Saturday, May 9, 2020
(Webcast begins at 6:00pm Central Time)
Navy blue, ivory, with hints of pale blush and greenery.
Hilton Garden Inn – Nashville/Brentwood.
All that is good that has happened in my life is because God allowed me to find this beautiful place that is full of a Body of Believers who truly love God. I pray these words in some way speak to what I’m thankful for in finding a beautiful Church and Godly girl, Alex.
I grew up in Salem, Illinois, in a family of seven. My parents were constantly seeking for a church teaching that added meaning to their lives, a message that was backed by the church body with action. My mom found Remnant Fellowship in 2006 through hosting a Weigh Down class. Our whole family noticed an incredible change in her; she transformed spiritually and physically. We had church-hopped a lot in those days, so we assumed this was just another church on our visit to Nashville. However, upon arriving at Remnant Fellowship in Brentwood, TN, we discovered a place filled with people passionate about finding a relationship with our Creator, full of love and joy. My family joined Remnant Fellowship in 2007. The changes I saw in my parents, Dan and Rebecca Jackson, were incredible. There was a wave of great peace in our household. But I had not entirely made a connection with God.
I grew up with so many friends in this Church. They all love their parents and desire to be under their authority. I would watch them be quick to follow their parents’ suggestions, something that I hadn’t seen before. When I was younger, I remember my parents getting compliments about how well-behaved we were as kids; the truth is that while my mom was trying very hard to teach us to follow God, I never embraced those teachings, even as I watched my friends follow Him. It was easy to serve others and give back to other friends and family, but it developed into more of seeking praise of man than a servant’s heart. My parents never got my full attention because there really was no desire to listen to them. My heart developed into more rebellion, and it spiraled when I was in college. I had no desire to get to classes on time or focus on school. The anti-authority in my heart allowed me to make many exceptions for myself. I made exceptions for everything and was blind to my pride.
Honestly, I can say Alex is my soulmate. She has given me so much gratefulness and unreservedness for God. Alex is beautiful inside and out; she is smart and organized! And above all else, she only wants God first.– Ryan
My life dramatically changed when I listened to one of Gwen Lara’s talks, titled “You Are That Man.” I realized I had been blind in that I had completely forgotten how to love God with my whole heart, to put His will first in my life. I had been putting myself first in everything. I wanted this love for God back with everything in my being. A sense of peace came over me, and I began taking the time to read and to listen to true Biblical teachings that would help me focus on His will.
From the moment I met Alex, she instantly brought joy to my life. I had grown up around her and our families had hung out on many occasions, but for some reason, she had never clicked with me as an interest. I can remember explicitly staying up super late one night when I was 13, playing Legos with her and talking for hours, and I laugh at that now. On our first date, I remember talking for hours again—the restaurant was closing, and we had no idea where the time had gone. Alex has truly changed my life; she couldn’t have entered at a more perfect time. I was struggling spiritually… as well as at college and at work… but I was seeking, truly seeking, God for the first time in my life.
Honestly, I can say Alex is my soulmate. She has given me so much gratefulness and unreservedness for God. Alex is beautiful inside and out; she is smart and organized! And above all else, she only wants God first. We both come from large families, and we connect in that aspect on so many levels. Our dating relationship was incredible, and honestly, I would not be the man I am today without Alex and without my family’s guidance through it all. I am so grateful for Remnant Fellowship and the teachings and examples given to us on how to have an awesome marriage united in love for God.
It only took me a couple months of dating to realize Alex was the one and only. When it came time to ask her to marry me, I took her out to our first date restaurant. I was so nervous, and when she kept asking me what I was thinking about (you can read emotions right off my face), I replied with “Babe I just love you” (cheesy but it worked). After dinner, I asked Alex’s mom to send us a text that they were having a bonfire back at home. We pulled up in the truck, and I slipped the ring in my suit pocket. We walked down to the firepit, which was the first place we had began talking, and I proposed to her. She said yes! I was so overjoyed! She is everything I ever imagined and more! Everything in my life has been forever changed because of this place; my college grades, work, and above all, my relationship that has grown with our Creator. I am so undeserving of Alex and so thankful for her beautiful example. My life would have been a mess without this message, and I’m so grateful for our Godly leadership and Godly marriages that have gone before us, paving the example for an amazing marriage. I cannot wait for May 9th!
It’s a beautiful thing to get to reminisce about the life I’ve lived so far and the abundant blessings throughout my years. I’ve lived a life so full of love, happiness, and generosity, and I have been surrounded by more beauty than most have the blessing to say. My life changed for the better around 13 years ago, when my sweet momma joined our beautiful Church, Remnant Fellowship, in 2006. She had done the Weigh Down Diet a few years before that and truly became a beautiful person inside and out, which then made our household all the more amazing. I was barely 7 years old and didn’t know then the change and blessings that would come from my mom’s decision to love God more than anything else on this Earth. I knew why my mom was different, in the very best way, after listening to Gwen Lara talk about having a personal relationship and love for our amazing Creator. Shortly after, my dad decided to follow suit by joining the church in 2009, and he ended up moving us to Tennessee to be closer to our church family in 2010; we had been living in Rochester, Minnesota at that time.
