Like a Bride

“Are you all planned yet?”  

I’ve gotten that question a lot this week.  Our wedding is in three months.  If we had everything planned, the next few months would involve us simply twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the big day to arrive.  But we still have a lot to get done.  I mean, isn’t there always something to do to prepare, even minutes before the ceremony?

“It goes by fast.”

Any woman that has gotten married before has told me that.  Honestly, the months leading up to our wedding in November have felt like years.  But time to prepare is running out.  There’s a lot of prep work that goes into a wedding.  Just this week alone, I’ve had to figure out our father-daughter and mother-son songs, attempt find a florist, meet with a potential photographer, order bridesmaids dresses, search for wedding shoes, send secret messages through my fiancé about the bridal shower, and mail out invitations.  This week has been the most productive week of my wedding planning.  And there’s still so much more to complete!  The food and cake has to be finalized at the venue.  The music list has to be just right.  I can’t forget to find out who gets corsages and boutonnieres among our family members!  I still have to make phone calls, send e-mails, confirm appointments, try clothes on, answer a million questions, and somehow find time to hang out with my friends and family.

All this work, all this effort, for one day.

For one day out of my life, I will wear the title as “bride.”  I’ve waited for this moment since I was a little girl.  The women in my family told me that I would one day meet my Prince Charming, handsome and sweet, and that we would live happily ever after.  I was taught that I would be swept off my feet and made to feel like a princess.  The woman that has been happily married looks back on her wedding day and remembers feeling as beautiful as ever, standing next to the man that promised to walk alongside her for the rest of her life.  This day is described by society as the best day of one’s life.  The more we prepare, the better the day will be.

We have been preparing for this day since our three-month anniversary.

After a great day at the beach, out to dinner, and watching the sunset, we finished our date in his pool.  He had noticed that I was a bit jumpy the whole day.  I giggled and told him that I was afraid he was going to propose, but I wasn’t ready yet.  I mean, we had only been dating for three months!  We had barely had the chance to get to know each other!  I waved my hand as if brushing off the topic.  “Well, we have a long way to go before we get married anyway.  Just let me know when you want to talk about it.”  My boyfriend made a face like he was hiding something.  My heart dropped.  “What are you thinking?” I cautiously asked him.  He shifted his weight nervously.

“I was planning on asking you to marry me on our six-month anniversary.”  

Suddenly, after my boyfriend had made that statement, we began to take our relationship more seriously.  While he was preparing financially to buy me a ring, I was preparing my heart to accept it.  I sought out advice from people I know who are happily married, and I prayed long and hard about what to do.  We spent time with our families and friends in order to truly get to know each other even better.  My boyfriend and I were truly becoming a team.  Then, when I least expected it, he took me to a park we like to visit together and asked me to marry him.  Without a doubt in my mind, I accepted!  Since that day eight months ago, we have been planning, preparing and anxiously waiting for the day when we will be “Bride” and “Groom.”  All this planning, all this money, and all this work for one day.  For twenty-four hours.  And then it’s all over.  The highlight of our lives will flash before our eyes, never to be seen again.

Is that really what life is all about?

One of the ways that my fiancé and I have prepared for this wedding is to keep God in the center of it all.  We have realized that the wedding is just one day, but the marriage is for the rest of our lives.  So we have invested more time in our pre-marital counseling and our marriage Bible studies than we have in thinking about the centerpieces.  We pray before every appointment, every phone call, and every store run.  And every time, God shows up and speaks to us in ways that we didn’t even realize were possible.  Why do we do this, you ask?

Because our marriage will be a symbol of Christ’s relationship with the Church.

This is a beautiful message of hope for people who have just gotten married, are going to get married, have been married for years, or have loved ones who have just gotten married.  Throughout the Bible, the Church is described as the Bride of Christ.  We have the blessed opportunity to exemplify Christ in our marriages!  We can show the world the love and commitment of our Lord through our relationship with our bride or groom. Ever since I had learned this idea several years ago, I had thought this simply referred to Christ loving us unconditionally.  Just as a groom vows to love his bride, God declares that He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3) and that He will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5). In November, my fiance and I will make a commitment to love each other for the rest of our lives. But while driving to work one day, I realized that there was more to this relationship that I couldn’t have learned without being a future bride myself.  As I was sitting in traffic, the song “Even So Come” by Kristian Stanfill came on the radio.  The lyrics describe the Church being ready for Jesus to return to Earth.  After meditating on the words, it all made sense.

Just as we prepare for our wedding day, God calls us to prepare for His coming!

The Second Coming of Christ is a controversial topic in Christian theology.  Christians debate about the rapture, tribulation, and the antichrist.  Some people try to predict the day that the world will end.  While this topic is difficult to understand, it is a topic that brings us closer to God.  It is a topic where we have no choice to rely on God, because there is no way we can definitely know what is going to happen until Jesus comes back.  All we know is that there will be a wedding, a perfect reconciliation of Christ to His Bride, the Church.  Until then, we are called to prepare for what is to come.  What if we put as much effort into our wedding day than we put into even understanding His coming?  What if we read the Bible just as intently as we scroll through Pinterest looking at wedding dress models?  What if we prayed just as fervently as we wrote up our invite list?  What if we gave as much money to those in need that we do to venues, vendors, and gift recipients?  I mean, after all, if the wedding only lasts one day and we spend excessive amounts of time and money preparing, how much more should we be spending to prepare for our eternal life with Christ!   As I prepare for my wedding day in the upcoming three months, I pray that my relationship with my fiance will bring glory to God and will be an inspiration to others.  But we understand that our relationship is more than just a nice day at a fancy venue.  We want to work just as hard on our relationship with Christ as we work on our relationship with each other.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus warns His disciples through several stories to be ready for Him to come back to Earth.  Just as the wedding plans go by quickly, Jesus says that He will come when we don’t expect Him (Matthew 24:44).  Since we don’t know when Jesus is coming back, there is a sense of urgency to get ready soon!

So…are you all planned yet?

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