedly) stepped up to marry us. We were honored to have you officiate our wedding.
To my mama, who took beautiful photos, laced together my bouquet, bought flowers the morning-of, worked tirelessly to make sure my day went smoothly, and did so much more than I probably realize.
To Jake, my brother-in-love, who took initiative to create our cake, buy decorations, and make it look awesome with the help of other sweet family members.
To Brittany, the best of friends, who bought me a pre-game sandwich so I wouldn’t pass out mid-vows. You’re a lifesaver.
To our friends and family, who helped with set-up and take down, and who supported Tyler and I in our wedding decisions, as crazy and disastrous as they might have seemed. Thank you for your understanding and willingness to support our wedding dreams.
To everyone else who played a part in our wedding day, thank you thank you thank you. It was the best day of our lives to date, and we couldn’t have done it without you!
Some days it feels like a win.
Coffee is set to make in the morning, lunches are made with a sweet note inside. The floor is swept and candles are lit. Dinner is on the table just in time for stomachs to growl, and the dinnertime prayer is full of thankfulness and gratitude.
Other days, it just feels like a mess.
The pantry is empty because we’re plain busy and clothes haven’t been washed in days. There’s dust on the picture frames and we’re almost out of toothpaste (again). Work is stressful and I haven’t painted my toenails in months.
Yes – ups and downs. But always together.
What a gift we have in this covenant, what a beautiful thing we share. It’s hard and it’s easy. It’s fun and it’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been. But to have someone see you so close up, with more flaws and quirks than they ever thought a person could have, and for them to say they love you even more than before? That’s a gift.
What a picture of Jesus. What a slice of heaven on earth.
Today for lunch, I went to one of my favorite spots. I got cozy in my booth and enjoyed a much-needed hearty meal for the first time in months (thank you to my appetite, who decided to make its grand return this week).
As I waited on my food, I heard buzz all around me, coming from business meetings, mom-to-mom lunch dates, and other chatters. Slowly but surely, I began to feel lonely.
It occurred to me, however, while I sat with my hand propped on my hungry tummy, that I wasn’t alone at all. There’s a little life inside of me.
That’s a small, but big thing to process. Kind of like the idea of having a baby in general.
My baby is small (the app on my phone says he or she is the size of a plum – how cute!), but so, so very big. Big enough to change my focus, how Tyler and I use our money, and the way I function (hello, hormones and dizziness). Big enough to give my body a second heart beat, and to make me feel as if my own heart could burst with joy, excitement, or fear at any given moment.
With great purpose set by God, this little life lives inside me, small but big.
And the more I think about it, my life should be that – small, but big.
There are times when I should stay small. Under the shelter and in the safety of my Father’s wings, in the humility of my need for grace, in the quietness of His presence.
Other times, I need to be bigger. In loving people out of my comfort zone, dreaming God-sized dreams, having faith that moves mountains, and answering calls on my life that are so much bigger than me and my ability.
Small, like that little whisper you hear when Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. Big, like the amazing and perfect love our Father lavishes on us. Small, like the baby boy who entered this world with great purpose. Big, like the most captivating and sacrificial “I love you” that anyone could ever say.
The past few weeks have been . . . (what word do I even use?) . . . a bit chaotic in the Funderburg household.
On Friday, November 18th, my husband and I were surprised to discover that we are expecting! That’s right, I’m growing a human.
On Saturday, December 3rd, we decided to go look at some car options since my beloved Cobalt blows across the road with a gust of wind and has a too-tiny-to-fit-a-carseat backseat. So, we settled on a 2013 Chevy Equinox from a reputable dealership in town. We loved the size and the color and the features and all was well. Until the days following, when we discovered a horrifying problem and I seriously had a conversation with myself about whether or not it was plagued (hint: post title. I know – ew!).
Beyond that, we’ve had some (minor) health scares and our heat go out (twice), along with my fun nausea and feeling of being gross and useless because of how tired I am.
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Without an eternal perspective (and trust me, that outlook is my initial reaction with things like this), it’s easy to get emotional (hello, hormones) and just downright frustrated pretty quickly.
But with an eternal perspective, it’s easy to see that the enemy is trying everything he can to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. Here we are, starting out the holiday season excited about a precious baby on the way, and in he steps with all-the-things. Jokes on him, because I’m onto his scheme.
I wonder what he’s trying with you right now? I wonder what nuisance, what fear, what doubt, what situation he’s pouring into your life to make you forget the goodness of God?
See, my battle isn’t against the car or the heater, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).”
Let’s choose to fight, my friend. And by fight, I mean stand still and let our God war for us the battle He’s already won.
