Friday, January 30, 2009

Wartime Wedding

I've been reading the blog of a lovely lady named Ali who serves as a nurse missionary with Mercy Ships. Recently she announced her engagement and shared the story of how Phil proposed. I was particularly intrigued with how they decided to handle rings. She wrote,
When I told Phil that I didn't want a fancy diamond engagement ring, he was more than happy to believe me. I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing a diamond in a third-world country, and we both agreed that the money that would go towards a ring could be much better spent paying our crew fees for the next however-long we're on the ship. But we both knew that the symbol of a ring was important, and so one day he jokingly told me he was going to put a tie wrap on my finger when he proposed. I thought it was perfect, especially since he's an electrician and would have easy access to all sizes!
The tie-wrap wasn't meant to last forever, you'll have to click over to her wedding blog to read the rest of the story about their rings. But isn't this a wonderful example of using our resources for something greater than ourselves. It makes me wish I had felt so strong a calling to use my resources this way when I was getting engaged. Furthermore, it makes me wish I could get a decent price for my wedding rings just so I could give the money away and wear something simpler.

What wedding traditions would you give up so that you could do something greater with the money?

Image Courtesy of AuntieP's Flickr Stream


  1. I sat through an interesting seminar today on Bible memorization... not talking about a verse here or there, talking about memorizing WHOLE books of the Bible. The presenter has done this.

    He shared something interesting that may apply here. He shared that one of the 'pitfalls' of memorizing large portions of Scripture is the PRIDE that can creep into our minds when we accomplish this.

    I think the act of selflessness that is described in this post is admirable, but the fact that this story has been shared so publicly and widely makes me fear the 'pride' that could creep into the mind(s) of those who are doing the selfless thing.

    That doesn't mean we don't do selfless acts because of the fear of the sin of pride, that would be ridiculous. But I think there is something to be said of the principle of not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing. Especially in these types of situations.

    Because we are all trapped inside our flesh until we inherit our eternal bodies, we are vulnerable to the sins of our 'old self'. For this reason, IMHO, when being generous or selfless or giving sacrificially, it's best to keep that between you, your spouse and God. Otherwise you run the risk of allowing other motivations to creep in and to pollute the beauty of your generosity.

    Does that make sense?

  2. Steve,

    I understand what you're saying about getting 'puffed up' with accomplishments, whether they're memorizing Scripture, academic or career accomplishments, sports, or whatever. Every human faces this problem.

    But, keeping your good deeds between you and God doesn't alleviate the temptation. It's still easy to start thinking how good you're doing, and how much God must like you. And now you've even got the fact that you're specifically not doing in front of others, which can make you even prouder of yourself.

    And, yes, Jesus said to not let your one hand know what the other is doing. But, Paul also encouraged the Philippians to imitate him (Php 3:17), which meant he considered himself worthy of imitation. But, he's asking them to imitate him in the sense that he has renounced all his prior worldly successes for the sake of knowing Christ (3:8). So, even in highlighting himself, he is doing so to point to Jesus.

    I just heard a sermon by Michael Lawrence, of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, that dealt with this issue. Check it out if you're interested.

  3. I was actually thinking that it is helpful for stories like this to be shared, if one can do it in the right spirit. I think that people ought to see more stories like this to inspire them. Though I certainly understand the caution you give. I've always believed that pride is the hardest sin to root out of our lives.

    I have every reason to believe that Ali has shared her story in the right spirit and not out of pride, as I know she struggled with what to do about their wedding rings.

    I really appreciate you engaging us and asking us to think further on these subjects. That is why we started this blog.

  4. Steve,
    You raise a good point and one we should all consider, especially publicly on a blog.

    I serve with Ali and Phil on the Africa Mercy and can assure you that this story was not shared in pride as these two are humble servants here on the ship. Phil is an electrician and Ali is a pediatrics nurse. Their faith is inspiring day to day in the routines of serving the poorest of the poor here in West Africa. We are so happy for them!

    Ali loves to write and share her feelings through her blog. The stories are full of the challenges she finds in serving, living in community and the love she has for God's precious ones.

    Please visit for her insightful writing of everyday life here.

    Thank you for your insights and may God bless you abundantly as you follow him daily!

    God's blessings,
    Denise Miller

  5. I'm glad I read this story and that it was shared.

    My wedding rings (which I've had for 14 years) just disappeared off my bedside table a couple of weeks ago - either snatched by my baby girl, or stolen. $2000 worth - I'm feeling a little pain from the loss, but not because of the money.

    I think my point is that it's the thought and symbolism that makes the the rings valuable - not their actual cost.

  6. And an intermediate choice between traditional gold or platinum and a zip-tie would be something such as tungsten or titanium. A tungsten wedding ring looks nice, is nearly impossible to scratch, and costs about 1/3 of a gold wedding ring. One disadvantage is that tungsten rings cannot be re-sized, so gaining/losing weight might necessitate replacing the ring.

    I've also thought, and told Jennifer, that if I were buying her engagement ring today, I wondn't buy a diamond; I'd probably buy tanzanite, or something similar. Diamonds have moral problems (i.e., potential of them being "blood" diamonds) and they're actually not all that rare; the DeBeers cartel artificially inflates their prices, just as OPEC artificially inflates oil prices.

    Hmm, I have more thoughts, so I wonder if another post might be in order....

  7. Hi! I appreciate your blog. About weddings -- we kept our budget low ($2000 for everything -- our daughter and husband could keep whatever they didn't spend as a gift; we fed a meal to about 150 guests) and did our best to balance good stewardship and celebration, making memories that would be pleasant and Christ-honoring for the couple and the guests. It took a lot of creativity, planning, and work but we have no regrets. A wedding uses all of the talents of a godly woman -- sewing, flower arranging, decorating, hospitality, planning, etc.

  8. Jennifer and I were watching a TV show the other day about the 5 worst bride meltdowns on those reality shows. One bride started crying and screaming because the bagpiper didn't show up on time. I started wondering whether Americans have put too much into the wedding day being "perfect." There's that whole thing about girls planning their wedding from the time they're 12 years old. I think a perfect wedding would be a good celebration of two people getting married, and that shouldn't cost enough money to send someone to Yale.


We intend this blog to be a discussion about wartime living, so we always welcome your thoughts.