When I first started the Southern Weddings blog six years ago, SouthernWeddings.com wasn’t available.  So, I had to get creative.  I brainstormed and asked friends and finally put something out on Twitter to ask for help!

southernweddings.com domain lara casey

 

Drew B had come up with iloveswmag.com in a previous plea for fresh-squeezed creative juices and the votes were unanimous.  ILoveSWMag.com has been our home for the last 6 years.

But, this domain continued to nag me, like a great sweater that didn’t fit exactly right.  Spelling out my email address to people on the phone was nothing short of a circus.  I LOVE.  S as in Sam. W as in Walter. M – A – G as in Makes A Girl crazy to have to repeat her online identity a dozen times.  And then there were the folks who thought our magazine was called “I Love SWAG.”  And the folks who still call us SWS (little known fact, we used to be Southern Wedding Style before a rather painful trademark battle). People were constantly confusing us with the current SouthernWeddings.com domain.  And, most of all, I would think about all the newly-engaged brides that weren’t finding us easily.  All of these beautiful love stories we were telling were getting to a lot of people, but maybe not to everyone who needed them.

This sweater didn’t fit just right.  It was 100% organic cotton grown in Alabama and Georgia and North Carolina and Tennessee and Texas, but the tag kept itching the back of my neck.

SW-13

I could try to email the current SouthernWeddings.com owner and see if she would give it to me or sell it to me.  I could.  But, that would mean that there would be a possibility that she could say NO and all hope would be lost.

So, I did nothing.

I sat on it for over three years — three YEARS! — terrified to even send her an email for fear of rejection.

When I give workshops, I talk a lot about fear, largely because I’ve had a lot of them.  Fear and I have spent holidays, summers and long vacations together.  We go way back.  In workshops, we would inevitably come to a point where were I would ask everyone to name their fears. I always participate and would name the larger more common things first: fear of working too hard and missing my life, fear of failing and letting everyone around me down, fear of losing Ari or Grace…

And fear of writing the SouthernWeddings.com lady about buying her domain.

Why was this so important to me that I felt paralyzed at the thought of not getting it?  It’s taken me six years to figure it out.

SW-155

You see, there’s this thing that happens when God totally changes your life and then plants a big dream in your heart for His glory.  You start doing things and thinking things that are far bigger than you can fully understand at the moment.  You want to go to the ends of the earth to say THANK YOU LORD.  You just feel compelled.

When my own marriage and my husband and my family and my heart started to be transformed by the love that never fails, I started to hear a song… a song that needed to be sung and played loudly with the right instruments.  You cannot play Claire De Lune, one of my favorite sweeping pieces of music, with just drums.  Well, I guess you could, but I don’t think the swelling of the last part of the song would move me to tears as much.  Great music does that.  It changes us.  It heals us.  It compels us.

I realized I needed — NEEDED — the right instruments to play this song that God kept putting on my heart.  A song of stronger-than-oak marriages, love stories that span generations and creating a deeply meaningful beginning to married life.  This song that we hum and sing and strum daily is the song of lasting love.  And if it meant getting a domain name to help us sing this song in perfect harmony, I realized I needed to feel the fear, get over myself and just do it already.

SW-58

So, I emailed Lisa Manning one October morning in 2011, just weeks before I had Grace, after texting five friends to ask them to pray for me, shaking as I typed the email and sweating as I hit send.

And I waited.  And waited.  And she wrote me back and said “no.”  She wasn’t interested in selling the domain.  Period.

Ugh.

My heart dropped into my stomach and I just cried at my desk.  God, I don’t understand!  I have been praying so much about this and I feel like you WANT me to go after this, but she said NO??!??

SW-76

Then, I had a baby.  Life was flipped on its head.  With all I had going on having a newborn and trying to figure out how to be a mom and run a business, it would have been easier to just let it go and move on.  But, God…  There are those two simple yet life-altering words again.  But, God did not want me to give up.  He does not want YOU to give up on that thing that seems bigger than you that you know is for His glory, no matter how crazy it sounds when you tell people about it.  He kept showing me that this domain was just the beginning.  A small but vital piece of a much bigger picture.

