I got the privilege of standing beside this dear woman at her wedding this past weekend. She stood glorious at the alter with a crown on her head, worshipping her Father, sure of the man she vowed to marry. It was one of the most beautiful moments I've ever witnessed, not just because of the lovely surrounds or flowers in my hands, but because of the people that Hannah and Josh are and the love they not only have for each other but for others.
Hannah Vaughan is a special woman. I met her while volunteering in India. She joined me in month four of my service there and a time when I really needed her; I didn't know it at the time though. I went down to her room, which was across the lawn in another building from mine, knocked on her door, monsoon rain drizzling down my face and she answered, bright eyed, big smile, probably a laugh (a typical Vaughan thing and she exuberantly greeted me! I don't remember what it was - the quilted slipper booted american apparel she wore or her warmth - but I could sense the spirit in her and I loved her right away! I needed her camaraderie at that time and she was a source of prayer and connection for me. We have remained close ever since; there is an intimate connection between us.
Hannah is an advocate - a fighter. She is passionate about people rights and being the heart of God to people. She was there most nights in Ferguson when the riots were going on- standing between protestors and officers praying. That's who Hannah is. She doesn't ignore problems, she shows up, and she fights for what is right.
Wedding week is a crazy time for brides, we all know that. When you're hosting a lot of out of town wedding party members it creates another element to the week on top of that. You're excited to see your friends and want to catch up with them and spend quality time with them and your trying to juggle all the last minute details of your wedding (a.k.a. all the stuff that goes wrong) at the same time - while wanting everything to be perfect! It's a stressful time. I observed something beautiful this week while watching Hannah though.
While juggling the elements of her wedding (handling it like a boss), she never let the stress come out onto her relationships with people. She still treated people warmly and kindly; with respect -still looking you in the eye and seeing you. That is a quality that I want to have.
Hannah is a people-oriented person. She chooses people first. She sees them as important. (As opposed to task-oriented people like myself over here). And I think this is a large part of God's heart. When I ponder purpose in my life I think of the saying: Be a lover of God & the people He loves. God created man and they are His world, the most important thing. Shouldn't that be ours too? I think we lose sight of that amidst our daily tasks and need to survive. People are the most important priorities we can have on this earth besides God and what better way to know God's heart than to invest into the ones He loves. It has been a conscious effort to me to choose people more over the past 10 years, and I hope to inspire you to do it as well.
Let's invest into people more; give more priority to friendship and relationship. Let's try to see people the way that God sees them when we pass them by on the street instead of just heading onto our next task. Let's make it a statute in our lives to always show value to people (because they are valuable) no matter what other things are going on. And lets, like Hannah, advocate for people - stand up for those that have no voice, sympathize with those who are afflicted, and realize that people are the greatest priority we can have on this earth.
Here is some inspiration from people with similar hearts as Hannah.
Hannah, I celebrate your intimacy with the Father and the conviction you have to love and fight for people. Thank-you for the beautiful soul you are and the friend you are to me. We can all love more like you.