I didn't even know what the guy who performed the ceremony was called until all this wedding planning started! However, JR Carrel (and his wife Bonnie) are coming all the way up from Clearwater, Florida to perform our ceremony. I feel really blessed that they will be able to make it.
JR was the pastor at NE Christian church which was a non-denominational church I attended when I lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. He and his wife were there for me when Sean and I broke up and hurricanes Frances and Jeanne flooded my house. I was going through a very tough time, and they were literally a God-send. Bonnie calls me her adopted daughter, and we spent some quality time together going to lunch, painting pottery, and going to a Christmas tree expo. I am looking forward to seeing them again because I only had the chance to visit them once since I moved to Charlotte three years ago.
Having JR perform the ceremony is also special to me because he was the one who baptized me. I made a special request to get baptized at St. Pete beach instead of inside the church, so they invited the whole church to my baptism in the ocean. It was very moving to have a church family care so much about me.
In fact, that wasn't the first church family I ever had. Pastor Patrick and his wife Linda are also making the trip from Gainesville to attend our wedding. Pastor Patrick is a deacon at the family church who first prayed with me when I became a Christian, and Linda is a Christian counselor who mentored me as well.
I might not seem as "religious" as some people, but God is a very important part of my life. He has always brought people into my life at the exact time I really needed them. Although I have had many struggles over the years, somehow God has kept his promise not to give me more than I can bear by bringing loving people into my life to help me through. Amen!