The Backman Wedding.
My words are going to do terribly poor justice for the beauty and Love that filled and led this day. Nicole Mason did a remarkable job sharing the truth of who we are and I truly could not have imagined anyone else capturing our wedding day. I will, for the most part, let these photographs tell our story, but I do want to share a little about the first section of these photographs. It is something that not everyone will recognize or understand, and I really just want to invite you in to see us for who we are. This is not me telling you because I want to force anything or any idea. You have the freedom to scroll past or ex out at any point, but if you're interested, I'd love to share this with you.
THE MEANING of OUR BAPTISM
One of the things that I hope to learn is how to have conversations about God for people who simply don't know who He is. I want to share with you what exactly you are seeing in the first section of images on this page, because there was a point where I would have been really confused. One of the hardest things about growing up in a secular (non-faith) home is that faith, or even the way that people use religion and its traditions, was not explained to me, even objectively. I was never taught about different beliefs nor did anybody go into any detail about the faith that I was indirectly raised around. I was technically baptized as an infant and never understood what that meant to the people who called for it. And I had my communion as a child, but I didn't understand what that was about either. I grew up going through the motions of religion through some detached family members but I vaguely remember being confused as a child as to why I had to kneel and stand up seven times when I was at church, or put wafers on my tongue. I remember having dinner with someone I was dating a long time ago and his mother asked me if I was raised Catholic or Christian, and I had no idea what the difference was nor the answer. My public school never mentioned faith. And many of the friends that I had that believed in Jesus never talked about Him with me, so I never knew. As I got older, I had some conversations regarding the idea of heaven and where we go when we die. And I knew that a friend and their parents prayed for me. But that was the extent of it. There was not only confusion but no personal or emotional understanding of what was happening. So, I want to share and explain some of this with you just in case you happen to be in the same position that I was. The truth that I've learned is that knowing who God is, for who He really is, is nothing other than personal and emotional. It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I heard that God is not about order, control and religion, and He's not some figure sitting on a throne in the sky playing chess with your life. I learned for myself that devoting your life to Him is devoting your life to Love and peace that transcends worldly possession. And that He does genuinely want you to Love Him back so that you can live out and enjoy life in that peace, and then share that with others.
Becoming baptized was (and is) an important decision for me for two main reasons. To be baptized is a symbol of cleansing yourself of your wrong-doings up until that point, so that you can go forth in a new light. It was to finally accept the idea that I could be forgiven for the things that I have done because He has forgiven me, and to allow for peace in my heart for those things, so that I can move forward in acceptance and understanding that I am not my past. It was also a symbol of responsibility, to me, that my life forward is now vowed and devoted to God first and foremost. To identify and claim Him as the center of my life. And that is my second reason for wanting to be baptized. Spencer and I both believe that in order to have a marriage, we need the guidance, grace, and the foundation of knowing who God is. He is the reason we are who we are, and because of Him, we are able to live our lives loving each other freely and forgiving each other gracefully when we need to, and also not demanding the impossible from one another. It is not my goal to change Spencer in any way, but love him as he is while he walks out his own individual journey with God, and whoever it is that God creates him to be in the future. In Tim Keller's The Meaning of Marriage, he writes, “It is the illusion that if we find our one true soul mate, everything wrong with us will be healed; but that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live up to that.” Spencer is a gift and joy, the love of my life, and my home here on earth. But if he alone influenced and made me who I was, my heart would be fickle and fleeting depending on him and how well our marriage is going at that time. Tim Keller also writes, “The gospel can fill our hearts with God’s love so that you can handle it when your spouse fails to love you as he or she should. That frees us to see our spouse’s sins and flaws to the bottom—and speak of them—and yet still love and accept our spouse fully. And when, by the power of the gospel, our spouse experiences that same kind of truthful yet committed love, it enables our spouses to show us that same kind of transforming love when the time comes for it."
Somewhere following the first several months of learning who Jesus is, I had a very distinct feeling that I should be baptized. More specifically, it came to my heart to be baptized the morning of my wedding day. At the time of this feeling that I had, I did not know Spencer would be the man that I'd be marrying but I certainly hoped. And after we had gotten engaged, I told him about this vision-like sense that I had while we were sitting in his car outside of his family's house one night, and the first thing he said back to me was, "Can I join you?" So we did it together. The morning of our wedding guided by his father and the eldest sister of his siblings, Sierra.
MAY 21, 2018 truly was the happiest, most beautiful day of my life.
Thank you for your hospitality, kindness and generosity in letting us celebrate our day with you. You were beyond kind to us.
A NOTE ABOUT RINGS
I handmade Spencer's ring from scratch with the help of Giana Galati, a Sacramento-based jewelry maker, sculptor and the owner of Vivid Venus. I took private lessons from her for several weeks and created Spencer's ring with rose gold metal and a black diamond from India.
Inspired by Lord of the Rings, the ring I made is worn on his index finger while his wedding band is worn on his ring finger.
We really could not imagine anything more fitting for Spencer. Thank you, Giana, for all of your help! I wouldn't have been able to do it without you.
What I listened to while getting ready and on the drive to our ceremony site.
A NOTE ABOUT FATHERS
When I was three years old, God saved two lives. Mine and Ray's. We were what each other needed here on earth. I needed a father to raise me and Ray needed to know that he was loved. It is one of the most beautiful stories that has happened in my life, and it has been such a testimony of the Lord's heart. Ray was the one who took me school supply shopping all growing up, who taught me how to tie my shoes, and the one who listened to me. He met with me almost every week for breakfast or dinner, introduced me to my now affinity for Japanese cuisine, and most importantly, made time. He sacrificed immensely for me. He adopted me as his child in his heart, and showed me love I wouldn't have known elsewhere. He is the man that walked me down the isle the day of my wedding.
