There are about a million things that start piling up in the final weeks before a wedding.
All the little things have to be finished and all the loose ends have to be tied tight. So, since I know myself to be a master procrastinator, I decided to get our marriage license as soon as possible.
With the wedding approaching in 25 days, I decided to go ahead and check that off the list.
As soon as Caleb and me both wrapped up our work days around 3:30, we planned to meet and head to the courthouse. But, of course, I had to run by Hobby Lobby. I bought something for the wedding with the 40% off coupon, but I found a table I needed (ok, wanted) on my way out, and you can only use the famous Hobby Lobby coupon once per visit. So, naturally, I asked Caleb to go grab the table and pull up a coupon so we could save the $5 – Hello – I’m becoming a great steward of my money, duh.
Once we finally met up, it was a little after 4:00. My mom told me we had to be there before 4:30, but I kindly argued that the courthouse was open until 5. So, in typical Kaitlin-fashion, I took my time getting things from my apartment and was in no rush whatsoever – I had time, right?
We pulled into a parking spot (a great parking spot, by the way) and since I thought we had plenty of time, I yelled, “Oh my gosh I love this song! We have to sit here and listen!”
Caleb gave me “the look,” but sat and listened anyway.
If you’re wondering what the song was, “To Be With You,” by Mr. Big – and oldie and such a goodie.
After the chorus, we got out and walked inside, went through security, and joked with the security guard before asking, “Where do we go for our marriage license?”
He just stared at us. Then, he frowned and said, “It’s right around the corner, but they close at 4:30.”
It was 4:31. 4:31. 1.
I thought surely they’d still be open.
I jiggled the door handle and sure enough, it was locked. I stared through the window at the office clerk and tried to stare into her soul, but she just smiled and shook her head mouthing, “I’m sorry my computer is already off.”
Homegirl was not playing around. She shut that thing down without a minute to spare – literally ONE minute.
I tried to figure out some way to make it work so we could just check this item off the list since we were already there, but that was just not happening.
Don’t we do that a lot? Try to force-check things off our list since we are already at the place we are supposed to be, even if the timing isn’t right?
We want that promotion since we worked so hard to get the job, even if God’s timing doesn’t permit it. We want that ring since we finally got the guy, even if God is telling you to wait. We want the brand new house since we are supposed to have one like everyone else, even if the timing for you is a little while later. That’s not always an easy reality to face, but sometimes, we have to face it. I promise, His timing is always better, and you’ll always be glad it happened when He wanted it to happen instead of when you planned for it to happen.
Caleb and I left and the tensions were high. We got into a bit of a “heated discussion” and said some things that probably weren’t very nice. But, we did use some things we had learned during premarital counseling about how to “fight fair.” We definitely had a growing moment in the midst of the anger and frustration of things not going our way.
He dropped me off at my friend Katie’s to record our podcast (click here to listen) and we decided to talk about what Caleb and I have learned during premarital counseling. We named the podcast “Marriage: Wedding Ring or Box Ring?” Because sometimes the only ring you’re thinking about is the boxing ring it feels like you’re about to step into.
It was pretty incredible how God used the situation of frustration I left as encouragement during our podcast discussion – whether anyone listened or not, my own mess encouraged me. He turned my ashes to beauty in a matter of minutes.
Being late to get our marriage license wasn’t a big deal because we could go back the next day to check that item off the list – and it gave us another story to add to the collection of stories of our journey thus far. The small mishap during a trivial moment taught us hundreds of little lessons.
God uses us the most when we aren’t expecting it or paying attention. I’ve been so caught up with checking things off of my wedding to-do list that I forgot to stop and laugh when things aren’t going exactly the way I planned on the exact timeline I mapped out.
He uses us in HIS time through OUR messes and makes something beautiful out of it all so that we can share it and lock arms and walk through it all together, laughing and singing old love ballads along the way.
We did end up getting our marriage license, and holding that official legal document was a little sweeter since we had to wait a little longer than expected to get it – but isn’t that how the best things in life play out?