“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14
I pray this over you, over us, and hope that you will grab onto the promises of God today and trust in His victory:
A whirl of frustration swirls around me as hard situations come and thoughts of doubt creep in. Today, I’m choosing to declare that in Your name, I have victory over the enemy and his schemes.
In Jesus’ name, I am blessed when I go in and when I go out. I am the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. In Jesus’ name, darkness, you have no power here. Sickness, you have no power here. Chaos, you have no power here! I declare that my God will trample my enemies under His feet, and will lift me up, blessing me with good things. I am His child, I am blessed, and no harm may come to me in the name of Jesus! My God will fight for me, I need only be still. At the sound of Jesus’ name, all darkness must flee, and all joy, hope, and peace reside. Thank you, Jesus, for Your sweet name, and for fighting for me.
In Your name I pray, Amen!
This time last year, I imagine I was probably sitting in a classroom in my athletic shorts and sweatshirt (that business school was cold in the mornings). I was also probably counting down the minutes until class would be over, so I’d be able to go grab food with a friend or head back to my room for my weekly Harry Potter marathon.
It was a hard season, truth be told. There were unexpected doctor visits with unexpected diagnoses, anxieties and thoughts like a black cloud in my mind, and the pressures of expectations for my adult life crashing in like all-consuming waves.
I clung to Jesus like I never had before, and depended on him for every morsel of strength. I wept almost daily as I fought spiritual warfare that I never expected to be so familiar with. I lost fellowship with people and yearned for someone – anyone – to understand me. I felt isolated, defeated, fearful, and robbed of joy.
I lost sight of my purpose, deemed myself unredeemable, and begged Him to take it all away.
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Now that the black cloud is gone and He has healed me, I am in a new season. Not just mentally and emotionally, but the world around me looks a lot different.
In May, I got engaged to the love of my life. We were married in July, and it was the happiest of days. He is my God-sent light in the dark.
Also in May, I graduated from the school I called home, and started my first big-girl job at the beginning of June.
Today, instead of the comfort of athletic shorts and a sweatshirt, I wear a dress and makeup. I sit at a desk that looks a lot different, in an office that’s cozy surrounded by a hallway of people I love, but who are different than my former classmates.
It’s all very different, and I’m really just trying to figure out how to go from being a t-shirt-wearing, coffee shop-habitant of a college student to an adulting Mrs. And I’ve decided that’s it’s okay to admit that it’s a beautifully hard thing.
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In this new, adult, married life, I am someone new. I have a new name, a new life, a new season in which I can be used by God in places I couldn’t before.
I’m in the process of learning the balance between mourning a season that has been lost, with all the built-in, relatable community and the free time, and rejoicing in this beautiful new season I’ve been given, that sometimes makes me do a double-take and ask God, “how in the world do I deserve such a blessing as this?”
Maybe you feel that way too? I don’t know where you are in life, or what season you’re in. Maybe you’re in a hard season, or are coming out of one like I am.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from where I just came from, it’s that there is always a new season around the corner, always redemption for the seemingly unredeemable, always a new song that you can learn to sing. And when Jesus seems the farthest from you, He is the closest, working everything out in your life for His purpose and your good.
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When I came across the words of Sara Gilmore, I realized something: I need to celebrate more, and I need to intentionally point out the things that are worth celebrating. I believe when we choose to celebrate, we invite God into our lives in a special way, and I believe we can breathe easier as we take every opportunity to thank Him for what He’s given us, instead of spending almost every moment asking Him to take the hard things away.
Like her, I feel prepped for redemption, for a season of celebration.
So, I’ve dedicated my November to celebrating my new season. Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting about something (or someone) I’m celebrating.
Will you join me in celebrating yours? Feel free to join me with this hashtag (#choosecelebration) on any social media. I’d love to see what you’re thankful for each day!
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I do this thing where I feel like, until I have something to really say, I can’t write.
I’m beginning to see that viewing my gift that way is harmful, being that I know God has called me to a life of the written word.
So here I am, showing up today – not with any “sticky statement” or words that soothe, but with all the vulnerability and rawness that is me to tell you a little about what’s going on in my life and what I’m learning.
I just love my husband. And I love that God chose us for each other, to come together as one and do His kingdom work. I love running my race with him, waking up next to his mustached face every single morning, and being his best friend. It is the biggest joy of my life in this season just to get to love him.
The first little bit wasn’t without its challenges. How could it not be? We are two very different people coming from two very very different backgrounds. The meshing of us took, and still takes, a little growing pain. But I love the beauty in that. In Jesus Christ, there is always togetherness. And he’s my favorite kind of togetherness.