So, months later, I sucked up my pride and wrote her again.

And she graciously said “no.” Again.

And again.

And again.  And likely by this point she was probably considering blocking my email.

Then, on January 18th of this year, at the urging of several dear friends, I sent her my final plea.   This time, I explained to her WHY I wanted the domain so badly.  I told her about how God had changed my heart and my marriage and about our mission to help couples love deeply, give abundantly and do what matters most in life.  I poured my heart out to her:

Before you immediately trash this email, I will apologize in advance for the repeat inquiry.  I fully respect you wanting to keep your domain and wanted to just check again to see if there was a possibility of us purchasing it from you.  The reason I want to purchase this domain is far beyond anything to do with business or traffic or numbers.  Our mission for the company is to be a light in this industry and in homes across the world.  That may sound grand, but we have seen how our “Love Never Fails” mission has affected so many in the last year… bringing people back to the heart of marriage.   So, if there is anything I can do to increase that mission and help couples create a meaningful beginning to married life, I am very passionate about doing everything possible.  I believe God have us this platform to help people come back to what matters most in life – love, family and honoring both in their marriages.  So, apologies again for the repeat inquiry, but I hope you will at least consider my plea.

Months passed with no reply.  I quietly prayed about it as winter turned to spring.  The flowers started to burst through the ground and the bees started buzzing again.  New life was everywhere, reminding me that God was very good and that all things are made new in time.  In His perfect timing.

SW-128

April 29th, 2013, Lisa wrote me back, but this time, she said “yes.”  It was a “yes” that was accompanied by a large price tag, understandably, but it was a YES and worth every penny. YES!  YES!!  YES!!!

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)

The verse doesn’t say, “Ask and it will be given to you immediately; seek and you will find tomorrow; knock and the door will be opened to you no matter what door it is. For everyone who asks receives everything they ask for; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I’ve had countless people tell me “no” for things and I don’t always get my way, even when being persistent.   In fact, most of the time I don’t get my way.  Sometimes we are told “no” for very good reasons.  No’s refine us.  No’s help us to see just how passionate we are.  No’s make us resilient. And, sometimes God says “yes” after years and years of waiting for something — whether that’s a husband or a baby or an idea or a move or a new job or a domain name — and you are so much better because of the waiting.  The “yes” becomes so very sweet.

It’s in the waiting that life happens.  But, in order to even get to the waiting, we must ask first. Ask. Seek. Knock.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14-16)

God says that if we ask for things that are in His will, not ours, He will hear us.  I know now that God wanted me to learn the right melody before He gave me the perfect instruments to play it.

As I type this, I can hear Grace in the kitchen belting “Amazing Grace.”  Oh, sweet girl.  Amazing grace indeed.  It’s not about a domain or a magazine or blog traffic or business… it’s about Him.  It’s about being a light for Him and never stopping at NO to make that happen.  I once was lost, but now I’m found.  Was blind, but now I see.  And what I see is very good and I want to share it with the world.

And the beautiful thing about this is I made a friend, a true soul sister, in Lisa Manning.  She has since encouraged me about parenting and family and marriage.  Her grace and willingness to give up something that was her own identity for so long makes my heart so grateful and has set a wildly powerful example for me.  As we made the final domain transfer a few weeks ago, she told me, “I received your email and cried for 2 hours.  Southern Weddings was my baby.  I birthed it, grew it to adulthood and now it is going off to college.  : )”  Thank you, Lisa.  Getting to know you these last years has taught me so much about fighting for God’s glory and about giving things up for the sake of something bigger.  Thank you thank you thank you.

