Joshua - Leila
Joshua - My parents knew before they got married that they wanted to have as many children as God gave them and that they wanted to homeschool them. I was the first one to come along followed by five brothers and four sisters. I vaguely remember when I first told my parents that I had prayed to accept Christ when I was about five years old. That was the beginning of a relationship with my Heavenly Bridegroom that continued to grow, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, throughout my childhood and teenage years.
One of the most effective influences my parents had was the consistency with which they walked out their convictions in front of me. I saw them go through a number of church types and situations, taking new truths from each, but also being able to hold on to those truths when the time came to move on. Eventually, we (my parents were careful to explain from the Bible why they were changing each time they did, so it was easy for me to be on board as well) believed in head coverings for wives, keeping the seventh day Sabbath, using the original Hebrew names for God and the Savior, keeping the feast days found in the Bible and avoiding the eating of unclean animals. As you might guess, it became harder and harder to find likeminded fellowship.
Most of the above changes in belief and lifestyle happened during my teenage years from about the time I was thirteen up to twenty. I went through a lot of mindsets towards marriage during those years varying from thinking that I would like to get married someday, to deciding never to get married, to thinking that it probably did not matter if I wanted to since finding someone who would share my convictions was not in the realm of probability.
During my teens, I was exposed to Jonathan Lindval's teaching on betrothal. It made sense to me that the "date until we break up" system that my parents' generation had gone through was more likely a preparation for divorce than for a lasting marriage. I even found the ideas of courtship to be suspect, which many times allowed for an emotional relationship to grow before there was full commitment between the parties. I put one of Lindval's brochures inside my Bible cover and would read it occasionally, thinking that that was more like what I would like to do if the time came for me to get married.
Of course, as I got into my twenties, marriage became more of a desire of mine. I love children and I thought I would like to have some of my own. Still, with my beliefs and the fact that my brother Caleb was in a wheelchair and did not travel easily, I had not met any young woman that I thought would fully qualify as a wife. That disturbed me sometimes, when the longings were strong, but it also taught me a lesson of patience and waiting for God's time.
I prayed that God would bring the right person into my life and that she would be what I needed, even if that was not necessarily what I wanted. Perhaps foolishly, I made a list of some personal traits I admired. Not the character attributes that I felt would be a necessity in a wife, but the superficial "extras" such as dark hair, and liking to play board games. I put the list in my Bible cover (yes, my Bible cover was always very full) and left it there, eventually forgetting about it.
A few more years went by and due to my brother Caleb's passing, it was easier for my family to travel. We began doing so more often, notably family trips to keep the Biblical feasts with others who were doing so. I began to meet more people, many of whom shared convictions about the Sabbath and using YHWH's name, but only a few seemed to also feel strongly about family matters; and somehow, it was even rarer for those families we did mesh with in those areas to have daughters of marriageable age.
Leila - I was raised in Tennessee by parents who were striving to follow God in all aspects of their lives. Without them and their influence, my story would have been very different. From a young age I heard their views about the foolishness of young people having "boyfriends" and "girlfriends" and also how terrible it is when couples divorce. It was from listening to them and reading classic literature written in the days when being engaged was serious and young people practiced "proper" behavior that gave me my ideas on how I would meet and marry my future husband. I thought that, most likely, his family and mine would become acquainted somewhere and we'd get to know them better and I'd become friends with his sisters and after a while he would notice what a wonderful and witty person I was, (certainly I was going to grow up to be wonderful and witty!) and he'd ask my father if he could court me. We would talk and play board games together and write letters until we had become good friends and then he would propose and we would get engaged and get married.
This scenario happened to my older brother when I was 16 and he met his future wife. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding and thought, "It might not be much longer and this will happen to me." I was thoroughly enjoying my life, though, and was not in any hurry to grow up and do something as serious as getting married!
My brothers, sisters and I, (there are 8 of us), were homeschooled and my parents were very supportive of our hobbies, money-making schemes and creative endeavors. We took part in many homeschool theatrical productions and then became interested in film-making. My brother bought camera equipment, my sister started writing scripts and I made the costumes. My sewing skills had improved a lot during our acting days since I would make some of the costumes needed for the plays.
