“I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
This week’s chapter in Heartbreakingly Beautiful belongs to Beth’s Daddy. He was able to lead her to the threshold of her Eternal Home and take her down the aisle to hand her to her Bridegroom Jesus.
Our wonderful son is recently engaged to be married and so weddings are on my mind quite a bit at the moment. Oh how our Beth dreamed of being a bride one day! I grieve that I will not see the fulfillment of this dream here on earth. But the Lord has comforted my heart through His Word, yet again, in this matter too. Our Beth is not going to miss out on being a bride – no way! Bible teacher Beth Moore teaches us more about what it means to be the Bride of Christ in her powerful Bible Study, Breaking Free. She comments that every little girl has at least four dreams and I tend to agree with her because they are the same dreams I had as a little girl, and they are the same dreams that Beth and my other girls share:
(1) To be a bride; (2) To be beautiful; (3) To be fruitful (which we usually define as having children); (4) To live happily ever after. Pretty basic hey! (The dreams little boys have tend to be more along the lines of being warriors and saving the princesses – but you get the picture J)
If we capture the truth in our imaginations that we are eternally youthful, beautiful, fresh, fruitful brides in Christ’s eyes, everything changes! This is the very thing the enemy of our souls does not want us to understand. If we grasp this fact, then we will live life differently. We will live our lives with great expectation and spend it in preparing ourselves to be ready to meet the One our hearts truly long for: Jesus Christ face-to-face, embrace-to-embrace.
This week’s Bible passage in Revelation is one that shows us that all these bridal dreams will be met in Christ. And what amazing things our Bridegroom has in store for His beloved bride! He even comes to rescue us on a white horse! (See Revelation 19:11.) Hey, where do you think they get the raw material from for all those fairy tales if not from the resounding echo of the true story and the aching eternity in our hearts? Friends, it is planted deep within us – ALL of us long for ‘happily ever after’ and to live in the realm of great beauty and perfection – loved, cherished and fruitful forever! Yes, thank you Lord that all of Bethany Joy’s dreams, and mine, will be fulfilled in greater measure than we can currently see.
David and I have just celebrated 25 years of marriage and we are so grateful for the rich blessing of our union. We are fortunate to say that we have a ‘good’ marriage. Not perfect, but very good. But through all that has happened, even our very good marriage is not enough to satisfy and take away all the pain. I am not being ungrateful here. I am just saying that if you currently desire to be in a marriage relationship, or are living with a difficult one, it is easy to think that all of life’s problems will be solved through a good marriage. However, if you do venture down that path, then you are in for a disappointment. Remember, all good marriages are a mere reflection of the real one – that between Christ and all who love Him.
So in the midst of all life situations, we would be wise to keep our hearts pure, waiting in wonder for the consummation of our eternal union with Jesus Christ. It is only by placing ourselves under His cleansing blood that all our filth can be covered. In Him, we can indeed BE Pure, Radiant and Joyful Brides – a reality we can live in right now, even while we wait.
To finish, here is a bit more biblical bridal imagery for you to ponder this week…
“The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace!” Psalm 45:13-15
The Parable of the Ten Virgins:
Songs to encourage you:
Come Away With Me by Jesus Culture
Coming To Take You Away by Kerrie Roberts
Beloved by Kari Jobe
Walking Her Home by Mark Schultz
As a young teenager, Bethany came to love the songs of Mark Schultz, a talented American songwriter. Mark’s songs weave poignant, inspirational stories that tend to bring a lump to the throat of even the bravest warrior! Beth’s favorite song was called Walking Her Home. It speaks of the beauty of an earthly marriage and much more. I realized that Beth understood the song’s significance when we were traveling in the car one day, just before she fell ill. I turned around to see her sitting in the back seat listening to this song with tears streaming down her face. Little did she know then that she would soon meet her beloved Jesus and need Daddy to walk her Home.
A book to build you up:
His Princess Bride by Sheri Rose Shepherd
A little more inspiration:
In the weeks after the Christmas of 2010, we read aloud to Beth from her ‘life journal’. This was a little notebook where I had recorded all of her significant life events, including lots of funny things she had said and done. I had intended to give her this keepsake on the day she left home to start her own family. Now instead, David and I read it to her to help prepare her for her real departing and Homecoming. It was a painful experience, but the exercise also brought a lot of laughs as we remembered our funny, outgoing ‘Bethy to the Max’!
The other children were usually with us as we read and we are so grateful that we had the opportunity to remember the good times together in this way. After advice from the doctors that her hearing was not yet affected by the disease and by witnessing small responses from her, we were confident that Beth heard all the love we spoke into her life during this time. She was loved and knew she was loved – what a gift! Maybe you could think about recording significant life events for you and your loved ones in some way. Journaling works well for me, but maybe music, photos, video or arts and crafts are your thing? Ask the Lord to help you create records of special memories in ways that are not burdensome to you. It is important to be able to recall and enjoy all He has done while blessing others in the process!