Friends, I don’t have all the answers here, but I do have my own path that God has paved. Some simple, but profound things I’ve learned from this:

Ask. Seek. Knock.  Ask for what you want and God will mold your heart till what you want is the same as what He wants.  That is a beautiful profound thing and the power of prayer.  We commune with Him and learn from Him when we just simply spend time talking to Him.

Knock some more.  If what you are after is for God’s glory, it’s always worth a little more knocking.  Don’t wake any babies up or bang down the door, but tenderly knock on the doors that matter.  Make it happen.

His plans never fail.  Ever.  And sometimes things take a long time because God wants to change you in the journey.  Life happens in the waiting.

And so, it is with great REJOICING that I announce our new home…

The best fitting sweater with the softest monogrammed seersucker tag…

The symphony playing our song…

SouthernWeddings.com

SW-93Amazing new photographs all by Landon Jacob.  I couldn’t wait till our next issue comes out to share them!

Hop on over to SOUTHERNWEDDINGS.COM (I had to type it in all caps because it just feels sooooo good — like hot butter on a fresh biscuit) to win the very first copy of our new issue hot off the press when it arrives. We have a shiny new brand and website coming on 11.12.13 with our magazine launch, but for now, this new home is plenty exciting!  Oh my soul is singing!!!  Thank you to so many friends who have encouraged us on this journey!

ask seek knock lara casey

So, what’s the thing you’ve been afraid to ask for?  What are you learning in the waiting?  I’d love to hear from you…

Show Comments (44)
  1. SouthernWeddings.com : Welcome to Our New Home!! « Southern Weddings Magazine

    [...] much more than a domain or a blog or a magazine or a business. If you’re interested in the full story, Lara’s written it out on her own blog today. A few housekeeping details for our new home: [...]

  2. Nancy Ray

    YIPPEEEEE!!!! Oh I love you and am SO happy for you! Seriously, God is so good. In the big things, in the small things. Thank you for sharing. Off to inquire about nancyray.com for the 50th time now … (ha!) Thanks for the inspiration friend. Praying blessings over you today!

  3. Blair Erickson

    Lara – I am so happy for you.This is exactly what I needed to read today to finally go after something I have been praying about for a while :) His plans never fail, is so right! Hope you have a great day with Grace and cherish the moments with her singing such beautiful words….AMAZING GRACE!

  4. Jasmine

    Oh.My.Goodness! This is such a brilliant post, I can just FEEL your joy by just reading it!! CONGRATULATIONS to you guys, can’t wait to see the new website and brand. As much as I love LaraCasey.com, I’m pretty sure I will have to have an ‘affair’ with the new SouthernWeddings.com… :))

  5. Sara

    This is amazing and gives me hope on so much that I’m waiting for – Congratulations Lara! You deserve this!

  6. Meredith

    Lara! I am thrilled to read of your courage, love and wisdom in God and within yourself. Congratulations on your new home and with your new found strength! I am so happy for you!! xo

  7. Lauren Carnes

    So much joy in this! What a blessing! Welcome “home!”

  8. Christina Leigh

    Sweet Lara! Words can not describe how happy I am for you and Southern Weddings. Happy that what you are doing in this industry is all to honor our amazing God. It’s all to shine light on a greater purpose. I love that you do things by seeking His will! I have happy tears for you today! Yea! Sending lots of love and big hug for your neck!
    xo Christina

  9. Kate

    Congratulations! The level of commitment and investment that you’ve had for this journey is evident as is your joy. Savor that joy! I’m very happy for you and your team. I’m currently navigating a very new branch of my career. It’s bumpy and scary and requires a lot of asking and waiting, but it’s a journey I am committed to taking. I am learning that when there is such uncertainty associated with a new venture each small step forward is much more meaningful. Hoping to continue to take those small steps forward each and every day.