I made lifelong friendships during that time period following our move here. Every single beautiful lady in my wedding party is someone whom I met and fell in love with all of those years ago—goodness, it feels like forever! Growing up together, I fell in love with the way they were under authority and truly thought of others as better than themselves. It seemed to me that everyone was such a servant, jumping at the chance to get to take care of someone else’s needs. I knew that they had attractive qualities about their hearts, and I wanted that too…but deep down, I wasn’t ready to give up what I wanted in my own heart yet.
I made a decision to do my own thing throughout high school and the beginning of college. It was during this time period where I made so many mistakes and had to learn the hard way what a life without God is like. All I wanted and what I had dreamt about growing up was to have a boyfriend, to become a wife, and eventually to have children. I took matters into my own hands to try to obtain that dream, and let me tell you right now, it doesn’t work if you don’t wait on God’s timing! It was everyone else who needed to change—never me, because I thought I was perfect. I sat through countless Church services and weddings during those times of pain but was never convicted to change. It took a few years and many sleepless nights, but my sweet parents finally broke through to me and helped me realize that there was more to this life than the heartbroken and miserable one that I was living. Something that Gwen Lara wrote in one of her books has stuck with me ever since: “It’s not about finding the right person, it’s about being the right person.” I knew that this mentality had to work because my sweet sister Abbi lives by that beautiful motto (along with the Proverbs 31 passage in the Bible) and her marriage to Blake is the dreamiest one you could ever imagine. I know that she would say that it’s all thanks to this Church, this teaching, and our beautiful leadership. I started to work on making my heart beautiful like so many of my friends and sweet sister had already done.
After I started putting into practice the same truth that I had been hearing since I was 7 years old, my life finally started to change for the better. And by better, I mean, THE Ryan Jackson came into my life. This man is what dreams are made of, talk about being star-struck! I’ll tell you a secret though, we actually have known each other for ages because our moms did Weigh Down together back in the day and both lost a lot of weight. Our families also ended up moving to Tennessee at the very same time. This meant we had lots of family dinners and such
Ever since Ryan came into my life, there has been a constant happiness and incandescence to every day in my life. I fall more in love with God the more I fall in love with Ryan.– Alex
My very first memory of Ryan was when I was 11 and he was 13. It’s funny because we both remember that memory so clearly, God must have known what He was doing with our lives even then! We had just moved into our house in Franklin, and Aric, my sweet brother who was only 7 at the time, invited Ryan over to play Legos. Aric thought Ryan was seriously so cool. Sadly, Aric had to go to bed at 9pm, so it was just the two of us playing Legos together at this point. Ryan and I stayed up until midnight together, talking about things that were way too hard to really understand at our age. I wish I could say that the rest was history, but truly that was all that came of us back then. Fast forward 9 years later, and this handsome man starts showing up at all the same places I’m at, which is funny because it felt like I hadn’t seen him in years. I decided to tell my mom that I had noticed Ryan, and if you know Rhonna Rickman, you know that when you mention one tiny thing to her, it definitely gets taken care of! So, my clever dad decided to set up a bonfire night at our house and invited quite a few people over, one of whom was Ryan. We talked for ages that night and sang so many songs around that fire. It was definitely one of the greatest nights of my life. I guess after that night the rest was finally history, and we fell in love. He proposed to me in January at that same firepit, and it truly was the most magical night. Never in a million years would I have thought that I could have such a fairytale life. I said YES!
They say opposites attract, and we are most definitely opposites personality-wise, but our hearts are evenly yoked. We both want, more than anything, to love God above all else, and to do His will throughout our lives. I know Ryan would tell you as well that he would not be the amazing man that he is today if it weren’t for Gwen Lara laying down her life for this message. And I know a big example for Ryan is Gwen’s husband, Joe Lara. We are both forever grateful for their family and their love for God. I also want to thank my parents, for giving us a front row seat to their love story and incredibly beautiful marriage.
Ryan propelled my relationship with God even further than I thought possible. And for that, I am forever grateful. Most definitely, the best thing about Ryan is how centered and even-keeled he is. I tend to gravitate toward the emotionally-sporadic side, and instead, he is able to think clearly in any circumstance, which definitely qualifies him as my rock. Ryan is solid in this Truth, and I know that he will always guide our tiny family toward the truth and seek out sound guidance if we need it.
Ever since Ryan came into my life, there has been a constant happiness and incandescence to every day in my life. I fall more in love with God the more I fall in love with Ryan. His parents raised him to be a man of noble character and the man of my dreams through what we have so beautifully been taught. Dan and Rebecca Jackson are truly amazing, and I love them just like my own family already. Ryan has the gentlest spirit and is so full of love. When you talk to him, he makes you feel like the most important person in the room; he listens intently and genuinely cares about everything you are saying. Which is crazy because I talk so much, and he’s still listening! Seriously though, I do not deserve to marry such an amazing man. I have no fear for the future and for our lives together, because I know that we will always have examples to look to in our parents, our siblings, and our leaders in this church who will always guide us in a righteous direction. I am so excited to dance and sing in our kitchen for the rest of our lives. Ryan is the greatest companion, my best friend, the ultimate partner, and my soul mate. I know that what we have today wouldn’t be possible without our heavenly Father. I pray our marriage is nothing but a glory to God; I cannot wait!