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Newlywed Slide Show & Mom's Toast

As the Lin Family historian who tracks our stories through decades of scrapbooking, it was only natural that Caleb tap me to put together the slideshow for the newlyweds. I jumped in with enthusiasm and so enjoyed taking that trip down memory lane to pick out the right combination of photos and videos to incorporate into this slide show. That was one of the most difficult things I did -- having to choose only a handful to represent Caleb's colorful history growing up all over the map! But here it is!

While David represented the family to welcome our guests to the reception and thank everyone, his speech was not prepared ahead of time. However, I was asked by Rei's Mom to prepare a message sharing my thoughts about a Christian marriage, and I share the text as well as the pictures that go with my sharing below:

Caleb and Rei, I would like to start off my sharing with a quote from C.S. Lewis, from his book “The Four Loves”. And because you guys are telling your story with a comic, I will also share this quote through a comic:

Many people look at our marriage and admire how good it is. Many of you have seen our marriage and remarked that we’ve come a long way. But I want to say that no matter how far we’ve come or how hard we work on perfecting ourselves, we find ourselves fighting against this age-old dynamic described in the Bible:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is perhaps one of the greatest thinkers of his time. I really agree with him when he said:

You see, we often found ourselves repulsed and wounded by the very same quality that attracted us to one another in the first place. I fell in love with how principled David is, and how he takes an unyielding stand for the truth. But that same quality becomes the stubborn inflexibility that often frustrates me the most in our marriage. Some people call me the queen of hearts because I’m able to see into people’s hearts in deep places and then use my way with words to bring hope and encouragement to them. That same superpower, in another circumstance, can be wielded to wound someone in the most tender and deep places and rip their hearts to a million pieces with the power of my words. We are still us. It’s the war within our very own souls that rages on and demands our decision to respond anew every day.


So how did we become the loving couple you see in front of you today? Certainly we went through a ton of therapy and learn all kinds of cool techniques to manage emotions and set boundaries, but that’s really not it. No amount of knowledge and practice can control the raging war within each of our hearts for control and primacy. The secret is in knowing a God who loved and delighted in each of us so much from the very beginning of time, even knowing ahead of time all of our future Romans 7 moments of failing ourselves, each other, and the God who created us. Even knowing all of that, He was willing to love us all the way and make Himself vulnerable to us time and again, by dying the ultimate death of humiliation and shame, so that we don’t have to continue to marinate in ours. You see, only the power of perfect love can empower two imperfect people like us to climb back up again and again after each Romans 7 moment to choose to forgive and be vulnerable to another human being that we know will hurt us again. Because perfect love casts out all fear -- fear of being hurt again, fear of the other, and fear of our own worst selves. Only perfect love can give us the reassurance that in the face of certain hurt from someone we love, that there is the safety of a net of endless love to catch us. Because this love never fails us, even though our love regularly does. The wisdom that comes with growing old with Jesus is knowing that we can recognize this certainty earlier because we know we will inevitably slip into those Romans 7 moments again, and when we do, we can expect that perfect love to empower us to overcome our worst selves.


You might say to yourselves, we’re both pretty wonderful people, so it’s easy to love. Rei, you are so much like me, also a queen of hearts who loves fiercely and loyally. There is that feistiness in you that will bulldoze over any challenge and make sure to tie a bow neatly on top. That is an amazing superpower to unleash upon the world, and I am so proud that you will be a part of our family. At the same time, when that superpower is unleashed in the wrong direction, it can also become a force that loved ones cannot hide from. Caleb, beneath your laid back and easygoing ways there is also a willpower of iron that is willing to wait patiently for the right outcome for as long as it takes. The same C.S. Lewis that I quoted also said that “when the whole world is running towards a cliff, he who is running in the opposite direction appears to have lost his mind.” You are that person walking slowly but resolutely in the opposite direction, perfectly content to have people call you a madman. Yet that same willpower of iron, when directed in the wrong direction, can also be an impenetrable wall that hinders growth or course correction.


I have every confidence that you will both grow to be older, wiser, and more and more loving every day. Not because you are both the wonderful people you are, but because in your Romans 7 moments, you know how to run to the foot of the cross where the One with the perfect love awaits to give you that power to wrestle down your worst selves. And then to get up, forgive, and be willing to be vulnerable to love that imperfect human being you made a vow to love and keep forever.


Marriage is a race, and the first one to the foot of that cross wins. May you both run valiantly and quickly to that cross in your every day Romans 7 moments. I love you so very much and am so proud of you both!

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