May Bride

Oh, this blog of mine. Lady Grace. Perhaps no one reads it anymore, but I just felt the desire to come on here and spill out some of my thoughts. I was reading over some of my old posts and just marveling at God … where He’s brought me from and ways He’s grown me.

And prayers He’s answered.

Because, you see, I’m going to be a bride this May! Next month! In seventeen days, to be exact. ūüėČ

ring picture

It seems pretty surreal most times. In the middle of the busyness of wedding planning, I often stop short and think: Wait, is this really happening? I’m getting married? I get to be a wife?¬†And I proceed to get all giddy and breathless and just beautifully happy.

What a gift! There were times I wasn’t sure I would get married. What if it just never happened? I had to open up my hands and surrender this desire to God. And ask Him again and again to fill me up and lead me closer to His heart.

I also asked in faith for a godly husband and a home. If that was His will for me. And one year this strong feeling started growing in my heart. Something like: Prepare for marriage. Maybe I’ll see my love story start unfolding this year.

And to my shock, that was the year I met this man. My future husband.

Of course I didn’t know he was my future husband then. But deep down, I strongly suspected, haha. I met him through mutual friends at a Christian conference on missions. I didn’t think much about it then. I mean, I did notice him. First his tender heart and gentleness when I told him about searching for a church community. Then his love of reading – particularly the fantasy genre. The excitement in his eyes when we discussed one of the sermons at the conference. The way he worshipped. His humor and silliness.

C.R.O.S.S.19

But then, after four marvelous days at the conference, we all went our separate ways. He and I were miles and miles apart. I thought about him every so often and prayed. About seven months later, I stood in a friend’s wedding … and guess who was there?

Yes, that’s right. This tall, really handsome man who followed Jesus Christ, and loved books, and made me laugh, and listened so attentively. I started to fall in love. I went home after that vacation and prayed so much for and about this man who’d so thoroughly captured my attention. My family teased me a lot about how distracted I was. :p I went on lots of summer night walks with my three teen siblings, listening to NF and trying desperately to deal with my emotions, lol. I also went on many, many prayers walks … praying so deeply and passionately and trustingly. Crying and surrendering and waiting and hoping. I just couldn’t forget about him. Maybe … maybe God was doing something.

Another seven months or so. Did he ever think about me? ūüėČ I really had to let it go. But I also trusted it into my Father’s hands. If You want to do this, Lord, I know that You can and will.

Spring of 2020, I took a huge leap of faith and moved out of my family’s home to another state. I wrote a post about that, so if you follow this blog, you know. It was time. With a lot of prayer, and counsel, and what I felt like were confirmations from God, I felt very strongly that I was supposed to step into a new season of life. Join a tightly-knit church community. Make some friends my own age. All that. God provided so richly! Wow. It’s amazing to think about.

Even Then

I was totally folded into the young people’s group at my new church and I absolutely LOVED it. What sweet times of fellowship we had as brothers and sisters in Christ! Lots of disc-golf, kayaking, park days, volleyball, campfires, and growing together.

And yes, I was falling in love anew. There were some ups and downs, tears, restless nights, and lots and lots of prayers. Did he like me that way? Would we even be right for each other? I remember one morning driving to work, so distressed. And I just starting praying, surrendering this desire again into my Father’s hands: I surrender it! I don’t know if this is going to work out, Lord. I’m confused. But if it’s Your will, I know You will make it happen. So do it, Lord. Whatever is Your will. Do it for Your glory and for our good.

That felt like such a powerful moment for me. I let go. But my heart was burning, like it was just believing so much that God was at work and directing my life, even though I didn’t know exactly where He was taking me.

Matthew 7:7-11

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him

I asked God to open doors if He was leading me into this relationship. Oh, and it was only a couple days and He started opening doors. Things became pretty clear in the next few weeks. And then the beginning of June, with the blessing of spiritual mentors and family, I was in a dating relationship!

I have grown so much through this relationship. Realized things about myself. Weaknesses that I need to work on. Ways I react that aren’t helpful. Also, strengths I have. Ways that I am able to give.

I realized afresh how I do have a hard time trusting people and sharing my heart of hearts. What a precious thing to be able to start opening up to this special person. It was hard sometimes, too. Really, really hard. So vulnerable. And sometimes I felt very hurt. And so tempted to run away. Shut him out. Shut everybody out. I don’t want to trust anybody with my heart! It’s too scary! Will he be careful enough? What if he lets go? What if my heart breaks?

Loving is a risk. I started to understand that I was terrified of facing disappointment, or annoyance, or rejection from someone I’d entrusted my heart to. I imagined I couldn’t bear such a thing … my world would just crumble around me. I would shut down. And thus ruin everything.

But that is so wrong. My husband will not be my god, and he will not hold my world together. Even if I go through rough seasons of marriage and there is disappointment and frustration and distance, I will be okay. Why? Because as Christians we do not get our worth or our fulfillment from a spouse. I am a daughter of God, because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I am chosen, justified, blessed, called, and loved. And my life has been given purpose by the Lord Himself! My identity, my lasting joy and my security does not come from my spouse, but from my God. His perfect love should cast out all my fear and enable me to love my husband without reservations or conditions.

1 John 4:18-19

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Because I know that however someone choses to react to me, I am secure in my heavenly Father’s love.

So whether it’s my husband or my friend or my family –¬† their imperfect ways should not have power to crush my spirit. And if they do, then perhaps I’ve made them an idol in my heart. Perhaps I’m needing their love above God’s. Perhaps I fear them and give them power over me that isn’t healthy, that they wouldn’t even want!

Anyway, all that to say, I’m learning what it means to truly love. And I know I have so much more to learn!

I feel so weak and unprepared sometimes.

But I know that in Christ – drawing from His strength – I can do this well. I can live out marriage for His glory. I can be a godly wife and sweet blessing to my husband. I can learn how to love without holding back in fear. I can be a witness, and showcase Christ and the Church together with my husband. I can’t do this on my own strength, no. But yes, with my God, all things are possible!

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

He is bringing my dear love and me together for His glory and His purposes. I believe that! And it is such a sweet joy to think about how He is giving me to this man, and him to me.

January 9th, 2021, after seven months of dating, my boyfriend brought me on a winter wonderland walk. And out on a frozen pond, he knelt down and proposed to me. And I said yes!!! ‚̧ And now it’s down to seventeen days! A little over two weeks and we will make our vows before God and our family and friends, and become husband and wife! One flesh. This is a great mystery … but yes, the Lord designed marriage to reflect Christ and the Church. And it is glorious.

Ephesians 5:31-33

31¬†‚ÄúFor this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the¬†two shall become one flesh.‚Ä̬†32¬†This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.¬†33¬†Nevertheless¬†let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife¬†see¬†that she¬†respects¬†her¬†husband.

We have been reading The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller together, and it’s been so good. We also did pre-martial counseling with our much-loved pastor and his wife. And now we’ve been meeting with some married couples in the church and asking them questions about marriage. It has been awesome! We’ve gotten such profound insight, wise advice, and glimpses into marriages and the hard work as well as the very sweet joy of it. We’ve been exhorted to keep God at the center and minister to others as a couple.

I become more excited everyday. I think about the way my heart swells when we sit in church together under the preaching of the Word, and then worship our Savior. I think about the precious communion together with our God when we pray with each other. I think of all the times he’s prayed over me when I’m fighting through my depression and anxiety. I think about the joy it is to reach out to and visit with our church family as a couple. I think of the hard conversations that just melded our hearts closer. I think of the many, many deep talks, and sharing, and learning to trust, and growing in friendship. I think of the ways God is using us to sanctify, heal, bless, and grow each other. And just the butterflies in my stomach when I look into his eyes and know he loves me.

How sweet to be chosen this way.

Genesis 2:20-25

But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was¬†taken out of Man.‚ÄĚ

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

It is an honor to be the woman God has chosen for this man. It is a privilege to know God will use me in this man’s life to draw him to Himself and make him more like Christ. It is a beautiful joy to live out marriage as a witness of Christ to the world. It is a precious gift to be able to be a Christian wife and all that entails.

How sweet of the Father to grant this to us. May He enable us to do hard things, persevere, forgive, change, and sacrificially love. May our marriage radiantly glorify Him. May He use us as a couple in His kingdom work. May the blessing He’s poured out on us in turn bless those around us!

Okay, and can I just say again how excited I am to be a bride? And wear a white dress? And say my vows to this man, pledging myself to him? And exchange rings? And all the things?? Sometimes I feel like a princess, and I found my very own knight. ‚̧ It isn’t perfect and we aren’t perfect, but he is the one for me, and I am the one for him. For as long as we live. We see God’s hand in this. And it is beautiful. And good. And I love him. And I’m getting married. At last. Praise God for doing this! *all the happy praises and celebrations*

***

And they hope to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servants. Over the years you have lifted one another up to me. You sacrificed for one another. You held one another up with prayer and thanksgiving. You confronted each other. You rebuked each other. You hugged and you loved each other and continually pushed each other toward me. And now look at you. You’re radiant.”

Romance, sex, and plain fun are the by-products of this process of sanctification, refinement, glorification. Those things are important, but they can’t keep the marriage going through years and years of ordinary life. What keeps the marriage going is your commitment to your spouse’s holiness. You’re committed to his or her beauty. {…}

Now we can see how marriage-as-friendship agrees so well with love-as-commitment. On the cross, Jesus did not look down on us with a heart full of admiration and affection. He felt no “chemistry”.¬† But he gave himself. He put our needs ahead of his own; he sacrificed for us. But the Bible tells spouses not only to imitate the quality and manner of Christ’s love but also the goal of it. Jesus died not because we were lovely, but to make us lovely. – The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller [pgs. 134-135]

Advertisement

5 thoughts on “May Bride

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s