Saturday, August 22, 2015

Like a Bride

Joy. Anticipation. Happiness. Excitement. Love.

These were among my top emotions on my wedding day and the days and months leading up to it. Sure, stress was mixed in there every once in awhile along with some tears of frustration during the planning process, but mainly the emotions listed above. I remember my trip to the post office to buy stamps to send out invitations vividly. I told the woman helping me that I was buying them for my wedding, and I'll never forget her response:

"You don't looked stressed at all! Wow! I'm surprised."

I jokingly responded with, "My mom and nanny have got that part covered," but I still laugh when I think about my initial internal response. Oh no! Am I doing something wrong? Am I suppose to be stressed? What do I need to be stressed about? Does it count if I'm stressed about not being stressed?!

After I got to the car and attempted to sort my thoughts, it finally dawned on me to ask the Lord about it. I prayed, "Lord, I just love Brandon so much and I can't wait to marry him. The planning process can be a bit tedious, but when that happens I remind myself how wonderful it will be to be married to him and I get caught up in thinking about that. I've had multiple people now comment on stress, as if I'm not doing this whole 'prep for marriage thing' right if I'm not stressed about it. Are they right? Should I be stressed?"

Faithful and true to His word, the Holy Spirit reminded me, "Do not be anxious about anything, but with prayer and petition present your request to the Lord." Then, I was reminded of all the wonderful qualities of Brandon, all the ways he points me to Jesus, and that the purpose two believers' marriage is to show the world how Christ loves the church and how the church freely and joyfully serves Christ. So I breathed a huge sigh of relief and determined it was in fact O.K. that I was surprising people by my unstressed face.

It had been awhile since I thought about this (now funny, but in the moment very confusing) little encounter. Then I heard the song "Even So Come" by the Passion band with the words:

"Like a bride waiting for her groom, we'll be a church ready for You."

I couldn't sing along. I felt a knot in my throat. And I couldn't sing along. Because I know what it's like to be a bride waiting for her groom. I know the emotions you feel when you are excitingly anticipating that day. I know how you some days you almost seem to float, you are so full of joy. I know how you start holding your receipts and everything else you have to sign with your whole hand so someone will let you talk about the fact you are engaged and about to be married. I know what it's like to be consumed with thoughts only of marriage bliss.

I know all of these things, so I have a sinking feeling in my stomach and tears collecting ready to spill at any moment when I heard the words "we'll be a church ready for You."  

Recently, I have been getting very stressed very easily. If you looked at my thoughts, my words, my actions, my heart, my time, my money, my life, it would not look at all like a bride waiting for her groom. It would not look at all like I was ready for Jesus to come. Honestly, I've been longing for just about everything accept my King. And it is breaking my heart. 

So as I sit here with my stomach in knots, a knot in my throat, and a heart that feels like it is too hard and self consumed to ever long for Jesus, I can feel my Savior's love fall over. I can hear Jesus say, "I'm here. I love you. It's going to be O.K. You got distracted for a little while, but I never left you. I'm so glad I saved you. You won't even believe how we are going to advance My Father's kingdom together. His will on earth, as it is in heaven."

My prayer for you and me is that we may be filled with the Holy Spirit each day. May our hearts long for our king. May we be just like a bride waiting for her groom. May we be a church ready for Jesus.