Friday, February 13, 2009

The Bride

After all these years, I have learned how to be a bride. I've thrown aside the former child bride who constantly sought affirmation of her beauty and her worth. Instead of standing before my husband like a delicate china bowl in need of filling, I now pour myself out over him. Where I once listened for the pretty words that told me I was loved, I now speak for myself.

The vulnerability of the young girl remains but it is not that born of need but of trust. Wedding gown and veil are replaced by bathrobe and pony tail now. Yes, my life is wholly in his hands. I am whole within myself now and have learned that speaking life is what draws a hedge of protection around us, not speaking death and fear.
This is the purpose of marriage, to teach us in flesh what was already real in spirit. That we are the bride of Christ. The wedding of earth is a reflection of the divine, not the other way around. The bride doesn't come limping to the altar begging, "Give me a veil, pick me a bouquet, tell me how you love me." No, the bride prepares herself with carefully chosen garments and closely studied words to present herself to her groom whole and beautiful. The bride is a picture of confidence standing with head held high not to be reassured that she is treasured but to show her husband that he is worth her very best. Her vows are meant to speak the truth of her love. She is at the altar to present herself to her groom. She does not wait in a back room wondering why he has not come to find her but she marches up the aisle to take her place beside him.

The bride stands in utter joy, her back turned to her family and friends with her arm entwined with her groom's facing God to say that this is the course she has chosen for her life. Needing only to be his bride, she will always see God before her.

The other night I got into bed and said my evening prayer, "I love you." That was the first time I remember such a short conversation with God. No needs to present or praise to specify, just I love you.

Sometimes I have to say what I need, and I know it is important to speak with clarity instead of daring my husband to figure it out. "I'm unhappy, guess why?" Usually that means I don't know myself but like a petulant child, I want someone else to take my sadness away. When I talk to God I pour myself out with honesty and ask him to help me be more honest yet and so when it is time to speak of needs, I let the divine marriage be my guide. There are times that I need to praise and those times too must be spoken aloud. I tell God of my joy, my gratitude and that he is everything, enough and all to me. This too teaches me how to speak life into my husband's ear. Somehow the balance of need and praise strengthen me just in the speaking of it.

Why do I tell God my needs? Why do I praise him? Can there be a parallel in the flesh?

I've learned to be a bride, knowing that Christ set the example that while one falls, the other is willing to redeem the fallen through their own pain. I've learned that the foundation of praise convinces me that he is able to meet my needs. I've learned that the wedding isn't about me being admired but that I stand before the world sending the message that this man is worthy of my very best because it is he who is to be admired.

I've learned to say I love you before falling asleep.

And when Christ says it back, I cannot hear it aloud but it resonates through my spirit.

I have learned to hear "I love you" as the only truth that matters.

Isaiah 61:10 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, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

1 comment:

Constance said...

This is a beautiful post! I remember limping to the altar to marry Dave. I had so much insecurity within me from my dysfunctional past and I never saw myself the way God sees me. Fast forward all these years later and while I don't have it altogether yet, the joy is in the journey. HE is worthy and I often lose sight of that!