Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. That’s what I heard myself repeating over and over again last week to anyone who seemed interested enough to listen. I had faced a tough disappointment over something I had really, really wanted, something I had prayed hard about and asked God to give me. I had even thrown in the “if it’s in your will, Lord, let me get this thing that I want” and quite frankly, I didn’t want his will to be different than mine. I expected that with my natural ability with this particular thing, coupled with favor from God that there was no way I wasn’t going to get what I desperately thought would somehow make my life more fulfilled. It turns out that God actually had a different plan for me and the answer was a closed door smacked right in my face. Ouch. I mean, I realize I did ask him for his will to be done but there is nothing like not getting what you want to make the really immature, spoiled side of you come out. First I handled it like a champ, then I cried hysterically until I looked as if I had been on the losing end of a fist fight and then I just got incredibly, irrationally angry. So angry that when i got in the car I purposefully turned the station off of K-Love to another one. Honestly, you all, I must be so exhausting to the Lord when I let my flesh rise up in me so recklessly like that. To say I had a full blown hissy fit that afternoon would be a grave understatement. I grumbled and argued with the Lord for hours that night and was downright hateful to my entire family and strangers alike. NOT MY FINEST HOURS, for sure. When the dust settled from my cyclone of a tantrum, I sat alone in my bathroom floor and pleaded with the Lord. “Why Lord? Why do I have to always be the bridesmaid and never the bride?? Why couldn’t you give me this one thing that I really wanted just because…?” Something about the way the sentence rolled out of my mouth and into the air caused the air to seem stiff and uncertain, like the words didn’t belong out there in the atmosphere. But alas, I am a slow learner and quite stubborn when I am walking in the flesh, so I repeated that one phrase several times over the next couple of days when referencing the disappointment I had experienced. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Each time I said it, it stiffened the air around me just like it had in the solitude of my bathroom floor days earlier.
I will admit that the sting of rejection and disappointment almost took me under. My enemy-your enemy- would whisper words of self-hate and insecurities in my heart when the world was still and I was all alone. I was beginning to feel myself being swallowed up by the encompassing darkness that Satan can surround us with and I would become terrified that I would die in this condition. But one day, all of a sudden, and right on time, the Holy Spirit spoke directly to my heart. I was vacuuming my bedroom and I heard him almost audibly say, “Have you forgotten who you are? Have you forgotten whose you are?? You are a child of the King. I have given you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the powers of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19) It was a spiritual pep talk and just what I needed to remind myself of my worth. I have had a rather turbulent year and all of my grief has been within my own soul. Questioning my worth, devaluing myself and my God given talents, identifying with worldly possessions and titles rather than focusing on Heavenly gains. It has been a year of misery. I was suffering from what I like to call spiritual amnesia. I was walking around everyday, everything appeared to be okay on the outside but inside, I didn’t remember who I was….or whose I was. Most days I felt like something was missing, as I am sure people with amnesia do, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I needed to feel whole again. Thankfully, Jesus left the 99 to come rescue this one lost sheep and made me whole yet again.
I have been reflecting and praying with my whole heart this break and I have finally figured out why saying, “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” just didn’t feel right. At church this morning I heard the pastor reference what I have heard all my life. He said that the time was right and that one day soon Jesus would be back for his “bride”. We, the church, are his bride! Everyday with Jesus makes me a BRIDE! On the amazing days when things are going my way and especially on the days when God gives me answers that I don’t like! I realize that I prayed for God to do what was best for me, his beloved bride, and fully trusting the Lord means accepting “no” without fully understanding why. If I were him, I would have left my crazy, stubborn self years ago and wouldn’t have looked back but because of his great mercy and loving kindness he never, ever gives up on his bride.
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28