I mostly made my own clothes, as well, since it was nearly impossible for me to find store-bought clothes that satisfied me in either modesty or style. I read books about film costume design and historical garment construction and we produced several short films of our own as well as helping other Christian film-makers with their projects. I worked on them mostly for free over the internet, e-mailing design sketches and doing meetings through email. I was also making and selling historical garments here and there.
Years had gone by since I was 16. I was 26 and had been sure for several years that God must not want me to marry, since no one had asked for me or even seemed like a potential suitor! Not only that, but I was very happy with my life and I had never met a young man that I thought would be a good husband for me. Maybe I was too picky, but it's the truth. I was not really disappointed since I knew marriage would change everything and I was already so happy I couldn't imagine being any happier. Besides, marriage and motherhood was a hard job and I probably wouldn't be very good at it. I didn't have the burning desire to get married that the other girls I knew seemed to have. All this made it abundantly clear that I was unsuitable for married life and could now embrace my future as a single woman.
Joshua - In April of 2009 my parents decided to attend a weeklong camp, Family Week, since it was at the time of Passover and some other good friends of ours were going to be there. While there, I got the chance to witness Brayden and Tali's wedding and hear some of their story along with further teaching about betrothal.
It became a hot topic of conversation in my family since at the time the three oldest siblings were all over eighteen years old and single. We discussed what we liked about their story and their ideas about betrothal and what we did not, but the major principles of seeking the Father's will and committing to marriage based on that alone regardless of personal feelings seemed solid enough. I became even more sure that that was the way I would like to approach marriage if or when the time came.
While at the camp that year, I met Leila very briefly. Our families also ended up at the same location for the Feast of Tabernacles that fall and again at Family Week in the spring of 2010. However, I was not around Leila much except when playing volleyball or group board games and at that point I was mostly impressed with her game skills. However, after we left I began to hear many good things about her character from my mother and sisters.
In May 2010, the Clemons family came out to Colorado for a couple weeks, once again camping out for a week with a group of families, including mine, and then coming to our house for a couple days' visit. During that time I began to notice that Leila was very content, cheerful and fun to be around and for the first time really pondered whether she might be the woman the Father had prepared to be my wife. I was able to learn more about Leila by various means while the Clemons family was there and after they left by listening to, and subtly encouraging, my sisters to talk about her.
That fall I went to Israel on a ministry trip and returned to Tennessee where my family had been camping. We ended up staying at the Clemons’ house for a couple days where we played games and talked as a group quite a bit. I had a very nice time and felt more comfortable around Leila than I had around any other young ladies not my sisters. I left with a very high opinion of her, though without any attachment beyond that.
A couple times over the previous years I had gotten to the point where I was interested enough in a potential wife to start consistently praying for guidance on whether to proceed further. During those times I would pray specifically about that young lady and not move on until I received an answer. In both cases, I eventually, and pretty quickly, got a "no" from the Father.
That winter my parents had a private talk with me and said that they believed that Leila would make a good wife for me. I raised the one concern I had which was that I wanted to know for sure that Leila's spiritual convictions were deeply hers and not just on the surface since she was living in a believing family. Still, I highly respect my parents so based on their recommendation and what I already knew about Leila I began to pray for guidance specifically about her.
At the 2011 Family Week, I had a total of about five minutes of conversation with Leila despite my initial hopes since our camp sites were relatively close together. However, while catching up on my email in the meeting area, I overheard Leila and her family practicing to lead music. While listening to Leila sing, I felt like the Father was telling me that her praise was the real thing.
My one reservation was gone, but as I continued praying about her through the summer I did not feel like I was hearing anything definite from the Father about whether to take action on it. In the meantime, I did become convicted that the Father wanted me to go to Israel for a longer, three month trip, that fall.
We celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles in 2011 at a campground just like we did pretty much every year with pretty much the same people minus the Williams. This time when I got home, though, things were different. I felt like my life was... empty. I decided that I needed to find out what my purpose and mission in life was. I started praying every day that God would show me what he wanted me to be doing with my time and energy and show me my "mission field" whatever that might be. I prayed He would help me to be able to do it when He revealed what it was, no matter how hard a task it would be. I would add, "and if you actually do want me to be a wife, then please help me be ready and help my husband to find me at the perfect time".