  10. Emily H.

    Whew. I can’t even believe i’m saying this out loud- thats how much it scares me. But, I’ve been praying for MONTHS over a new job situation since my family moved with the Navy to Pensacola. I’m terrified what is in store for me- because of the unknown. But, Friday I got myself organized to actually blog regularly, and then yesterday I opened an etsy shop I’m working to fill with my hand-lettered artwork by the end of the week (!!!). If you knew my personality, youd know I plan things for MONTHS in advance and I’m super shy about sharing myself with strangers. God has most definitely been whispering this into my heart for a long time, and it became time to act. i’m slowly opening to the possibility that THAT is what God wants for my career, despite the fact that I just graduated from a graduate program for something almosy completely un related. In this wating, I’m seeing how he truly has molded me through things and in ways I could never fathom.

  11. Erin @ Blue-Eyed Brice

    Lara! This is excellent news! And GOOD NEWS! Full of truth and encouragement and Jesus. As someone who has read the iloveswmag.com blog since the beginning, and your wedding planning blog before that, I am so excited for you and your team! And Lisa Manning. Wow! What grace!! So happy for you all!!

  12. TWAH | STYLE ART LIFE

    So inspired by you & the ladies at SW in so many ways. Love your spirit to fight for what you believe in and to lay your heart on the line every time. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

  13. Melissa O

    So happy. So proud. So encouraged. Love you.

  14. Danielle

    ” I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see. And what I see is very good and I want to share it with the world.” I will never get old, seeing & knowing salvation for another brother or sister!! I still remember my sweet transformation, so its always a joy to hear the excitment of others & when they are so excited to be free…also it always helps me reflect & remember the true reason of our time on earth! My fear is asking for my hubby’s salvation, because of my past sin..feels contradictory. But i know i also need to spend time with God, to change my heart. Sin separates us from Him & so i feel like I was such a bad daighter that its hard to do or say things to hubby. And i know, my actions are more important then words. I just wanted to type it down,. Get it out. Thank you Lara for already moving mountains in peoples lives, marriages, friendships & relationships with God. I LOVE how He’s using you as a vessel to serve. So excited to see how the new website Lord willing-opens new doors eeeep!!

  15. Kylie

    EEEEEEEEK I am so happy for you I could jump up and down!!!! I know how much this meant to you and it brings me SO MUCH JOY to see you cross this bad boy off your list! Good gracious I love you so and can’t wait to see what glory southernweddings.com brings to brides to be and the start of their marriages! Continued prayers for you and the girls as y’all prepare to launch your shiny new website and V6! XO

  16. Taylor

    YES YES YES! I love this post. I have something similar I have been avoiding doing and this is a great reminder to seek God’s will and DO it! His plans won’t fail me. Thanks for this great reminder!

  17. Tabitha

    OH CONGRATS DEAR! So happy for you all, not just for the awesomeness of this blessing but for the entire journey that made you appreciate this moment like you said! I to have been waiting for my big prayer request and Our Good Lord has answered a resounding YES!! I am weeks away from becoming a full-time stay at home mom!!! God has busted down the door of our hearts (my husband and I) and has revealed where WE needed to change to make this work. It’s so much about what you said about praying that our hearts would transform to want what His will is for our lives. That is the secret! Praying for His will and His timing. It couldn’t be a sweeter time in our lives. I love hearing my husband say “I can’t wait for you to stay home with the girls” Words I thought he wouldn’t be saying this soon!! God is so good. Even in the waiting He was good. To everyone who’s waiting….God is bigger than your mountains! Ask Him to move those mountains in your life!!

  18. trent

    SO SO SO happy for you Lara. an inspiration that you kept listening to Him…and kept seeking. internet high fives coming from nyc to you!

  19. Rhiannon

    YES YES YES!!!! Singing along with you, ladies :)

  20. Lauren

    CONGRATULATIONS Lara! This has so obviously been sitting on your heart, and I’m so happy for you and the SW ladies! You are such a inspiration.

    We just got married this past weekend and the priest noted that in all of the readings we chose there was a theme of never failing, unconditional love. Your Love Never Fails print hangs in my home and it is such a beautiful reminder. Thank you for being you and sharing so much with all of us out here in “blogland”.

