It was the most beautiful day of my life thus far. I can say it without hesitation.
On a perfectly warm September afternoon in Colorado Springs, I said yes to the man I will love forever. Surrounded by the romantic melodies of jazz and the sweet laughter of friends and family, we danced and kissed and worshiped in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. And as the last note of “How Great Thou Art” faded into the starry night, we held hands and drove off together, not just as best friends, but now as husband and wife.
So many weeks it took to make this one day a reality. And it wasn’t just the months before the wedding, it was years.
In all reality, I had been planning this day my whole life. What girl doesn’t? From the moment I was five, I dreamed about getting married to my prince with sparkling eyes and a genuine smile. He would love God, adore kids and enjoy being the man of my dreams. We would raise a home full of darling children, grow old together and live happily ever after. I lived for that day!
From the time I was 12, I prayed for this man who would be mine. I prayed for his protection, for the purity of his heart and for him to fall more in love with Jesus every day. As the years passed by, I wrote letters to the boy I longed to meet and imagined what his name would be. I wondered where he was from and what his family was like. I was determined to wait for him, and therefore, no one else could ever compare to the guy I knew was coming. And no one else could steal my heart.
And then, there he was. The best friend I have ever had. From the first moment I met him, something came alive in me. I was falling in love with the one God had chosen for me, and it was so much better than I could’ve ever imagined in my 12 year-old brain.
Then our wedding came. I walked down the isle, made promises sealed with a covenant, and kissed him for the first time. Just like so many brides, it was a day I will never forget.
But is every day of my life a reflection of that beautiful day? Marriage is more than just one day. It is a lifetime of days. But most importantly, it is the mirror we look into to understand our marriage as the bride of Christ.
What is the point of pouring hours and dollars into making one day perfect, if we neglect to put just as much effort, time and sacrifice into making a marriage that glorifies God?
We as people tend to live for those short moments or bursts of excitement. For that one rush of adrenaline. For that one magical minute of fairytale love. Or for others, that one radical experience with our Creator. But do every day of our lives represent those moments well? We await that one important event and we run for the future. Or we remember that one moment filled with emotion and we dwell in the past. I’m just as guilty of this as any other.
But what about now? What about today?
Why can’t we live our entire lives desperately in love? Why can’t every day be an opportunity for beauty? Why can’t every moment be filled with passion for Jesus? Why do we need to wait for a wedding or a missions trip before we can be passionate about the things that matter? We need to stop apologizing for being passionate people.
We need to stop expecting love to die, religion to grow old, and life to tarnish.
If God’s love never fails, why do we expect that to change when it’s inside of us? Do we somehow think that His love becomes instantly spoiled when it’s mixed with our imperfections and shortcomings?
The truth is that we aren’t inadequate and insufficient as the world (and even the church) has lead us to believe. If God says that He has graced us with all we need to have all sufficiency in all things, so that we may abound to every good work (2 Cor. 9:8), why do we anticipate failure? Why does failure have as much certainty as our next breath? We will fail sometimes. And when we do, God will be there to pull us into His arms. But our mindset should not be one of defeat, but of the hope of the amazing things our Father has in store for us.
When two people in love are looking forward to their wedding day, we tell them that marriage is hard and miserable and full of pain. That this is what they have to look forward to. When a married couple is about to bring a child into this world, we tell them that their days of freedom, sleep and sanity are over. God gave us these things to cherish. He created family to be beautiful.
I see marriages that are crumbling over a weak foundation, but I also see many couples who have braved decades of anniversaries and are still deeply in love and the best of friends. I choose to believe that a marriage like that is still possible. It isn’t old fashioned and it’s less of a rarity than you think.
No, life isn’t perfect. Sometimes, it can be really messy. Mistakes happen, and there will always be hard days; sometimes really hard days. I’m not pretending that I know what you have been through or what you are facing. But I do know that His mercy is new every morning. His love lives inside of us! That unchanging, unconditional, unfailing love empowers us to overflow with beautiful moments! We don’t have to live for sparse, fleeting minutes of happiness. We can look forward to every day because every day is a day that our Father has made for us to rejoice and be glad! Even in the midst of our chaotic lives, He is good and His love endures forever.
Almost three months have passed.
My wedding flowers are wilted and dry. Our families are back safe in their homes on the east coast. The food is gone and the music has faded. That day, no matter how beautiful it was, is just a distant memory. But my love grows deeper for this man God has given me.
And I choose to believe that this love will become more beautiful with every sunrise. Because that’s just who God is.