While in Israel that fall, because of an agreement I had signed with the ministry group, I did not pray about Leila. Once I returned in November, I resumed praying and quickly began to feel like the Father was telling me that it was His will and would happen when the time was right. One evening in February while reading my Bible before bed, I received a sudden, clear word from the Father, "Leila is the one and now is the time." I knew that was my final confirmation and planned to tell my parents the next day since they had already gone to bed.
When I got up in the morning, before I said anything, I heard my dad talking on the phone to Mr. Clemons and found that my parents were in the midst of planning a spontaneous trip with the Clemons family to a Christian film festival in San Antonio, Texas.
My shock and awe at the Father's mighty hand in bringing the revelation to me at the same time He was arranging our families to meet was intense. I didn't say anything to my parents until later that week which was also the night before we left for Texas since I didn't want to interfere in whatever the Father was doing. When I told them that I planned to ask for Leila in Texas, they seemed surprised that I had still been praying about Leila for over a year, but favorable.
In February of 2012 we were excited when Daddy announced that our whole family was going to the Christian Film Festival in San Antonio, Texas! This was due to getting a call from our friends, the Williams family, who were also attending the festival. They had found a big house to rent and wondered if we were going and could split the house rental with them? I thought that this might be evidence that God wanted me to continue working on Christian films and maybe that I should be putting even more into it! I made a business-like jacket for myself and a cute tote to carry my costume designer's portfolio in and I was ready to go and meet some potential clients. There were many great films entered that year, including two that I had done some costume designing for. My brothers and sisters and I met a lot of nice film-makers who shared our passion for the craft.
I wanted to talk to Mr. Clemons first to stay within the family authority structure that the scripture lays out. While we were in San Antonio, I finally managed to find a time to talk to Mr. Clemons privately while walking back from parking the vans. On that walk while I was telling him that I felt the Father was leading me to pursue marriage with Leila, I noticed a pair of hair clips on the ground and picked them up, thinking they probably belonged to one of the girls in the families. It turned out that they were the clips that Leila used to attach her head covering, which looking back I see as a sign that the process of headship being passed started there.
On the last day of the Festival my family went back to the house for a break and Mama and Daddy said they wanted to talk to me on the back veranda. "What did I do?" I wondered. Daddy said we should sit down and then he said, "I'll get right to the point. Joshua Williams asked to marry you." I was completely taken aback. I had no idea that anything like that was going on. As far as I could tell, Joshua had absolutely no interest in me and he was someone I respected, but didn’t pay much attention to. Daddy explained that Joshua had approached him that morning and said that he had prayed and was sure that God was leading him to marry me. I started crying because the news was so overwhelming. Daddy told me all about his conversation with Joshua and I asked Daddy to tell Joshua for me, (I wasn't ready to talk to him, myself), that I needed time to think before I could give him an answer but that it would be nice if he would talk more so that I could get to know him better before we went home. In the few times we had been in each other's company, it had been during volleyball games, board games, or with such a large crowd of our brothers and sisters, (he was the eldest of 9), that I couldn't remember what his voice sounded like or was even very sure of what he looked like!
Daddy told me that he and Mama felt good about Joshua being my future husband and I should take as long as I wanted to think and pray about it before I gave an answer. I spent much of that night crying and praying.
The next day our families all played board games and talked and hung out and Joshua made an effort to be less reserved during the group activities. It was still difficult because we hadn't told our brothers and sisters what was going on, so he had to be subtle. Then, it was time for him to go back to his home in Colorado and I to mine in Tennessee with me still not being able to give an answer.
I had expected to be vetted by Mr. Clemons for perhaps months, but right after our talk he told Mrs. Clemons and, several hours later, Leila. Her parents had one interview with me and my parents before they left to go back to Tennessee and soon after they arrived home, Mr. Clemons began emailing me. Through March I emailed Mr. and Mrs. Clemons and then Leila, with all the emails being read by me, Leila, her parents and my parents.
After my family and I got home, I was able to do some serious thinking and praying. None of this was happening the way I imagined it would when I was little. I had several talks with my parents who tried to help me sort out my thoughts and feelings. I didn't want things to change and to have to leave my family and my happy life. I thought back to the few times I had noticed Joshua. To my surprise, I couldn't remember seeing anything negative about his behavior. Everything was something positive. Once I saw him quit playing volleyball so as to be a guard to stop any of the players from running into a danger zone where they would be hit by a horse-shoe from a game going on nearby. Another time I passed his campsite and saw him helping his mother with a big, heavy cooler and offering to pack the food into it for her. There was a few other memories like that. My general impression of him was that he was a responsible, thoughtful man. Intelligent, serious and a little boring.
