Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bada Bling

When I was in college, I watched in quiet envy as many of my friends accepted marriage proposals, painted "the rock" with their names, and flaunted their new engagement rings.  I'd always zero in on the diamond - the bigger, the better, in my humble opinion.  Girls with tiny chips got inward sighs of pity.  Girls with big rocks got inward sighs of jealousy.  

I dreamed of my proposal day and it always included a big diamond ring. To me, the bigger the stone, the greater the love.  Shallow?  Most definitely.  Partly true?  Maybe.  I wanted my engagement ring to scream "She's taken."

I met the man of my dreams and waited patiently (okay, not-so-patiently) for him to propose.  Every day of the summer of 1997, I woke up thinking, "THIS could be the day."  The longer I waited, the more irritated I got.  I thought we'd NEVER get engaged.

Curt and his parents chose our wedding day one night around the dinner table.  He wanted to draw up a list of potential wedding sites and florists, all without an official proposal.  In a moment of frustration, I informed Curt that there would be no further talk of a wedding until he made it official.  

Little did I know, my Cassanova had been engagement ring shopping for months.  Fed up with the status quo at the mall jewelry stores, he met with an independent jeweler and designed my entire wedding set.  He drew up the mold for both our engagement and wedding bands, chose each individual stone and waited while my one-of-a-kind ring was created.

When he FINALLY proposed, I was not disappointed.  My ring screamed "SHE'S TAKEN!" and I think I almost passed out yelling, "YES!!!!!!!" at the top of my lungs.  My thoughtful fiance' slipped the engagement ring on my finger, then pulled out the matching wedding band.  Two tiny diamonds centered perfectly under the ginormous center stone.  He thoughtfully pointed to the engagement stone and said, "This is God.  The tiny stones are you and me.  If we keep God at the center of our relationship, our marriage will be successful."  I wanted to melt at the sentiment and thought he put into my ring and the symbolism of all it represented.  I've worn that ring proudly for 11 1/2 years.   

When I turned 21, my Dad gave me diamond earrings that I wore every day for 11 years.  Last year an earring fell out.  I turned my house upside down but could not find the missing earring.  I was heartbroken.  On our five-year anniversary, Curt gave me a 3-stone diamond necklace, but the chain kept breaking so I sadly relegated it to life in my jewelry box or at least until our kids were old enough to stop pulling on the chain.  Four beautiful diamonds, all wasting away in my jewelry box.

On our ten-year-anniversary, Curt bought me an anniversary band that we added to my original set.  Being in the jewelry store reminded me of the loose diamonds I had at home.  And then it dawned on me.  

God took two, immature, college grads who were madly in love with Him and with each other and walked with us into the crazy adventure called marriage.  Through thick and thin, through good times and bad, we tried to keep God at the helm and follow His lead.  A quick glance at my wedding set, reminded me of where our priorities needed to be, and often the stone representing my life, was somehow skewed off-center!  

In spite of our screw-ups and weaknesses, a beautiful love birthed in infancy at our wedding, grew and flourished.  From that love, God created four beautiful children.  Four diamonds. Four kids.  What a testament of God's faithfulness in our lives.

This year, for Mother's Day, Curt and the kids had my original wedding band re-made.  The years of daily wear-and-tear had completely worn down my wedding band.  I couldn't help but draw the parallel to parenting.  Raising kids is exhausting, tiring, and emotionally draining.  It can wear you down.  But the beauty of being entrusted with fresh life never really fades.  The jeweler "added strength" to my wedding band, and since we were adding, we added those four diamonds.  One to represent each of the precious children God has entrusted us to raise.

Today we picked it up.  Bada Bling!  I'm almost embarrassed to wear it.  My ring screams "She's taken.  She's loved."  But it's also a daily reminder to keep my heart and mind focused on God, my husband, and my sweet kids.  Happy Mothers Day!

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