I’ve always believed God wanted me to be a bride, but I could never see myself as one. I’ve never really been a bride even though I walked down the isle in a long, white gown forty-two years ago. After a year of dating and a summer of living together, I made it clear to my boyfriend that we were either going to be married or I was leaving. Billy said, “Fine, you pick the month, and I’ll pick the day.”
I picked September because it was August at the time. He selected the 31st, and I was thrilled that he remembered that we had met on the last day of September. I said with surprise, “You remembered!”
He quickly proceeded to recite, “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November….” I cried and told him I wouldn’t marry him if he were the last man on earth. He felt guilty and told me to pick the day. I opted for the 15th and down the isle we went.
Twenty-nine Septembers later, I left a marriage that was never meant to be. I thank God for my son and granddaughters that came from my marriage, but I realized early on that I was not, and never would be, a bride. I missed my chance to be a beloved bride, so I put my fairy tale dreams away.
My idea of a bride came from the perfect princesses of childhood stories. I never imaged a bride could be broken until this morning when God made it clear that His bride is a broken one. The church is described as the bride of Christ or His body to emphasize oneness with Him. Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit are One; Christ died so we could also become one, as well. Husbands and wives join together in a unique and beautiful union, so Christ used the powerful metaphor to make His point about the power of love to unite.
God knows I am not perfect, but He never expected me to be. He knows His bride is broken; it’s why He sent His perfect Groom. The church isn’t perfect by any means, and neither are the individuals that make up the body of Christ. Christ finds belovedness where the world sees brokenness. It’s the biggest difference between God’s way and the way of the world. I’ve always seen myself as damaged goods; perhaps that’s why I could never see the beloved bride He created me to be. The use of bride to describe is not about an earthly marriage; it is about my relationship with Him.
A bride loves her groom with abandon and cannot wait to be with him. A groom cherishes his beloved bride more than anything or anyone else. That sometimes changes after the wedding; but before the ceremony, there is an air of exhilarating expectancy in both the bride and the groom. The difference with Christ and His bride is that expectancy becomes eternal exhilaration when they are joined together.
I cannot begin to imagine how wonderful eternity with God is going to be, but I get a sweet taste of it while I wait and prepare my heart to meet Him. Before I can begin to wait, I must first see myself as His beautiful, beloved, broken bride. With the help of His Holy Spirit, I caught a glimpse of that bride in me this morning.
An earthy bride wants everything to be perfect for her special day, but Christ’s bride understands that brokenness prepares the heart for the perfection God will provide when we are finally in His presence and filled with His Son’s precious love.