My parents were emailing Joshua back and forth and I was reading along. They asked him what he thought a courtship would be like and I read Joshua's reply about betrothal. Several of my friends had done something similar and I thought it was a good idea to try to keep emotionally detached until we were ready to commit to a marriage. Strangely, with all my reticence about letting my life change so drastically, I wasn't afraid of the idea of promising to become a wife to someone I barely knew. I was confident that we could get to know and love each other once I was sure that God wanted me to marry him. After all, lots of people throughout history have made matches that way and they turned out fine. I thought that, even though it might be several years into our marriage before I learned to love Joshua, it could still be a fine marriage if we worked at it. The question was, should I or should I not marry him?
After my parents suggested it, I sent a handful of emails to Joshua and he responded. I was very reserved because I didn't want to give him any encouragement in case the answer was going to be "no". At the same time, I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I kind of thought I was going to end up marrying this man. Needless to say, those emails were difficult to write.
When Daddy invited Joshua to come visit for a few days at the end of March and then ride up to the Kentucky "Family Week" camp-out with us, we decided to tell my younger sisters why Joshua was coming before he got there. That way, I would be able to talk more freely about what was going on with Mama and we wouldn't have to keep trying to find ways to have secret conferences. That was such a relief for me. My sisters and I drank coffee and ate chocolate and talked and cried.
It was suggested, and eventually worked out, for me to fly in to stay with the Clemons for a few days and then ride with them to the 2012 Family Week. My arrival at the Clemons house, seeing and trying to interact with Leila there was a little awkward at first, but they treated me as a very welcome guest and so I ended up spending a few days there being around Leila a lot, but not really having a chance to have a talk with her specifically as we were both busy with work we needed to get done before Family Week.
When Joshua arrived I forced myself to go upstairs and say, "Hi, how was your trip?" The visit was very awkward for me. I was struggling to figure out whether I was hearing from God. Every time I would pray I would ask, "do you want me to marry Joshua?" and I would feel this peace. Then I would say, "you don't want me to marry him, right?". No answer. It was a hard time for me because I had never had to pray for an specific answer before and I wasn't sure how to know what I was hearing.
During his stay, Joshua worked on his computer, (he is a web programmer), and I worked at my sewing machine, and we... felt awkward. Sometimes we would make attempts at small talk and in the evenings we would play board games with my family. The way we were so reserved and unable to interact with each other would have been funny if it hadn't been so... awkward. I know it probably would have felt easier if we had known each other better before Joshua had found out he was supposed to marry me, but then it would have been harder to be able to set my feelings of friendship and attachment aside and be able to just focus on the important job at hand which was finding out what our Heavenly Father wanted from me. As it was, I was so nervous I could barely eat!
A few days into his visit we had our first one-on-one real conversation. He asked me about some of the books on our book shelf one evening and we discussed literature for at least an hour. He seemed like a person that I could like if I let myself.
Two days before we were to leave for the campground, Leila and I ended up semi-alone in the well trafficked dining room after supper and talked about the many books we had read and liked over the years. That night I had difficulty sleeping as I felt I was in danger of becoming emotionally attached to Leila which I did not want to happen until after we were committed to getting married. At that point, I believed I could walk away with an uninjured heart if the answer from the Clemons was "no," but I wasn't sure how much longer I could be around Leila without that changing.
The next afternoon Mama asked me to take a walk with her. She said, "Daddy and I were just wondering how close you are to making a decision?" My family was planning to drive to the camp-out the next day and Joshua's family was going to be there too. I knew that it would be really nice for everyone to know whether it was a yes or no by the time we got there. If it was a yes, then Joshua would be able to tell his family and we could start making wedding plans. If it was a no, Joshua would go back to Colorado with his family and it would all be over. My parents didn't want to pressure me, but I had already been thinking about this for a whole month without giving anyone a hint about which way things were going to go! I got a little teary and told her, "I think I'm supposed to marry him". Mama said, "So your answer is 'yes'?" I hesitated for a minute. I knew that this was a very important conversation. Was I really sure that Joshua was the man I was supposed to marry? For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health? "Yes". I said. "But I can't tell him". Mama couldn't help but look a little amused. "if you are going to marry him, you'll have to talk to him, eventually!"
