And The Bride Wore Cowboy Boots

Saturday I participated in an amazing wedding.

I knew it was going to be different when the bridesmaids and bride came in wearing cowboy boots. ?But I knew the wedding would be wonderful long before Saturday, because the couple is an amazing couple.

I?ve known the groom, Ian Murphy, since he was born. ?Our families lived next door to each other, and as kids, Ian and my son David were best friends (when they didn’t bug the heck out of each other).

In 2006, Ian suffered a serious head injury in a car accident. Doctors said he wouldn?t live, but God said he would, and Ian has persevered through years of treatment and therapy and made slow but steady progress to this day. His best friend, Larissa, also persevered, staying by his side from the day of the accident until now.? (Check out their amazing blog).

They chose August 28 for their wedding because it was Ian?s father Steve?s birthday.? Steve went to be with the Lord last fall after an 8-week battle with cancer.? Steve always supported them, encouraging them toward marriage, exhorting them that whatever decision they made, to make it in faith, trusting God to be faithful.

So on Saturday, Ian rose from his chair, with the help of best man David, and his brother Ben, to gaze upon his bride as her father walked her through the meadow and up the aisle in her cowboy boots to begin their new life together.

Ian and Larissa asked me to include this John Piper quote in my message:

Marriage is not mainly about prospering economically; it is mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living. Treasuring Christ is more important than bearing children. Being united to Christ by faith is a greater source of material success than perfect sex and double-income prosperity.

So it is with marriage. It is a momentary gift. It may last a lifetime, or it may be snatched away on the honeymoon. Either way, it is short. It may have many bright days, or it may be covered with clouds. If we make secondary things primary, we will be embittered at the sorrows we must face. But if we set our face to make of marriage mainly what God designed it to be, no sorrows and no calamities can stand in our way. Every one of them will be, not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. The beauty of the covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.

Ian and Larissa have displayed Christ’s unconditional, covenant-keeping love to a watching world for the last 4 years, remaining devoted to one another through suffering that I can?t relate to.

What a joy it was for me to lead the couple in the vows they wrote. ?There weren?t many dry eyes in the house – I mean field – as they pledged love and faithfulness to each other.

And what a celebration took place afterward. ?From the father-daughter swing dance to the glowing hot air balloons that soared into the purple night sky, to Ian and Larissa surrounded on the dance floor with friends singing along with ?Play that Funky Music White Boy? it was a night I?ll never forget.

photo by Lydia Jane Photography

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.