    • Lara

      Oh my stars! Congratulations on your marriage! I just read your sweet note to our whole office and we are all sending huge hugs!

  21. april walker

    oh this post makes me so happy & just blessed me today. i’m in the thick of that waiting… asking, seeking, & knocking for a husband. not just any husband, but the one that He has for me. this has been my dream my whole life, to be a wife & a mother, and at 30 & never having been in a relationship, some days the waiting is the hardest thing i’ve ever done, but i have no DOUBT that He hears & that life happens in the waiting. He’s stretched me & grown me by ways I didn’t think possible all the while that longing still lingers and I keep asking knowing one day He will fulfill that desire to be married & that it will glorify Him. thanks for the encouraging post today Lara & congrats on SOUTHERNWEDDINGS.COM. it just looks good one you :) blessings!

  22. Rachel May

    SO happy for you guys. I can feel the joy radiating over here!! <3

  23. Dee Shore

    I’m sitting at the gyms looker room waiting for my class to start, and I’m trying not to cry. What a beautiful blog! Its amazing when we accomplish such an incredible task. Its a true blessing. New motto: Ask. Seek. Knock. CONGRATULATIONS!

  24. em

    this inspired me like crazy today. God is the most amazing, even when I don’t even understand. so cool. Love your heart LC. xo

  25. Emily

    Completely blessed by you sweet friend! I am in the waiting season for a husband. God is using me big time in this single season to serve Him and I know each day is a chance to give HIM glory and to prepare myself to serve in marriage and mamma hood. He does have a plan and I SO appreciate your reminder that when we “ask, seek, knock” he is there..even if the answer is delayed, even when the answer is different than expect. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  26. Kia

    Amazing. Truly. Seriously. Lara, can I ask if you’re going to do MTH again out here in San Francisco. I have been praying on what to do with my business and although I feel like I am getting answers as I slowly drift to sleep I need to quickly put them in to action! God-sized dreams aren’t meant to be ignored.

    • Lara

      Sweet friend! I wish we were coming back to SF, but we’ve committed to just doing the MTH Conference here in NC from now on so we can stay closer to our families. We would love to have you join us one day!

  27. Zoe

    Today was a day where I really needed to remember never to stop looking at the door of hope. Thank you.

  28. Cammie/polka dotted peony

    You hit a home run with this post, lady. Thank you.

  29. Jenni Bailey

    This is so great for you!! I clearly remember all the times you have posted about asking for that and I’m glad it finally came to be. It’s especially encouraging for me since yesterday I had the opposite happen – forgot to update my email address with my domain registrar and didn’t remember to renew. Someone else got my domain literally just hours before I realized what had happened and it really does feel like they got a little piece of my identity along with it. Now I’m trying to brainstorm up a positive spin on it and make some lemonade from these lemons of mine today. :)

    • Lara

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear this, friend! I am praying for you! You will look back on this and see a great reason that it happened : )

  30. Liz

    Hi Lara: I am waiting right now – for a baby, for my dad to pass away from a horrible illness, for my creative career to flourish, for my husband and I to realize some big moves in our lives (professionally and personally), for my fears to be totally demolished, to be comfortable with myself. I know there are big, scary, uncomfortable changes on the horizon that need to happen in order for the comfort and growth to last. I was in a similar situation ten years ago and He gave me my husband, a marriage that is growing, and a heaping of patience which is being tested right now. This is a very encouraging blog post for me and I know how much this whole issue has meant to you. Congratulations and enjoy all the blessings that I am sure this new ‘home’ is going to bring you!!

    • Lara

      I am praying for you and your family so much, my friend. Oh so much. I love you, Liz!!!