"I know" I said, miserably. Talking to him still felt so awkward and I was afraid if I had to have such a momentous talk with Joshua, I'd cry, like I did when my father told me about Joshua's interest in me. "Couldn't you tell him 'yes' for me?" I begged? Mama said she would talk to Daddy about it.
A while later I was at my sewing machine and Joshua was at his laptop. Daddy came in and asked Joshua to come outside and talk to him and Mama for a minute. They were gone for a while and then Mama and Daddy came in and told my brothers and sisters it was supper time. When Joshua came in I stole a look at him. He was stealing a look at me at the same time while he walked by. I was amazed at how different he looked. He was obviously so, so happy! Was he happy because he knew he was going to get to marry me? If so, that was... flattering. We didn't say anything and just went upstairs for supper.
Providentially that worrisome period was short as the Father's timing was that the next afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Clemons took me aside and told me that Leila actually was ready to commit to marrying me. Later that evening I cornered her and explained that I was fully committed to our marriage and got to hear from her own lips that she was too.
I consider that at that point, with her father having tacitly given his consent and Leila and I having made a verbal agreement with each other, we were probably technically betrothed since the Bible doesn't require a ceremony or even a written covenant for two people to be married.
The next day, Friday, we drove to Kentucky to go to Family Week. Joshua wanted to be able to tell his family that we were going to get married the same time as I told my brothers and Grandparents so our match was still a secret! On the journey though, Joshua designed a crossword puzzle just for me because he knew I liked crosswords! He was starting to win my heart.
One of Joshua’s friends was getting married that Sunday at the campground and Joshua was part of the wedding party. During the reception Joshua made the public announcement that we were to be married. As all the guests gathered around to congratulate us, it really sank in. "I am going to get married!" Something I thought was never going to happen was actually becoming reality!
I proudly announced our relationship publically a couple days later at the campground and spent nearly every possible moment together with Leila at the campground talking and enjoying the process of getting to know her as we intentionally built our relationship.
On our first day as an openly betrothed couple we sat down on opposite sides of the picnic table and read the instructions to husbands and wives in the New Testament. It was so wonderful to see Joshua already taking up the role as my "Head". As the days of our camp-out went by we grew more and more comfortable around each other and my previous good opinions of him were confirmed. We took long walks past all the tents full of happy families and I thought how quickly my life was changing. Suddenly all I was interested in was this man who had been so unimportant to me just a month ago! I found out that he was NOT boring. Far from it. He was thoughtful and serious about serious matters but he was also delightfully witty and a great conversationalist. It was still almost impossible for me to look into his eyes because it was so overwhelming and embarrassing at the same time. I was falling in love.
Once I allowed myself to let down my guard, I fell in love quickly. It was astonishing to me how quickly that could happen, driving home the point to me how important it had been to keep a guarded heart through all previous interactions with members of the opposite sex. I had been told about the dangers of emotional attachment, but didn't realize just how quickly those coals can burst into flame if they are allowed to.
When Family Week was over, Joshua rode back to our house with us and we were joined by the rest of his family later. Even though Joshua and I already felt like we were absolutely committed to getting married, we wanted to have an official betrothal ceremony to solemnize our commitment. We settled on April the 15th, the next Sunday. Joshua brought up a surprising question. Should we hold hands while we were betrothed? I said that I was sure our parents wouldn't approve. Joshua said the recommendation had actually come from them. I was shocked! He told me they thought it could be healthy given that we weren't going to be together, long, and it would be good for whichever of us had physical touch as their primary love-language. I agreed we should give hand-holding a try after our ceremony if they really thought it would be good. I expected it was going to feel awkward but I knew it was allowed since we were husband and wife and it could be a good way to gradually work toward intimacy.
We wrote up our marriage covenant together. Daddy recommended starting with the traditional marriage vows from the Book of Common Prayer. Since it seemed to say most of what was important to say, we decided to use it as our base. Writing it felt like a real team activity and I was amazed at how well we were merging into "one." My awkwardness around Joshua was diminishing.
