What It Takes to be a Bride

All the wedding bells are ringing this year and I LOVE it. In 17 days mine will be heard (!!!!). Several people I know have recently gotten engaged and entered the throes of wedding planning, and it is so fun to share with friends this unique gift of a season. It's hard to believe we've gotten to that age where our timelines can't even keep up with all the engagements and weddings. But the beauty of it is unmatched so I never want them to stop.

Throughout my own experience, however, I have noticed the tendency to have incredibly high expectations for what it means to be a "bride". Primarily, we draw from the experiences we see on television and in movies; forgetting that reality sets a budget, nothing is free, people do not drop everything at your beck and call, and work is a very necessary component of pulling off a wedding. It isn't all the glitz, glam and magic most of us assume. 

Here is what I have learned as a bride - it is hard. There are very few things that are easy, and there are some things that make you question whether it is all worth it. After a while, the courthouse doesn't sound like such a bad idea anymore.

But I've seen when our two eyes are fixed on the one waiting for us at the end of the aisle, everything else becomes peripheral. 

As I've sat and pondered this season of my life, I have been overwhelmed by the greatness of Jesus Christ. I am left in awe yet again by how He manages to give us just another glimpse of Who He is and how He has called us to be His own. I entered this season expecting only to be flooded with this new perspective of marriage, however was wrought with an overwhelming shift towards the profound and distinct parallels between being a bride and the Bride of Christ. 

The Bible refers to the universal Church in various ways - the most significant metaphors being the Body of Christ, the Building of Christ, and the Bride of Christ. Oftentimes, when we exegete these doctrines we are examining the supremacy Jesus has over us, His indwelling within us, and the intimacy He desires to have between us. We study the Head, the Cornerstone, and the Bridegroom. Let's turn the tables, however, and look at our position as 'bride' in this "already-not yet" kingdom. One where, Jesus has already come to betroth us, yet we wait in eager anticipation for when He comes to marry us. 

This betrothal season for the Church is not an easy one. It's broadcasted everyday for us to witness, prompting the all too familiar question of whether the gospel, this side of Heaven, is actually worth it. There is tension among brothers, quarreling between sisters, and here we stand in disbelief, arms in the air, eyes wide open to heaven wondering if there will ever be peace, reconciliation, and understanding.

We are tired. 

Tired of the mess we are in. Tired of cultural Christianity. Tired of politics. Tired of deciding what camp we land in on this modern day issue. Tired of trying to fit in where we don't belong.

We are so tired. 

It is written all over our faces. 

Much like the engagement season we experience on earth, toward the end we just get tired and succumb to whatever is placed in front of us. Jam or mints? Three tables or two? Chicken or beef? Whatever is easiest, simplest, looks the best. The courthouse in comparison to all these seemingly insignificant decisions sounds so easy. 

Church, we cannot yield to the posture of indifference or tolerance. The pressures of this world are real, but the days are short. The in between period of our salvation and our consummation is not meant to be a waiting game, and our forward hope is not found in neglecting the present darkness. This isn't a courthouse wedding that excuses us from participating in the nitty gritty of following Jesus. We are invited into a holy union with Christ, where we are able to know Him intimately and passionately, yet are called to sink knee deep into the trenches of unpopularity, sacrifice, risk, and sometimes alienation. This position we have been called into is high and the ground in which we take for its sake is holy. 

It is one where we long to see our Bridgegroom face-to-face and feast with Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb. 

One where we prepare ourselves by being washed by the Spirit of God, and adorned with Holy Scripture. 

Where we seek to know Him more and commune in an effortless rhythm.

Where we tirelessly work to build His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. 

This engagement season for Mitchell and I has been so sweet, so rich in various ways, but it certainly has been exhausting. New jobs, a new home, new city, planning the wedding, and preparing for a lifetime together. It's overwhelming when we face exactly what we are entering into - the enormity of it all can leave you speechless. Just the thought of seeing Mitchell stand at the altar as I walk down to meet him could bring tears to my eyes if I dwell on it long enough. For the Church, the Bride of Christ, following Jesus is hard. It is exhausting at times, and for most of us we will not see the fruit of our labor until the Day of the Lord. But I have no doubt, it will be undeniably worth it, because it is He who stands at the end of the aisle. 

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." - Matt. 11:28-30, MSG. 

Lizzie Conner