    • Liz

      Thank you Lara – that has really made a big difference, even if you can’t see it!! :)

  31. Annie {little&ever}

    Congratulations Lara! Reading about this in your story, I can see how much it means to you. The photo of your running and smiling in the fields sums it all up perfectly! Annie x

  32. Sydnie

    That is such an amazing story and so wonderful that God is moving in your heart, marriage, family and business! I just love watching the Lord work in so many impossible ways to do things we can’t in our own strength. I was just introduced to your blog today and I know your inspiration and encouragement will bolster me as I start up my blog and writing career again. I just wish I’d known more about Southern Weddings! I got married a month ago and would have LOVED going through the posts to hear about other awesome love stories. I know that the Love Never Fails outlook will encourage and inspire me as we start life together. Thank you for being so bright and transparent in your posts. It encourages us to do the same.

  33. Katie @ A Place to Dwell

    Yay! What wonderful news! So happy to hear that, and I’m excited for your whole team as you continue to follow the Lord and bless your readers and followers. I love your faith and passion! I also want to let you know this post is such a blessing to me, Lara. I love the way you share so beautifully all God has done — and is doing in your life! It’s also so hopeful and encouraging to read of your persistence and faith. I just turned 30 last month, and I’m still asking, seeking, and knocking about a dream I believe the Lord has placed in my heart — the dream to be married and have a family. I often feel discouraged that I am still single, but I do believe that this desire is from the Lord, and I know I have to keep believing and trusting. I printed this post today, so I could tuck it in my journal. I want to keep it as a reminder that His plans never fail and that in our waiting during our journey, He changes us. I can already see that He’s been changing me, as I wait. Developing my creative passions and encouraging me to chase creative dreams. I’m getting ready to publish my first eBook next week, and I can’t wait. So, I’ll keep rejoicing in all He’s doing now, while continuing to ask, seek, and knock. I have to believe He WILL answer. :)

  34. Lisa Parker Lott

    Lara – I cannot explain to you what a blessing this post has been to me. I have to tell you this funny story, though:
    I’ve been a RELIGIOUS SW reader for about 2 years now (ever since I saw it sitting on an engaged friend’s coffee table) here in South Mississippi – and was engaged to my best friend in February of this year.

    Even throughout the wedding planning I faithfully checked my beloved swmag.com to get my daily dose of “happy” :)

    We set our date for September 28, 2013, and when we returned from our honeymoon one of the first things I checked was the website (devoted? yes :) ). When the old url was re-directed to the NEW url — I basically squealed out loudly and said “They got it!!!!!!”

    I’m so happy for all of you — thank you for capturing the beauty, grace, and faith of the South like none other. SW has been such a blessing and inspiration to me, more than you’ll ever know.

    Thank YOU, Lara. And thank you to your beautiful team =)

    • Lara

      Oh you are so kind, Lisa! Thank you for this encouraging note! : ) : )

  35. Step Inside the Southern Weddings Office! | Southern Weddings

    [...] ask them if they would let me interview them. And I kept asking. Here I am many years later, and I am still asking. What I do: Day-to-day, my activities include being on the phone, doing consulting for small [...]

  36. Sasha-Shae

    Absolutely LOVED this post Lara!! Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s amazing what Jesus can do for us if we trust in Him and follow His lead! Ask. Seek. Knock!! and most certainly pray! Thanks..I know feel encouraged to continue to wait to see what doors God will open for me, because He’s said, but I haven’t seen, but I do know, in His perfect timing, He always makes all things wonderful, and all things to give Him praise :)

    ~Shae

  37. Halfway through 2014, starting fresh | Chasing Dreams

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    [...] Thankfully, WithWonderPaper.com was free! So I scooped it up, along with the .net, .org, and .info sites, just to be safe, for a very minimal yearly fee. Even though I’m not ready to create a full-blown website, reserving the name for when I am ready to grow my business in that way is a good idea. Now, if and when the business grows, I won’t have to fight a custody battle almost over getting it. (Be sure to check out Lara Casey’s story about that here!) [...]