Leila and I decided that we would like to have a betrothal ceremony so that we could make things seem more official and planned a small one for family. We wrote a marriage covenant, but not wanting to make vows beyond the agreement to be husband and wife, we phrased most of it as a prayer of what we hoped to be to each other in marriage. This is what we came up with...
This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you. John15:12
I, Joshua, take thee, Leila, as my wife, firmly believing that we were created to be man and wife. I forsake all others and keep myself only unto thee. In the sight of YHWH and these witnesses, I make this covenant with thee.
I pray I will always dwell with thee according to knowledge as heirs together of the grace of life. May I love, faithfully lead, honor, serve and comfort thee for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. May we live according to the word of YHWH through the grace of our redeemer, Yahshua the Messiah.
I, Leila, take thee, Joshua, as my husband, firmly believing that we were created to be man and wife. I forsake all others and keep myself only unto thee. In the sight of YHWH and these witnesses, I make this covenant with thee.
I pray I will do thee good and not evil all the days of my life. May I love, cherish, honor and obey thee, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. May we live according to the word of YHWH through the grace of our redeemer, Yahshua the Messiah.
YHWH bless thee and keep thee. YHWH make his face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee. YHWH lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.
At our betrothal, we got legally married as well. It made sense to me that since scripturally it required a written divorce to break a betrothal, that was the best equivalent to our modern government's paperwork.
Our betrothal was a wonderful day. We exchanged rings, I accepted a head covering from Joshua, we read our Marriage Covenant and we sang a song, together. Our family signed our Covenant as witnesses. During the prayer over us at the conclusion Joshua reached out and took my hand. What a strange moment to be holding hands with my husband! After the ceremony we signed the State marriage license then drove out to my grandparents farm. We spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful Spring weather and talking about how strange it was that we could have become so attached to each other so quickly! Falling in love is really very easy! It was funny to think that I had thought it might take years. Oh, and I discovered that I liked holding hands!
The day after the ceremony, I had to go back to Colorado, arriving "home" to a house that did not contain my wife was hard to bear. It already didn't feel like home anymore. That was perhaps the point at which I realized the longing that our Heavenly Bridegroom has for us.
Joshua took a plane home to Colorado, leaving me in Tennessee, but we emailed, often and had our rings, the symbols of our covenant, to keep us company while we were apart. We chatted online for hours every day except for Sabbaths when Joshua would call me on the phone around noon. In this way we got to know each other much better. Joshua arranged for us to read the same chapter from the Bible every day so that we could discuss it together. I worked on committing 1 Corinthians chapter 13 to memory and wrote down all the Bible verses I could find on wives and godly womanhood. Making myself ready for matrimony also included sorting and decluttering my belongings and lots and lots and lots of sewing!
Over the three months leading up to July 15th wedding date, I spent a lot of time emailing, and messaging Leila via Skype as we planned out our wedding, but mostly just enjoying her company remotely. I spent some time that I could tear away from the computer preparing the cabin we were to live in after the wedding, stocking it with groceries, buying a mini-van and moving my stuff out of my parents' house.
While he was gone, preparing a place for me, I was busy making my wedding gown and the garments for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I wanted a linen dress since Joshua and I had talked about how all weddings were a picture of when our Messiah comes back to bring his "bride," (those who believe in him and accept him as their Bridegroom), to His eternal Wedding Feast! (Rev. 19:7-9). In Revelation it speaks of the bride wearing "fine linen, clean and white."
On Sun. July 15, 2012 Joshua came for his bride! I expected to spend such an important day in absolute nervous misery, but it turned out that I was so happy, it didn't bother me to have over 250 people come to watch the ceremony!
We read our Marriage covenant, again and our parents blessed us. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the people who came to witness the wedding were asked to come to the "marriage supper". There was plenty of feasting and dancing and joy. It was one of the happiest days of my life! I am so thankful for my loving husband who my Heavenly Father sent me! Now it is much easier for me to imagine the return of our eternal Bridegroom!
In keeping with the picture of Yahshua returning for His bride, Leila waited for me at the wedding ceremony and I marched, well ran, up to her instead of the traditional bridal procession. It was such a wonderful moment, it really defies description. Most of the wedding and reception was a blur of euphoria finally having my wife at my side. Now I can testify that it was well worth the effort of waiting, guarding my heart, praying and fasting for YHWH's best in a spouse.