"MY FIRST TIME."
It was something that I used to think about growing up in the churches of Louisiana. I wanted to be the guy that God used to inspire people and bring them together to live lives of happiness, love, joy and unwavering spiritual faith and devotion. I had great pastors and mentors to learn from like Jeff Oettle, Lester Love, and Brian Richburg just to name a few. What once seemed like it was a pipe dream became a reality this past weekend. Now I did'nt become the pastor of a church but I was thrusted into a similar setting.
I became ordained at the end of January and not long after, my friend Roxana asked if I would officiate her wedding. In my mind I'm like..."Uh...hmmm...Ok!....Yeah, I can...do it." That's what fear looks like when it comes out of your mouth. All things aside, I agreed and the stage was set. I was cool because I had three months to prepare. I came to find out that the wedding was the day after I returned from my annual two week spring vacation in Florida. Physically it was a bit much, but I knew that God was leading the charge on this one and the events that transpired would reveal it all. I was committed to, if nothing else , doing my very best.
While I was in South Florida the week of the wedding, I thought about it countless times. I changed my script about 100 times. I think I was too hung up on it being perfect, when all I needed to do was be authentic. I had been a performer in my life many times before, but it wasn't for the most part of this type of magnitude. Three days before, I studied the night before, on the beach, for three hours on the plane and a couple hours before. Then I thought about what one of my mentors used to tell me: "CRAMMING IS USELESS.BE ABLE TO JUST LET GO AND PERFORM." That's what I did, let go.
Saturday night before the wedding my wife Sarah and I flew in and did'nt make it home until 1am. We slept about five hours and that was it. We woke up jet lagged and exhausted, but still able to do our weekly errands. By midday, the exhaustion was even more intense. I couldn't believe I had just got off a plane and was about to officiate a wedding. WHAT WAS I THINKING ?!! While Sarah was napping, I went up to the front of our home and just said a prayer: "LORD, I CAN ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH YOU? I'M TIRED, I'M NERVOUS...I JUST DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO THIS...I NEED YOUR LOVE, I NEED YOUR GRACE...I NEED A SIGN THAT I'M ON THE RIGHT PATH. A sense of peace came over me, and I was ready to get dressed and be on our way.
It's amazing what kind of stuff can happen when there's a divine reason for you to be somewhere. We left our house around 4pm on Sunday. Sarah drove because I had to do everything I could do to relax and focus. We hit a wall of traffic taking the I-10 towards Pasadena. The easiest thing to do would've been to panic. A dodger game had backed traffic up for miles. It's amazing how when God truly wants you to do something, you start doubting yourself, you even get borderline afraid. I heard Steve Harvey say that he's always afraid every time he hits the stage. But it's that fear that let's him know he's in the right place. Suddenly, the traffic subsided and we were moving. I started to think about the sign I had asked God for and how maybe I didn't need it. Right as that happened we came upon a car that had a license plate that read "701" on a black California license plate in big yellow letters! The reason this made such an impact was because the address of the location was "701." I knew then, that this was going to happen by the hand of God and nothing was getting in the way.
We reached the venue at 5pm and walk in to one of the most elegant high end places you could have for a wedding. The wedding did'nt start for another two hours and all I had was my thoughts. I don't think anyone knew this was my first time officiating. To make things more interesting, so many people were in attendance from all walks of life. Before I knew it, there were hundreds it seemed. Here come the nerves. 6:45pm came around and my number was called. I went out to calm the crowd down a bit and that helped my confidence greatly. After I stepped out, I just kept telling myself: "USE ME...USE ME LORD!" Something clicked and I was ready to go at it. From that point, I just had fun with it. It was an amazing experience. I helped two people seal their union of love and if nothing else, just for a day, I became that guy that I idolized from the pews that I grew up in. I was sharing the message of love and inspiring people to embrace it in their lives. This was an unforgettable experience and I'm grateful for every moment of the journey...."MY FIRST TIME."
Shaun Robert Grant
CEO Uplifter Entertainment