We’ve gotten to spend a lot of great time together lately, including a wonderful trip to the mountains with some of his side of the family. It was such a gift to get away for the weekend and take some time to reconnect, be still, and marvel at the beauty that is our Savior.
Ah, this. Y’all. It is so hard.
There are great parts about it, indeed. I have a beautiful home that I get to decorate and a job that treats me well. But that part of me that was ready to graduate college and start something new didn’t necessarily think about how all of her friends were going to move to different states, or have a full-time job that kept them busy, or still have that college life she now is without, to so inevitably cause (what I call) changing pains. It becomes hard to relate, hard to work coffee dates in, and hard to juggle responsibilities.
I’ll talk more on that in a moment, but that’s my main thought about adulthood today. In that difficult realization, I pray that God will stretch my faith in Him, and surround me with that encouragement and doing-life-together-commitment that I once had.
That sweet baby. She is so sassy and (oh my goodness) talks back to us just like she’s a teenager. She’s been sick the last few days and has been hanging out outside, but still needy as ever. Part of me just loves that. Somebody needing me. She’s precious and I’m so glad she’s a part of our little family.
Tyler and I are in a small group and it’s given us a wonderful source of older couples to look to as mentors. We are also in a curriculum called FREEDOM and are learning a lot about ourselves and the grace of God. We love it and look forward to going every week!
I think where we struggle is finding couples our age to be in community with. Because we’re both new to this thing, we’re also new to finding community in our life stage. As for me, this is the first time I’ve ever had to search for people my age to be friends with. Kindergarten through senior year of college? All I ever saw were people my age. So that’s hard. But I know God is always at work.
As I’ve already mentioned a couple times, I’m really working on this trust thing. With community, with my time, with my money, with mine and Tyler’s marriage, with my life. There are so many questions I long to have answered, but I know in the silence I just have to stay close to Him.
I knew at my first preview day that I was supposed to go. And I had a pretty good idea why. Jokes.
Just for the past 6 weeks of being a student at HC, the whole reason I’m there has changed. I went from thinking I was going to be a social media-er and “marketer,” if you will, for a church someday to knowing deep within me that I am supposed to write. That is my call.
Problem is, none of the directed studies dealt at all with that. So, I switched to a different program in the same school, which I was not expecting. I still feel that strong call to HC, and I don’t know why God put me there yet. But I’m excited to find out.
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. . . So that’s me these days! I’d love to hear updates from you as well. If you’d like to keep up with me and our little family, be sure to check out this page to follow me on social media!
My husband and I have a Great Dane puppy.
Rori is a little over three months old and, as you can imagine, is a ball full of energy. She makes us laugh with her backtalk (or backbark) when we tell her to go to bed, gives us a reason to work on our patience, and shows us what innocent love looks like.
Lately, I’ve had a bit of trouble getting Rori to eat. Now this is unusual for me because every dog (especially puppy) that I’ve known has always played the same part in the same scenario: they stare wide-eyed at the rattling bowl as I slowly make my way to the floor, and then proceed to eat every last crumb as if they have never had food in their life.
It’s not because she’s not hungry or because she’s disinterested in the brand of puppy food, but because she’s too excited that I’m in the room.
This morning as I once again bent down and held her close, it hit me.
We should be more like Rori.
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As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve had a bit of a mental struggle going on the past year. As I’ve been praying for healing and wrestling with God over the ‘why’s, He’s been saying to me, “I want you to want Me more than you want the healing.”
Gosh, what a thought to ponder.
Rori gets it. She may not understand the ‘sit’ command yet, or even the ‘don’t wreck the house’ command, but she understands loving her mommy before she loves the things Mommy gives her.
God wants us to love Him like Rori loves on me – with wild abandon, passion, and excitement. He wants us to love and desire Him first, to come and sit with Him and be still in His presence, before we ask and expect and want other things.
Does He long to bless us? Of course He does, He’s our Father. But even more – He wants our hearts, He wants a relationship with us.
So I’m actively working on this, and I hope you’ll join me. Let’s choose to seek Him first before all things, and before we enjoy the blessings He gives us or ask for even more, let’s sit in His presence as He bends down, holds us in His arms, and soothes us.
After all, what in the world is better than being in the presence of our Savior? Absolutely nothing.
What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.
People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. – Luke 12:31-32 MSG, emphasis mine
…and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. – 2 Chronicles 7:14 MSG
I’m asking God for one thing,
only one thing:
To live with him in his house
my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
I’ll study at his feet. – Psalm 27:4 MSG