There was nothing except excitement and love swelling within me that could not be contained. The church was huge, ornate, and movie worthy gorgeous. My church from birth hid our lack of money and lack of decorating in its every day stunning beauty. Something borrowed was my white designer wedding dress. One of my very best friends was married two months before me and graciously offered for me to wear the dress I could not afford. But from the outside, I was the bride beaming for my groom.
The opening of the huge sanctuary doors demanded the audience to their feet. The wedding march boomed from the organ pipes.
One step. I was twenty one years young and ready to wear a bikini on our Bahamas honeymoon.
Slow step. My groom was rushing me to the ER, praying over my convulsing body.
The bride stepped closer to my groom. And there was a toddler running around my feet. I am distracted and tired but I smile up at her Daddy.
Slowly, my white heel takes another step toward my love. I am yelling and frustrated and angry. He knows my sin and I know his. But I chose him now and he takes all of me.
My white dress follows behind. The crowd stares and admires. My body has new scars. My hair has gray streaks. Our daughter is about to take her own walk. Her Daddy has been the finest example and now he will walk her to her own groom.
I smile as I near my groom, one intentional step down the isle. I am faded and gray now. My body wrinkled and old. But I take my husband’s hand and I know now the deep love of the wedding vows.
My final step and I am face to face with my groom. We smile into each other’s eyes. It goes beyond the perfection of our young bodies. It is deeper than the moment of young love and a honeymoon vacation. We vow to love when it hurts. We promise to chose each other when we don’t want to. We make a covenant to always protect and always serve. And with our wedding vows, we are now one. One life. One body. One love.
In my life, I have walked halfway down that church isle. When I look back, I see a much different girl that started that walk. And when I look forward, a much different girl will finish it. While things have changed, for better and for worse. With each step I take, I love my groom even more. When those doors first boomed open, I thought I could never love more than this. However, lessons have been learned and promises have been lived and love is so much more than a wedding. Love is life.
Each day, I take a slow step forward and each step our lives change. But each step I take toward my groom and my promise of only him. And I now believe this life is our wedding ceremony. Our home is our covenant. We are standing and proclaiming our vows to the world. Our love is rings exchanged.
But when we turn and face the crowd and when the pastor announceds Mr. and Mrs., we will run down that isle and the real honeymoon will be in heaven.
Because that is what God calls us to. To help each other on that way. In sickness and in health, for better, and for worse, we present the lives we led and the one that we became together. Encourage. Strengthen. Forgive. Serve. And most importantly, love.
And one day, I will turn to the perfect bride groom and the life before us will be perfect eternity. I will be stunningly gorgeous forever. All my vows will be of tears wiped away and life beyond comprehension. My last tear of joyous disbelief will be lovingly wiped away, as my perfect groom admires me, and before all the hosts of heaven, I will proudly proclaim, “I do.”