14 days. 14 days until I am a wife. It feels as if it came out of nowhere, yet simultaneously has taken all too long to arrive. Nevertheless it’s coming, and it will happen, ready or not.
At the end of last year, I purposed myself to be more present in my life, more intentional with who I interact with, how I use the time we’re all given, and that’s lead to less screen time and more book and coffee and people before me time. It’s been confronting (am I really this prone to silence?) and beautiful ( so this is who I am, with everything else all peeled away.) I’m burrowing through book after book, discovering the likes of Brené Brown, Chimamanda Adichie, Timothy Keller and so on. I’m discovering myself within books again, which is it’s own sort of beautiful.
This morning before work, I sat and continued reading through Brené Brown’s “The gifts of Imperfection”, and my “coming home” moment occurred thanks to the help of one quote from Terri St. Cloud that Brené gently nestled within her writing. Do you know that feeling, when someone gives words to the feelings you’ve been experiencing all and the things you’ve been learning for the last little while? This was my moment.
You see, there’s nothing like preparing for a marriage that unravels all your neatly wound compartments of life experiences, world views, beliefs, dreams and opinions. I’m not talking about wedding preparations: picking flowers or party songs or wedding favours. I speak of the daily work of learning to be honest, of practicing patience with yourself and another person, of forgiving and learning to honour your emotions as a woman. It’s deeply rewarding and painfully revealing all within the same moment. In the past 10 months I’ve wept loudly and silently on countless occasions- with Evert holding me or over my breakfast as I sat quietly alone. In preparation for a beautifully imperfect future, I have chosen to look back to see my beautifully imperfect past, and I’ve faced a torment of emotions because of it.
“Why look back?” some ask, “It’s not possible to change it, what good does it do?” And no, of course I cannot change the hurt, but every ounce within me rises up to say “My God is good, and He is faithful, and if shit hits the fan in my life, I’m going to keep my eyes wide open to see what beauty He brings because of it.”
So I look back, and I cry. I cry for what happened, and I cry for what didn’t. For what I needed and didn’t receive, and for what I pursued that caused me pain. And each tear is counted, each one is seen. It’s almost as though as the tears fall, they land on rich soil, watering the dry and cracked earth below them, causing beauty to grow where death once lived.
Because that’s my Father.
That’s my King.
That’s my best friend.
He offers beauty for ashes, offers my life for His. Promises to carry me, and promises that He always did.
“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was go forward and make the whole beautiful.” Terri St. Cloud
I can never go back and change anything, what happened is written on my pages. Yet the one thing Terri misses in this quote is that I have a secured hope that because of Jesus, my pain is not pointless, and my past does not define me. So I look back, and I feel the pain again, yet this time I see Jesus.
This time He redeems my pain.
This time I grow instead of shrink.
“For He heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
As He heals, I look towards a beautiful future. I cannot change the past, but I can set my eyes on beauty, so this will be my life. I will receive beauty, I will be beauty, I will give and make beauty wherever I go.
Lord, let this be my life.
With Strength that is not my own,