Two or three years ago, when I accepted God, I began to see healing in my relationship with my biological father. We have been emailing back and forth growing our relationship, getting to know each other, and healing. The first time that I saw him in 10 years was the day of our wedding. And it was more profoundly healing and beautiful than I could put into words. He was amazing, and he, and Ray, and my father-in-law all connected and bonded over the fatherhood of a daughter who at a time had no Father at all. He is the man that is holding the umbrella during our vows—arms shaking, tears in his eyes. I am so unbelievably grateful that he was there and for forgiveness, only possible because we know Grace.
Before our ceremony, we welcomed our friends and family to pray over us.
This next part is for Luke, Spencer's youngest brother. Sweet Luke, like all of the Backman children, captured my heart fully. I would do anything for them. They welcomed me into the family as an orphan and turned me into a sister. They loved me with the risk of not knowing whether Spencer and I would last, and they prayed for us the whole way through nonetheless. They have been sweet, encouraged me, and taught me how to laugh and play. How to push myself physically, how to love God more, how to do the things I say I want to do. They have sat by my side and cried and prayed for me. They have helped take care of me when I was suffering in my health. They gifted me my childhood at the age of 23 and at 25, the sorrows of my childhood hardly exist. They are all individually lights to my life.
Luke, charming and ridiculously silly as he is, told me one day that he had an idea. He would be the "ring barrier" and bring to me Sting, Bilbo's sword. He would then "get down on one knee and present to me this sword, in which I could knight him with it!" From there, he says, he would receive the sword back from me... and then, "fight Spencer with it."
For a while, it was a hilarious and cute idea. But as we got closer to the wedding, I asked Luke if he really wanted me to knight him. And he said yes. So I said that we could do all of it except the very last part of course.
My father-in-law documented our ceremony perfectly, "The wedding site was stunning. It was actually a bit warm in the beginning with the sun shining brightly. People were in very good spirits. There were storms happening across the lake and the mixture of foreboding clouds (colors of various shades of greys, blues and whites), mountains (some snow capped and some not) and water that reflected all of the beauty of the environment from the unsettled sky to the patches of sun shining through to the rippling of the water surface from the breeze made it feel like we were simply players in a much grander play going on. The ceremony started as normal as can be with the bride walking through the sand in her bare feet and a wedding gown. Oh and she was so beautiful. My son was sharp looking with his slim cut suit and his boots and Armani shirt. They were picture perfect and the rest of us stood on the sand taking in the beauty of it all. In the midst of all this Tyler, Spencer and Codi’s very good friend who was the officiant, spoke appropriately about beauty…how we search and find beauty in each other, in the creation and in our Creator. It was all going very smoothly and quickly and then they asked if anyone wanted to pray. I was not going to pass up this opportunity and immediately went down to pray for my son and daughter. Sierra followed closely on my heels and then nearly everyone (perhaps everyone) came down and we circled this lovely couple and prayed and cried together. In fact it seems the Lord started crying as well as it started to sprinkle. I made mention to this in my prayer and it seemed appropriate to do so. Soon most of my family prayed as well as a number of others and tears were streaming…even on the faces of my three younger sons. As I said earlier, there seemed to be more than just a wedding going on. There seemed to be healing in people’s hearts. There was a father who had hardly known his daughter (Codi) who could not have been more touched by the weekend. There was the father that actually raised her who has not known much good in his life outside of this beautiful girl named Codi who has found her space in this world (and it is full of great beauty and joy) and he now finally realizes that she is going to be perfectly fine. There was me…another father who couldn’t have been more blessed to see his son marry a woman who is just like a daughter to me…lovely, beautiful but most of all loving and growing in the Lord. There were countless others touched by the prayer time. Then it came time for the vows that Codi and Spencer had written to read to one another. Codi started and the tears streamed more freely. And it started to rain hard. People raised umbrellas as best they could and gathered as close as possible to the couple wanting to hear her heartfelt words to Spencer. Codi read her vows through her tears and the tears of God came streaming down. We were getting soaked in the rain. I gave thought to the photographer and her equipment but she was seemingly prepared and so I listened intently to Codi, through her sobs, share her vows. She shared her heart and her hopes and was realistic about the hardships and struggles ahead. Then my son shared his vows he had written down earlier that day. The rain seemed to intensify even more as my son shared in his deep loud voice his heart with these people who loved them enough to not even hardly move as the rain poured down. Spencer’s words and message to all of us were crystal clear. We are not perfect and we will not be perfect but the gift of life and love enables us to embrace our imperfections and walk a journey where two are better than one. The gift of God’s life is not the gift of compliance but a gift of love freely offered and freely chosen to reciprocate. This is where the beauty of love lies…not in the expectations we tend to place on each other but in the freedom of love given and received openly, honestly and freely. They vowed not to hold each other to the standard of perfection but to walk out a beautiful and raw journey where vulnerability and humble hearts create a tapestry that is unique and lovely. They recognized that they would inevitably hurt one another but made vows to work through those times with each other (with the help of God) and stay on the same side knowing that the common enemy is what needs to be faced together…however that enemy seems to show up on any given day in time."
The exact moment that Spencer was done sharing his vows, the rain let up.
Again, our deepest and most sincere thanks to Nicole Mason for photographing our wedding day so beautifully. Everything is truly a work of art. She was perfect.
Spencer Adie, you are the son of a King and my favorite human being on this earth. My very, very best friend. I am honored to be the one who gets to live so closely to you and who knows your heart the way that I do. Thank you for having me, for making me your bride, and for your love. I cannot wait to see how God continues to shape you.
THE NEXT DAY