ODLifestyle

The McNeil Wedding Story – Love Never Fails

When I still lived in Jacksonville, right before my big move to the city, I secretly prayed over my love life. I had an intimate conversation with God about the type of partner I wanted. I asked Him for someone who was: kind, fun, purpose-driven, and a partner in every sense of the word. In that quiet moment I prayed for my husband, our life together, and the legacy that we would create.

Afterward, I sobbed and released years of feelings of inadequacy and fear. Immediately, God filled me with a calmness and assurance that soothed my entire body. Even though I felt silly asking Him for a man, I knew I had nothing to worry about. Two weeks later I saw Joshua and we became inseparable.

Over the past three years, I’ve known the man who calls Severus Snape “Snape the Snake.” I’ve loved the 2K trash talker who doesn’t turn his microphone on until he’s up by 30. My husband makes me laugh until my sides hurt, is generous with his love, and is continuously evolving. From the moment I knew he was the one, I’ve been over the moon with excitement about being his wife.

When Josh proposed in October of 2018, we began planning for an intimate wedding on April 4, 2020. But God said “nah” and we had to cancel our plans. It felt like the end of the world. I finally found the man and God said no. I was bitter, hurt, and devastated as fear-based thoughts overpowered me. This is when I first started praying over 1 Corinthians 13 4-8. I wanted our love to feel like this scripture through and through. So I pulled myself together and we planned another wedding thinking this would be “the one.”

Since we had to push it back, we took more time to dream a little bigger. I have fantasized about getting married in Paris since I was a little girl. In my dreams, I said yes in a castle that had a beautiful garden overlooking the Eiffel Tower. I wore a big princess dress and said “I do” surrounded by love.

When we found ourselves back at square one, we planned a magical Parisian destination wedding weekend. We arranged flight tickets and leaned on a travel agent extraordinaire to help us with a hotel. The final piece came together at the end of February as we found a wine cave to host our reception.

Then COVID happened and everything fell apart. I lost my job and became terrified to go down the street. I had to stop esthetician school and every day felt like a different chapter of Revelations. At the start of the pandemic, I cried, drank wine, cried, talked to a friend, cried, played a game, then cried myself to sleep. This time felt like a blur because all I did was sleep and have a mental breakdown a day. It was the lowest of the low as our second wedding plan was falling apart right before our eyes.

I started questioning why God hated me so much. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. The kicker was that there was nothing we could do about it. My depression began telling me how this was a sign that I was unworthy of God and Josh’s love. Ultimately, I felt punished and spent a lot of time frustrated that nothing was going according to plan.

After countless tears, God instructed me to move. So, I picked up the phone and opened my bible app to 1 Corinthians 13. I re-read the scripture and when I got to the part where the bible says “Love never fails,” I wept. Once again, God covered me in His peace and serenity as I gave it all over to Him. He reminded me that the love this scripture speaks of is not only instructions on how to treat your loved ones, it is part of God’s promise to us. God loves us so much that He never fails. I reminded myself that the love Josh and I have for each other is a gift from God. Just because we can’t throw the celebration we originally planned to do doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate this gift.  

Shortly after, we made the difficult decision of honoring our original wedding date. It was important for us to persevere and become one on our third anniversary. Joshua and I met in July, started dating in July, and it was important for us to get married during this month of completion. Unfortunately, this meant that countless important people would not be able to be there in person. After several long discussions, that took us over a month to have, we knew that moving forward was the right choice for us. I believe that this act of intention has set a beautiful and steadfast tone for our marriage.

With God’s strength, we were able to craft a wedding that we are both incredibly proud of. Throughout the planning, I still frequently cried because my family and friends wouldn’t be there. And I cried when something in the wedding planning went wrong. Honestly, I spent a lot of time crying. However, I kept reminding myself that our day was not about my dress or the flowers, it was about two people becoming one and starting a new life again in the presence of The Lord. Above all, I actively reminded myself that despite all of the negative stress that was in our lives, God’s love for us still won’t fail.  

On July 30, 2020, in the home that my husband and I redesigned for this moment, I opened my vows by stating that it was an honor, privilege, and blessing from God to marry Joshua. I was intentional about starting them this way because our marriage is an honor, privilege, and blessing that I will cherish forever. Our wedding day didn’t look anything like the two other versions that we planned. However, God gifted us with a day filled with an overwhelming amount of joy and love. As we said “I do,” God fulfilled his promise to me from over 3 years ago. This is how I know that because of the love God has for us, the love I have for myself, and the love that my husband and I have for each other, whatever we do in love will never fail.