To the millennial girl living her life for Christ: thank you.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.. thank you. Thank you 20-something-year-old for choosing to walk the path that's not popular. Thank you for striving high and not living for the next high. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how much I feel alone in this life, I'm not. Thank you for showing me I'm not in the only relationship on the planet that respects values such as waiting to have sex until after marriage and not living with my significant other until after we say "I do". Thank you for giving me the encouragement to keep on this journey. Thank you for restoring hope in my heart for this generation. Thank you for giving me absolute pure joy to see you walk down the isle. Thank you… for everything.

I know to some this may not make sense. To some, you're rolling your eyes at the screen because "none of that stuff really matters". For others, you're so offended (and/or convicted) right now you want to unfollow me or tear me a new one in the comments. To you, my friend, I am unapologetic. I am not sorry for standing up for what I believe in. We live in a society that is accepting of sex before marriage, living together before the wedding ceremony and having the mindset that marriage is "just a piece of paper". It's not easy being the person on the other end of these beliefs.. TRUST ME. I get more strange looks when people find out my fiancé and I live in separate houses than uplifting comments. 

Biblical principles have become the abnormal in our culture and it's SCARY. Since when did verses like Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral" become obsolete?  It deeply saddens me when I find myself having to explain to someone why my fiancé and I don't live together or have sex before marriage. All the sudden, we are the minority. My heart aches at that.

To give a small background to this, I recently met two amazing, Godly couples that I was honored with the privilege of being their wedding photographer. The first couple was Grayson and Caroline Crawford. They had an intimate wedding in the gorgeous mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with their closest friends and family. I was intrigued and truly captivated by their communion service during their ceremony. The authenticity was so thick in the atmosphere. The prayers that were prayed weren't written down and read by a pastor but given from the heart from close family members. The newlywed couple's excitement was so deep because they knew they had a world of "firsts" together. They were ready to put God first and see where He took them. Since their wedding, I've developed a pretty close relationship with Caroline; this isn't something that typically happens with my brides. Conversation after conversation led us closer together. What has drawn us to each other is our similarity in the Lord. Just knowing that I can go to her for advice and know that she's not going to say anything that the Spirit doesn't lead her to say and that I know her advice is backed with a Godly lifestyle, is more comforting than words can express. Caroline, you were my first inspiration for this blog. Never ever give up on the Lord. I can't thank you enough for the influence you've been in my life. Thank you.

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My second couple is a recent one. They are so fresh on my heart! Stuart and Bailey Doss, I'm talking to you my friends. You know what was so neat about this wedding? Everything, I mean EV-ER-Y-THING was God focused. The funny stories the pastors had on them were all about church events. The vows were made through the Lord. And at the center of their stage was a cross. Here's where things get even more intimate… Bailey personally requested that she and Stuart get a photo by the cross. Yep. Their relationship with the Lord meant so much to them on that day that they wanted to capture it forever. She even said to me "that's the most important thing". They can look back at that photo and say "this is all because of you, Lord". I showed Bailey the photo on the back of my camera to make sure it was exactly the way she wanted it. You know what she said? Nothing. There was a small pause before she let out a small gasp and said "It's perfect"… and she just kept staring at the screen. You could read the passion for God all over her face in that moment. The extra EXTRA special thing about this couple (as if everything I just said wasn't amazing in itself) is that Stuart and Bailey hadn't always lived in a pure relationship. They decided later on in their relationship to make the change and rededicated their relationship and purity to the Lord. Y'all. It's never to late to make the change. We serve a forgiving God that always has his arms wide open. No matter what. At all times. So, to Stuart and Bailey, thank you. Thank you for being the double reassurance that Wesley and I have amazing young couples like you to look up to as we are so close to entering into the same journey.

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To the people that are reading this that are frustrated, convicted, angry, confused, sad: it's never too late to start living your life for the Lord. This post is not meant to be degrading or judgmental of the people that live differently than me. I simply am expressing my urgency on the topic at hand and showing my deepest concerns for what the Lord has laid upon my heart to talk about. 

Think about it this way.. on your wedding night you get to have sex for the first time with the person you love the most on this earth! It's not the same, nightly routine you have with tis person. It's something you have been waiting on for months maybe even years! Can you imagine how exhilarating that would be? How special? Intimate? One of a kind? Guilt free? And what an influence on your children you would be! Not only that but once you're back from the honeymoon, you get to be with that person every single night. And wake up to them next to you! Watch tv together, eat dinner together, clean together, all for the very first time! Man, I don't know about you but that just seems so precious to me. I think about it every single day leading up to my wedding!

I hope more than anything this is encouragement to not just the ladies, but to everyone. You're so much stronger than you think! No matter what pressures this evil world puts on you, you can overcome them. Grayson, Caroline, Stuart, Bailey, Wesley and myself are living examples of it. I'm sure any of these fine folks will tell you that its not easy… but so, so worth it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it was a roller coaster of emotion for some. Keep your head up. Pray. I love you and the Lord loves you a bazillion times more!

Until the next time I get a crazy controversial idea, 

Cheyenne (almost Carter) Freeman