I never could have imagined what a simple package of wedding invitation envelopes could teach me about my relationship with Jesus.
It started innocently enough. While I was visiting family in Minnesota with my fiancé, I started looking online for envelopes that would hold our wedding invitations. I quickly zeroed in on some beautiful, matte-gray envelopes that could ship to us in a few days.
“Perfect,” I naively thought. “I’ll have these in no time.”
I mentally crossed “buy wedding invitation envelopes” off my to-do list, only to realize a couple weeks later that I’d never actually ordered them. And by then, I was back home in Canada and the cost of shipping had quadrupled.
It went downhill from there.
Frustrated that I had already wasted so much time, I grimaced and ordered the envelopes, only to realize that I was now subject to expensive international import fees. I suffered through multiple failed delivery attempts and miscommunications with the shipping company until I finally arranged for my envelopes be delivered to a nearby pick-up location so I could grab them after work.
At this point, even the thought of the envelopes made me grind my teeth in exasperation. I felt cheated out of my hard-earned dollars and stressed that they were taking so long to arrive. I ranted to my fiancé daily about how terrible the shipping company’s service was, and I was even getting distracted during my prayer time, seething about the envelopes.
And so, ready to put it all behind me, I went to get the envelopes at the pick-up location, only to find the building closed. I tried again the next day: CLOSED. I had arrived on time, and their business hours were posted in the window, but inexplicably, the door was locked and the lights were off.
Furious, I called my fiance, who found out that an unexpected building problem had forced the place to close for two days. I could not believe that a shipping company would drop off a package at a “convenient” location where they would hold my precious cargo hostage for days on end.
By now, it had been more than three weeks of mounting daily frustration and stress about these envelopes. It was maddening, and boy, was I giving in to every temptation to fly off the handle! It felt justified. Their service was undeniably terrible, and the last thing I needed in the middle of all the logistics of wedding planning was to chase this expensive package all around town. So I took every opportunity to rant and rave to everyone around me about how crazy this situation was.
After seething all night, I went to the pick-up location yet again, ready for a fight. As my fiance and I walked toward the building, I snapped, “Babe, can you imagine if the package still isn’t there? I might just lose my mind.”
So yes, I did lose my mind when the friendly young clerk behind the counter told us there was no package for me. Although the shipping company had notified me that the package had been “delivered” on Thursday, the pick-up location had in fact been closed, and so the clerk guessed that the delivery man must have taken the package back on his truck.
The second we were outside, I burst into angry tears. “I cannot believe it. I cannot believe it,” I fumed, tears streaming down my face. “Why is this happening? Why can’t I just collect my stupid package?”
With infinite patience, my sweet fiance steered me into a pizza joint, bought us each a slice, and told me to breathe. “You know it’s going to be fine, right? The envelopes will come, sooner or later. It’s going to be okay.”
I knew this was all true, and yet the rage inside me wouldn’t die down. What was happening?
In that moment, crying and eating a slice of pizza, I stopped for the first time to ask myself, “Why am I so furious about these envelopes?”
I’m a slow processor. It usually takes me a few hours of mulling over an idea get a good perspective on it. So that evening, during my prayer, I placed that question before Jesus again: Why was I so furious about the envelopes? What was God trying to show me through this maddening experience?
In the quiet pondering and listening for God in my heart, I realized that my issue was what (or who) had control of my heart. In the midst of all the details of wedding planning, I gave in to the temptation to become a “bridezilla” when something didn’t work out the way I hoped.
But this was the opposite of what God and I had already talked about: right from the start, I had promised to give my engagement to Jesus. I promised him that every detail, every moment, every plan would be abandoned to his Divine Providence, and that I would be docile to him, no matter what.
In those early moments of frustration about the envelopes, I should have turned to my Savior with a smile. I should have laughed at the misguided thought that I am in control of my own life. I should have embraced my littleness and entrusted the whole box of envelopes right into his hands, like a child does to a loving father.
By clinging to control over the envelopes, I allowed anger to burrow deeper and deeper into my heart until I couldn’t control it any longer. This was my chance to finally surrender.
Immediately, a quote from Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross sprang to my mind:
“I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God’s all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me.”
With total peace in my heart for the first time in weeks, I gave the envelopes to Jesus.
The next day, I called the shipping company again. I explained the situation, and they assured me that the package had been dropped at a different location just down the street. All I had to do was collect it. So I did.
Now, I have both the envelopes and a valuable lesson: wedding planning, just like everything else in life, is an opportunity to give the smallest details to Jesus — even the envelopes.
About the Author: Becca Arend is a twenty-something who loves Jesus. As a proud Minnesotan who recently moved to Halifax to be nearer to her fiancé Chris, she loves American things like Chick-Fil-A, spelling words without an extra u, and the Imperial System.