Glassmaking process

 


Noah Webster’s home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Niagara Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Acadia National Park

Our Honeymoon (June 18-July 3, 2005)

Because our honeymoon contained so many blessings, and so clearly showed God’s provision and guiding hand to us, we want to share a few highlights. We are definitely rejoicing in the gift that God has given us in marriage to one another. We are very happily married.

While we had made reservations for only the first two days of our honeymoon in advance, God clearly went before us the whole way. “The LORD your God … went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go” (Deut. 1:32-33).

We spent the first two days at the Dearborn Inn near Greenfield Village. On our wedding day, Jackie chose to leave on her wedding dress and veil until nightfall, and so we went to dinner at the Dearborn Inn still fully dressed in our wedding attire. It seemed our fellow diners much enjoyed this decision, and we were surprised (and blessed) to have a combination of total strangers buy our dinner and dessert. Another woman would have gladly bought us champagne as well, but we politely declined her generous offer.

Greenfield Village proved a restful, and meaningful, part of our honeymoon. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the glassmaking process, being reminded by the fiery hot furnace in front of us that God also has a furnace for those who are His own. In it, He refines us, shapes us, and makes us vessels useful to Him, cleansed from all impurity—just as the glassblower was doing with the things he was forming. Another highlight of Greenfield Village was Noah Webster’s home. While many know Noah Webster as the man who compiled the Webster’s dictionary, few know that he also completed a version of the Bible (the Noah Webster version). His goal was to simplify some of the more difficult terms in the King James, so that even the less-educated could read and understand It. But alas, Noah Webster faced the same dilemma that we face in our day. People were more interested in pleasure than in reading and obeying the Bible, and there was very little interest in his accomplishment. A sign hung in the schoolroom where he taught. It read: “Who taught millions to read but not one to sin.” The Greenfield Village worker was quick to tell us that, “He was a good man … except that he was intolerant. He had very staunch beliefs, and he would not compromise.” Giampaolo exclaimed, “Well, it sounds like he may have been a real Christian!” She insisted he was intolerant. Giampaolo challenged her, “Then you must have no absolute beliefs?” She was shocked, and admitted she had some—though she felt sure that there was not one absolute way. Each should worship in his own way. The Lord graciously gave us opportunity to share some of the Truth of God’s Word with her, and she opened her heart just a little to us.

Outside the Noah Webster house, we met a retired doctor who happened to comment on the lack of education in our society today. “The schools are too busy teaching sex education to teach history,” he said. We were able to testify of God’s grace in our lives to remain pure until marriage. He was both shocked—and impressed—that our first kiss had been on our wedding day.

As we sat down to rest on a bench near the Greenfield Ferry, our attention was drawn to the many varied couples standing in line. Some were obviously boyfriend and girlfriend; others were married and had young children. All seemed to have one thing in common: discontentment and strife. A girlfriend ranted to her boyfriend that she had been waiting for him for too long. A wife complained to her husband that they had not made it in time for the prior ferry ride. Children fussed; wives complained; husbands stood in dismay. We were challenged by the scene around us to cry out again to God that He would continue His work in our lives so that the light of His countenance may shine through our relationship. We were also reminded that, whether we realize it or not (for these couples certainly were unaware that we were watching them), others are watching us. As Christians, we are to be accurate representations and ambassadors of Christ and His Kingdom. Some may doubt that it is possible to live and have a relationship that is different. “Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of Your face shine upon us, O Lord” (Psalm 4:6) We know that “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127). But with His help, we desire to build the house that He has given us upon the Rock, that the fragrance of His Name may pour forth from our lives.

Our little sister, Ruth, had made a “Just Married” sign for our back car window, and throughout the trip we received many friendly honks and waves as a result in congratulations. We even had opportunity to pull to the side of the road with two young men in Massachusetts and share encouragement from God’s Word.

Niagara Falls was not only beautiful, as we watched the water rush toward and over the edge, we were reminded of Song of Solomon 8:6-7 and Romans 8. “Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.” Trials and suffering will no doubt come; we are promised them by a God Who loves us. But with them, He gives us His grace to be victorious, and He pours His love into our hearts with as much force and power as the Niagara River flowing by us!

As we drove through the mountains in Vermont, a lovely stream cascaded along the road. We stopped to take pictures, and then sang joyfully with the mountain breeze blowing through our hair, “Open the wells of grace and salvation, pour the rich streams deep into my heart. Cleanse and refine my thought and affection, seal me and make me pure as Thou art!”

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, turned out every bit as lovely as those who had recommended it had described. While many young people along the way had inquired with furrowed brows why we would want to honeymoon in a deserted place like Maine—“surely we could find a location with more entertainment!”—we thoroughly enjoyed hiking to a lighthouse (we even saw a dolphin bobbing along in the water), and picnicking by a quiet pond and on a nearly-deserted rocky ocean beach. The birds singing praises to God, the wild flowers testifying of His love and care, the trees lifting their hands to Him, the surf showing forth His power … these combined with the great love He has given us for one another … it seemed more than enough “entertainment” for us. In fact, we felt our cup to be overflowing. Each day seemed to get more beautiful than the previous. Truly, God is good. It is He Who opens our eyes to the beauty He has placed all around us; it is He Who gives us hearts to know Him.

We thank Him most gratefully, not only for a wonderful honeymoon, but for bringing us together and for giving us the honor and joy of serving Him!

Daily Trip Summary:
Days 1-2: Dearborn, Michigan (Greenfield Village)
Days 3-4 Niagara Falls
Days 4-5 Travel through New York and Vermont toward Acadia, Maine
Days 6-8 Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine
Day 9 Danvers, Massachusetts
Day 10 Providence, Rhode Island
Days 11-13 Travel homeward through Pennsylvania and Ohio
Days 14-15: Begin Settling into our new House in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Go to the full honeymoon photo gallery.

Additional reflections:
June 18, 2006

After just passing our one year anniversary, we paused to reflect on what some told us would be the end of our honeymoon.  They told us that after two weeks everything was going to change and it would be much more difficult to love each other and appreciate one another.  Well, they were right, things did change...they got even sweeter!  It does take work to love, but that doesn't make it a burden.  We are praising the Lord who gives us new life and who is the God who makes us one.  We know that our love can grow ever sweeter as we abide in Him and in the true life that comes through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus taught us that if we abide in Him and He in us, we will bear much fruit.  But apart from Him, we can do nothing and surely our love will grow cold.  We desire to be a blessing to our Creator.  Did you ever stop to think that He has feelings, too?  He desires us to please and glorify Him on this earth.  By trusting Him for strength, grace and wisdom, we can do just that.  What a joy it is to be children of God!

One year anniversary picture with Jackie in her wedding dress