When we returned home from furlough, I hit the ground running. While still in America, we got the thrilling news that my Turkish sister Bahar was engaged. I got back May 17th, with just five weeks to help Bahar prepare for her June 23rd wedding. As the matron of honor, I fell into the roles of wedding coordinator and mother of the bride, so it’s no wonder I’ve had no time for blog posts.
The last five weeks were a time of:
I am overwhelmed by God’s faithfulness in answering a prayer that I prayed every day for 7 years. I encouraged Bahar to wait for God’s best, but sometimes I secretly doubted, “God, are you really going to come through?” Seeing his faithful provision of a wonderful man for Bahar gives me indescribable joy.
When we returned to Turkey, I felt guilty for being more concerned about Bahar’s wedding than about our church plant. It didn’t seem “spiritual” to leave aside my “ministry” to work on a wedding. So it was freeing when my husband reminded me that family and people are the most important ministry I have.
Bahar had three events: a henna night, an afternoon church wedding, and a Turkish style evening wedding. I helped with planning and organization for the church wedding, gave a bridal shower for 30 women, and took bridesmaids to dress fittings. I’d love to say that I was cool as a cucumber, filled with peace and trusting God for every detail. The truth is I had moments of feeling overwhelmed and spent a few sleepless nights with my mind racing over details of decorations, programs, wedding favors, a church reception, and an RSVP list of 350 people!
It was a privilege to share many special moments with Bahar: going along with her to three dress fittings and helping her choose flowers for her bouquet. These were things she could have done alone, and my American self reasoned that since I was already so busy with wedding planning, I didn’t have time for these. Luckily my Turkish self was stronger, and reminded me that time spent sharing her excitement was what I would remember later.
The last week before her marriage Bahar stayed with us. My closet was crammed full with 3 wedding dresses--it’s a long story-- and my daughter gave up her bedroom. Several mornings I accompanied Bahar on errands, and I stayed up late nights. The night before her wedding, I cooked a simple bridesmaids’ dinner. After kicking everyone out at 10:00, I stayed up until midnight helping Bahar pack for her honeymoon. My American self would have said, “Since you waited until the last minute to pack, you’ll have to do it alone. I’m going to bed.” My Turkish self said, “You cannot leave your friend alone at a time like this.” I was so glad later that I listened to my Turkish self; helping her pack her suitcase is one of the sweetest memories I have.
My lovely, crazy month culminated in a beautiful wedding day. I’d like to say that I was a model of service and sacrifice, but I wasn’t. Sometimes I was stressed and grumpy. As I dropped Bahar off at the hairdresser’s and helped her get dressed on the big day, we snapped at each other, a cantankerous bride and an irritable matron of honor who felt comfortable enough with each other to let our true, grouchy selves show.