Snapshots of Grace
Snapshots of Grace
by Ryan and Jordan Shiozaki
If this blog post was simply our attempt to write a letter to all our beloved Lighthouse family telling you that we miss you, that would be an understatement… We really, really, REALLY miss you all so much! We are so thankful for your commitment to worshiping our God and continuing to love the church body during such a difficult time for everyone in the church.
Still, we celebrate God’s kindness to us during this season of life- a season that he has generously allowed us to be married, work in a healthcare setting, and learn even more the depths of his love for us who have been saved by the life death, and, resurrection of Jesus.
Our wonderful brother in Christ, Keith Fong, wrote up a two-page summary of our timeline leading up to our wedding with all the snags and challenges, and we were so thankful for his recollection of events because it was difficult for us to even remember everything that happened. For your sake, our abbreviated wedding summary is as follows: We were married March 19 at 9:30pm, hours before the “Safer at Home” orders went into effect, with some of our closest family and friends in attendance. Honestly, we could not have ever imagined in all our planning that our wedding ceremony would turn out the way it did. It was altogether stressful, the best day of our lives, and so much better than we deserve. Pastor David challenged us to take a step back during our ceremony to take mental snapshots of everything going on and to let it all sink in. One meaningful and lasting snapshot was looking out at our 8 guests during some of our favorite worship songs (All Creatures/ In Christ Alone) and reflecting on the ways each individual shaped the way we experienced the love of Jesus and came to know Him more. Another snapshot that we will always remember was seeing the radiant smiles and tears as our moms and dads walked down the aisle during the recessional as we knew they reached the same conclusion we did that what God had orchestrated over the course of 3 hours was far better than our entire year of “planning”.
Despite how much we love looking back at our wedding date, we are thankful that marriage has been about so much more than that one particular event. One of the strangest and greatest things about starting our united lives together during this unique time is that we are sort of stuck together… We live together (in a hotel room next to the Cedars Sinai), we walk to work together, and we take breaks together. It is certainly a blessing that we get to begin our marriage in this way. We know there will likely come a day where we don’t work together or perhaps move into a bigger home or maybe even a smaller home (somehow, if that is what God wills). Our first months together have allowed for a lot of time watching all the Star Wars movies and exploring the Beverly Hills and West Hollywood areas by running or walking all around town, with our masks on of course. But we both agree our best of times have been spent reading the Gospel of Mark passage by passage together and being able to pray to God as a couple asking for his help to turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, in addition to lifting up our beloved church family in petition to Him.
And as we continue to learn more each day about what it means to now be a couple united in marriage for the glory of our Lord, we pray that we will minister the Gospel well to each other and the people we encounter each day. The nature of our jobs necessitates that we strategize together on how we can most lovingly share the Word of God and his good news of salvation to a people who desperately need him, whether it is our patients or coworkers. We are excited for the opportunity to pursue the aching and searching hearts of beloved friends and family who might not yet have relationship with Jesus.
With all this in mind, we can look back at these first steps in a new season of life for us and say they have been overwhelmingly special. Still, we yearn for the day that we will be physically reunited with our church body, in a ceremony and celebration that will provide only the smallest glimpse of what it will look like for all of us brothers and sisters in Christ to be united with our Lord and Savior in His everlasting kingdom. We both were baptized at Lighthouse when we were in college and the years of shepherding, fellowship, and accountability have been transformative for us beyond measure. We miss you Lighthouse family, and we look forward to pressing onward with all of you for the sake of His glory, whether we are together or apart!
2 Corinthians 4:16–18 –  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (ESV)
Check out Ryan and Jordan’s video testimony from our church’s 17th Anniversary Service: