Six years ago tomorrow, I wore the prettiest dress I’ve ever owned, carried Calla Lilies, held tight to my Daddy, and walked the worn green carpet down a long aisle to promise my best and worst and everything in between to Jason. I’d spent most of my teens and the greater part of my twenties single. And so the mirror image of me in all white was a little too much. Was this really me, getting married?
The single years had convinced me I’d probably not be married, at least this side of heaven. I’d gone hunting for marital bliss elsewhere…or rather Christ had done the hunting and I’d just found myself loved and nurtured even though my ring finger was bare. So when the surprising day of marrying an in the flesh human being came, we tried to celebrate in a way that reflected the greater union to come.
My bridesmaids carried oil lamps instead of flowers and friends wore native dress and read the LOVE chapter in languages to match. My roommate stood to read Cantonese and I was covered in tears. My brother in law sang, “Abide with me” and who couldn’t long for the day when, ‘Heaven’s morning breaks and earth’s vain shadows flee.’ All this love, all these people, all these voices…this was all just an image and shadow of the great celebration for which we’re all waiting.
Six years, three moves, five pregnancies, three children (and one coming, Lord willing), and countless other changes later, all the up and down can blur my memory. I forget this is my second marriage. But isn’t that what I promised him?
- How can I love him if I haven’t first been loved by Christ?
- How can I serve him if I haven’t humbled myself to let Christ wash my feet?
- How can I wait on him when I haven’t taken time to wait with Christ?
- How will I submit to his leading if I can’t bow the knee and accept Christ’s direction?
- How can I own the gentle, quiet spirit I promised if I don’t let Christ gently touch and quiet me?
These vows are only possible for the one that’s already betrothed, already kissed and nurtured, already loved and served. These vows of radical service and commitment are for the heart that’s heard (and believes!) the astounding promises of ‘yes’ in Christ.
So, Jason, today, I pray our marriage would be and stay second. That we’d both find all our needs met in Christ and then daily find one another as the surprise and blessing we discovered six years ago. I get Christ and you? Let me never stop believing that it’s just too much to believe.
And for all of us I pray we’d consider ourselves wed to Christ, that we’d believe the mystery, let Him dress us in beauty, and be surprised by all He is as husband to us.
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