here comes the bride…

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:22-33.

bride

One morning last week, I was reading scriptures related to marriage and different things in that regard and of course Ephesians 5:22-33 stands out, right? Wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wives. Controversial to some maybe, but it makes sense to me.
I’m not naturally a very submissive person, honestly. I’m used to leading – whether that was nature or nurture is beside the point. God’s word says that I submit to Jesus and I submit to my husband; it’s a cross I have to learn to bear daily. Honestly, I want to bear it more than I actually bear it, but like the gardener prunes the vine, so the Lord is pruning me.

I had no idea while reading and meditating on this scripture though, just how much it would mean to me later that day.
For those who might not know, in just about 3 months, I myself will be walking down the aisle to commit myself to the holy covenant of marriage. I’m giddy excited about this, frequently happy-dancing about all things wedding that I’ve dreamed about for most of my life; most notably, the dress.

I’ve had my wedding dress for a while and I adore it. I feel amazing in it because it’s everything I’ve ever wanted to wear on my wedding day. However, it doesn’t fit even a little bit. It’s probably two sizes to big – but I found it on sale and bought it off the rack (I’m a bargain shopper at heart). Three months out from the wedding is as good-a-time as any to start getting it altered and fitted, and last week, I had my first dress fitting.

For the first time in months, not only did I get to put on my wedding dress, but I got to see glimpses of what it will look like once it fits. With every pin that was placed, it started to look more and more like I imagined… except I wasn’t imaging it anymore. This dress was on my body and there were mirrors everywhere. At the time, my mind was on the task at hand. I definitely relished in just loving the dress, but we talked a lot about how I wanted it to fit, be bustled, etc, etc. Much of the conversation was about the practical. It wasn’t until I got home and started talking with my fiancé about our days, which led to the scripture from earlier in the day came back to my mind. As we started to pray that night, I couldn’t believe what hit me.

“…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless…”

Through the sacrifice of His death, we are made sinless – okay, pretty much everybody knows that, right? The imagery used often in the Bible for this is the Bride of Christ, washed white as snow.
I am, we are the Bride of Christ. What He died for was our wedding to Him, and it’s through that commitment that we are saved and therefore ushered into the Kingdom of Heaven. Silly as it sounds, it reminds me of how when someone from a foreign country marries a US citizen, they are granted citizenship through that covenant of marriage. We are foreigners to the Kingdom from the Fall, but through our uniting to Christ in the new covenant, we are then made citizens of the Kingdom by default.
It’s about the wedding… it’s about what the Bridegroom did for His bride… what He gave up to present her as on that wedding day.

As my mind went back to that mirror, seeing myself as a bride, seeing the work going into what it takes to see the dress of my dreams be resulted to fit me just right, just perfectly… without stain or wrinkle… I was so blown away.

It’s not many people that get this opportunity, ladies, so if you ever have the opportunity to just sit and bask in the beauty of yourself in white (or ivory in my case) on your wedding day, I seriously encourage you to do so. Even if it’s not here yet or even if it passed many years ago… take a few moments to pause in your mind and realize that you are seen every moment of every day as radiant and perfect and stunningly beautiful but Jesus Christ. What we see of ourselves that day is what He sees always. It’s what He died to see, what He died to make you. And it’s how you will be in the Kingdom of Heaven when He finally comes for His bride.
It might seem cheesy or a far reach to say that I really saw myself the way God sees me just by seeing my dress all done up in pins and a few stitches, but I didn’t choose the image – He did. He calls us His bride. He chose pure, white, and without stain. Not me. I really think He wants it to be that way; He is a Groom of romance and wooing, of tenderness and sincerity, of awe and reverence. He takes joy in us the way a groom takes joy in his bride, loving us in the way that is always fresh and new and exciting.

So I will relish in every moment that I wear that dress, and carry that feeling with me for the rest of my life to remind me to always be thankful for a Savior who doesn’t just courageously and sacrificially save, but a Savior who passionately and furiously loves.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Faithfully guarded, remain behind
where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love and happiness
join you in faith as the happiest of couples.
Champion of youth, remain here!
Jewel of youth, remain here!
Flee now the splendows of the wedding feast,
may the delights of the heart be yours!
This sweet-smelling room, decked for love,
has now taken you, away from the splendour.
Faithfully guarded, remain behind
where the blessing of love shall preserve you!
Triumphant courage, love and happiness
join you in faith as the happiest of couples.

Here comes the bride dressed all in light
Radiant and lovely she shines in his sight
Gently she glides graceful as a dove
Meeting her bridegroom her eyes full of love.

Love have they waited long have they planned
Life goes before them opening her hand.

Asking god’s blessing as they begin
Life with new meaning, life shared as one
Entering God’s union, bowed before His throne
Promise each other to have and to hold.

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