"I do."

"You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace." (Song of Soloman 4:9)

Jesus chose to describe Himself as a bridegroom, the Church as His bride. That thought has always captivated me. I've only been to a ridiculously few weddings in my life, so I'm no expert. But my heart goes crazy picturing our wedding with Christ. See, there's a few things about that image that I love.
My friend April told me that the most important thing I should to do at any wedding is to take special note of the groom. You know? He stands there with fresh rose pinned on his suit just right, nervous as all get-out, rocking back and forth heel-to-toe, looking down at the ground, smiling while grinding his teeth. He remembers life behind him, and he thinks of the life ahead of him. He is eaten away with thoughts...  And then she comes. Everyone turns around to see the glowing angel that is his bride. And have you noticed? Have you ever watched the groom? He stops rocking. He stops grinding his teeth. And his whole body melts into a smile. He is mesmerized by the beauty of his bride.

I can't wait to see my Savior's face. I can't wait to know how His eyes sparkle when He sees His bride, His church. His people that He Himself cleaned and clothed in beautiful garments white as snow. NOT that we are beautiful enough to deserve it. But that He sees us as a perfect bride.

I also think of the weight of marriage. I've never experienced it, obviously, so I don't know.  But I just think about what kind of promise you're really making when you say "I do."  You're promising to live faithfully with one person for a lifetime. You're promising to work together in sickness, health, bad economies, forgotten birthdays, demon children, burnt meatloaf, etc. You're giving your life to another person!

If (some) humans can take that commitment seriously, how much more so will our perfect Father in heaven?  When He claims the church as His bride, He's saying He loves us so much that He is willing to go through anything with us and for us. That He wants us for eternity, and that He will be always faithful. And He is. 

Here's the part I don't understand... There's one more thing I notice about a wedding. It's all about the woman (well, maybe that's not just the wedding). But it is. She gets to plan how she wants it to go, who's in it, what dress she'll spend a small fortune on.  What invitations to print, what music to play, what hors d'oeuvres to serve, on and on.  All the guests dote on the bride and say how pretty she is, and they congratulate her!  The groom hears a lot of "how'd you get that lucky?" and "you don't know what you've gotten into." haha. But again, when the groom sees his bride turn the corner to start down the aisle, he doesn't care. He is overcome by her beauty and his desire to spend his life with her.

Again, I don't understand it.  But I think it's the same way with us and our Savior.  We are an ENORMOUSLY UNWORTHY people, but He gives us all of Himself. And it's not about us, I'm not saying that. He wouldn't say that either. This life is about HIS story and HIS power and HIS glory. But the plot of that Story is all about His love for us. He is jealous for us.

What is our response? 
We start the planning. We get the invitations out to others. 
We start looking heavenward with hope! He's coming quickly! I pray that the wedding is TONIGHT.
I don't know about you, but I'm wearing tennis shoes under my gown. Because when He comes, He'll sweep me up in His arms, and then we'll run off together, hand in hand. Forever.  

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life... He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:17,20)


This is better than Christmas, people.

"Your will above all else, my purpose remains the art of losing myself in bringing You praise."

I think a lot of times I lose my purpose in God because I forget who HE is.  This is God Almighty: (get ready for your brain to hurt)

My God took what was nothing, an infinite black canvas, and gathered, shaped, and formed life itself.  He arranged a universe easier than I can arrange my closet.  Creating molecular chemistry and quantum physics was like fingerpainting.  He made a world that would sustain itself and creatures that would work together for life.  And He said that was good and all. But.

You know how most of us women dream of having kids?  Why?  Not to poop and scream and marker the walls.  Because we want a soul to lavish in love.  A little piece of ourselves to nurture and watch grow.  I believe (you can call me wrong) that is exactly why God created us.  His very essence is love.  I believe He literally couldn't exist any longer until He had something to pour that love all over. He could have created zombies to worship Him, but I believe He created man just so He could love us and be our Father.

As if that wasn't enough, He created an Eden for us, an absolute paradise.  And from the beginning, we blew it.  We blow it now.  We destroy our own relationship with the God of love and with our shot at paradise.  That is so stupid. But we think we know better.  God can't be with sin because He is just.  If we want Him back, we have to find a sacrifice big enough to cover ALL our crap.   There goes our shot.  We're without God, we're goners. 

PRAISE GOD.  He couldn't live without us.  He would do anything to have our relationship back, because HE WANTS US.  He proved with His blood that He would rather die a shameful death than go through life without us. Because of His great love for us, we are not consumed.  He sent a Messiah, a piece of Himself, His very Son to be rejected, ridiculed, beaten, and murdered for our sake.  And it's that simple.  He's won us back! God, infinite in knowledge, chooses to forget every single sin when we choose to give Him our lives. 

God the Father.  Our guide.  Our Rock and Shield. 
Jesus the Son.  Our living example.  Our Savior.  Our Way.
The Holy Spirit.  Our gift of God Himself.  Our breath.  Our blood. 

All loving, all just, all powerful, all knowing, all pure. ALL LOVE. This is our God. 

Why do we think this story is too complicated to share?  Why do we act like it's a burden, a responsibility, a binding job? Why are we stinkin' scared? This is our story of life!

Our hearts have to respond.  We have to move our feet and open our mouths. We have to praise.  If we don't the rocks will!

"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father- to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." Rev. 1:5-6