As the waves rolled onto shore in a friendly good-morning greeting, I slipped my sandals from my feet and squinted into the rising sun. The cool of the wet sand sent an invigorating chill through my toes and up my legs. Clutching my sandals in one hand, I resumed my walk down the beach – using my free hand to pick up a shell here and there.
The sun broke through the trees on the cliff to my left , and I inhaled the salty ocean air, breathing in and out, slowly. The morning light, the low crashing of waves, the untouched strip of sand – these perfect little gifts from Above melted the stress and pressures of teaching middle school in the times of Covid.
Those sweet images also set me to humming a song that burrowed into my heart over fourteen years ago.
In every television show or movie that features a wedding, the bride saunters down the aisle in a flowing white dress to the cadence of the traditional wedding march. For me, the wedding march held no meaning. Being a lover of words, song lyrics are imprinted indelibly in my mind, and for our wedding, I wanted the song that had become a sort of prayer for me – the prayer that reminded me of all God’s blessings. I chose my song – and it wasn’t a song my husband had even heard before.
We asked a couple of good friends to sing at our wedding, accompanied by another friend on his guitar. When I held out the sheet music to the vocalists, they agreed without hesitation. I’m not sure why. Was it because they didn’t want to tell me – the bride – no? Was the song simple enough to learn?
No matter the reason, I delighted in the fact that a song so precious to my heart would serenade me down the aisle to my husband-to-be. It’s funny, though, I was incredibly nervous walking down that aisle. Sweat streamed down my back – it was ninety degrees outside, and the country church was not air conditioned. As the guests arose, all eyes were on me, and mine were on the man standing at the end of the aisle. I didn’t hear the lyrics. They were drowned out by my shaking knees and pounding heart. That doesn’t matter, though. I think I wanted to share the message with the guests as much as I wanted it to be a part of our big day.
Fourteen years later, although I’ve listened to that song off and one over the years, it came back to me, all of the beauty and sweetness of it, as I walked the shore that day:
If you see the moon,
Rising gently on your fields.
If the wind blows softly on your face.
If the sunset lingers,
While cathedral bells peal,
And the moon has risen to her place,
You can thank the Father
For the things that He has done.
And thank Him for the things he’s yet to do.
And if you find a love that’s tender,
If you find someone who’s true,
Then thank the Lord —
He’s been doubly good to you.
These lyrics, originally penned by Rich Mullins and sung by Amy Grant on her album Straight Ahead, made their home in my heart in my mid-twenties. A college graduate with a brand-new career and a romantic at heart, I held onto the dream of someone who would love me tenderly and who would be true to our relationship – and true to the One whose love never fails.
Those words remind me that the beauty, grace, and love of our Heavenly Father are ever-present. Simply the rising and setting of the sun or the glimmer of the moon on a dark night are evidence of his faithfulness. And if He sends us someone – a spouse, a friend, a mother, a brother – who loves us beyond all measure and walks with us through even our darkest hours, we are doubly blessed.
So I watched the sun rise that morning. I listened to the rhythm of the waves and giggled at the seagulls skittering across the sand. His presence, His love, His faithfulness, all came flooding through my veins.
Now, as I curl up on the couch on the eve of our 14th wedding anniversary, I picture that day on the beach a month ago. Then, I picture my 20-something self in a cap-sleeved, white lace wedding dress, sauntering down the aisle of a 150-year-old church to the man who was slowly melting in a black wool suit – the husband who is tender and true – and I thank the Lord for He has been doubly good to me.