Thursday, August 1, 2013

My Wedding Dress is Flying to Kenya

Our 11th wedding anniversary is 10 days away.  Every year gets sweeter.  Even though the newlywed self can't comprehend it, the love becomes deeper.  As you wade through the trenches of life together, there are trips and falls.  There are attacks from outside forces.  Soldiering through the trenches together, deepens the love.

If your honeymoon was a few years ago, and you find yourself missing the romantic feelings of your engagement or honeymoon period because you're up to your chin with mud from the responsibilities of real life, can I give you a ration, soldier? Mercy triumphs.  If you want the victory of love to flow freely in your marriage, it will come by your decision to give mercy.  No situation is too big for mercy.  I don't say that lightly.

Mercy is refreshing and life-giving.  It's like walking up to a person who has been in a foxhole for days with no water and administering an IV and giving them a 2 liter of ice cold water at the same time.  This mercy is a second chance.  If you want victory, there has to be chance to restart because life just isn't perfect.  Sean and I have given each other the gift of mercy, and our love has had victory after victory.

Because of that victory, we are on a honeymoon that lasts.  When your marriage is built on the foundation of the kind of love that yields mercy, refreshment comes your way in the form of date nights spent at home.  Refreshment comes from holding each others' hands when facing a scary circumstance and praying and talking through the fear.  Refreshment comes in the master bedroom with the door locked and candles lit.  It comes in working out together (which helped me lose 30 lbs to get back into the dress).  Refreshment comes from serving others.  

I was recently given the unique opportunity to send my wedding dress to Kenya.  A friend of a friend was asking for donations.  I knew immediately that I wanted to say yes.  After hearing more details, I am even more sure that it is an honor to give this treasure away.

This friend of a friend, Kathryn, is leaving for a mission in Mombasa for 10 days to help put on a beach camp for homeless teen boys.  Her church runs a community center in Mombasa that provides many different kinds of outreach- soccer camps, family dinners, infant care workshops, and events.  They are going to rent out the donated wedding dresses to raise income to run these activities.

Weddings are elaborate in Kenya.  The festivities last a week.  Wedding dresses are a big part.  In fact, there is a ceremony where the bride shows off her hairstyle and dress as a passage into the womanhood of marriage.  Women who become Christians are excommunicated from their typically Muslim families and become very poor.  The opportunity to rent a dress makes an impossibility an option.  Additionally, it makes a Western option available for African missionaries.  

I have butterflies thinking about the trip my dress is about to take.  She was vacuum sealed in my closet, doomed to that fate because I have no daughters to tell our wedding story to one day.  What was destined for single-serving use will become a dress for many.

This dress is taking another from our household on this journey.  She will be accompanied by a Wii gaming system that my children have been trying to re-home for a year.  Every friend they asked had no need for it.  Kathryn was already collecting games and accessories, and so it was a heartwarming gift to Sean and I that our kids have agreed to send it to Mombasa with her so that other children can enjoy the fun of playing games together.

I don't share all of this to collect accolades or to boast of our hearts.  Yes, people will be blessed by what we have given, but I share this because my family was in need.  We needed to understand that we have the ability to impact our world.  It doesn't take a fat bank roll to do it.  We don't have to wait for the training, financing, or ideal circumstances.  We simply gave what we already had.

My sweet friend Cara is an example of this.  I told her I wanted to take pictures for a gift to my husband for our anniversary, but also to bring awareness to this cause through this blog post.  She gave her gift of photography.  When I texted her out of the blue to ask if we could do it, she jumped in the car and came right over.  I love that.  She did that because she knows how to give what she already has.  It's a muscle that has developed muscle memory.  That's how she stopped everything in a moment's notice to say, "Let's do this."

I can't wait to see my husband's face when he sees me in this dress again after all these years.  To me, it symbolizes that we have a freshness in our marriage.  We are still on our honeymoon and we will survive the warfare.  We are soldiers of love ready to bring rations of hope to the world.

If celebrating that is wrong, I don't want to be right! 

 Keep up, Honey! 


  1. We are soldiers of love ready to bring rations of hope to the world.

    I love that!!!!! This brought Tears and you my friend ARE DOING IT! NOT YOUR WAY BUT GODS WAY! :)

  2. Wow, Beja! This is absolutely beautiful...,and YOU are absolutely beautiful in your dress! Sean will love these pictures! I'm inspired by your willingness to let material things go from your grasp into others' hands who will be blessed by the treasure of your dress. Hugs! 💕

  3. Awww... so sweet friend! How fun! I seriously don't think I would fit in my old wedding dress!! Eeek!! In fact, I KNOW I wouldn't!! What a great cause and I would expect no less from you to send it on! You're a rock star! Just gorgeous!! Love you! Claire


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