Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rain, and what comes after.

"See!" The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms it's early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their early fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."
-Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Everyone has stormy seasons in their life. I have had a few, or maybe just one long extended rainy season filled with ups and downs, periods of light rain and times of heavy thunderstorms. In the midst of winter, it is hard to imagine what spring feels like. It is difficult to picture green trees and warm nights when you are surrounded by snow drifts and howling winds. But our God is good, and he keeps all of his promises. We can have hope during those rainy seasons of our life. For me, in the years since losing my mom to cancer, I have felt God whispering to me to hold on, whispering to me about what comes after the rain.

So much good comes from rain. The beauty we experience every summer would not be possible without the rains of early spring. God uses those hard times and situations in our life to sanctify our hearts, bring us closer to him, and to glorify his name.

I feel like I am finally starting to grasp this. I feel like my heart is slowly starting to unthaw after a hard few years of winter. I am beginning to see the flowers that have come from all the rain in the past years. And it is so good.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Wedding Gown

I recently got married, 48 days ago to be exact. To my highschool sweetheart; the most handsome, funny, intelligent, man I know. Our wedding was perfect. Now, I am fully aware that every bride probably thinks her wedding was perfect. But mine really was, I promise you. I couldn't have asked for anything more; for a better day. The rain clearing, the ceremony, the flowers, the food, the dancing and music, our family and friends, the pictures, the lake... the list goes on. I loved so many details about our wedding day, but one of my favorites was my wedding gown. (I love calling it my wedding gown. Not wedding dress, but wedding gown. The word gown brings to mind images of Cinderella, and fancy occasions worthy of an article of clothing that isn't just a dress, but a gown.) I love my wedding gown so much that I mourn the fact that I will never be able to wear it again! While we were back in Neenah last weekend for the 4th of July, I snuck into my dad's closet to sneak a longing peak at my beautiful dress. It is just as perfect as I remembered it to be. The layers of lace, the delicate cut, the beads. But I also noticed more- the hem was dirty. It was dirty is such a good way. Dirty from walking down the aisle on the arm of my dad, the strongest and most gentle man I know. Dirty from standing in the grass next to my new husband and making a covenant before God with him. Dirty from dancing and eating during a night of celebration and happiness. My dress was lived in. It has a story.

I love the way God uses the image of marriage to remind us of his promises to us. The book of Revelation uses this picture so beautifully:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." -Revelation 21: 1-4

I can't wait until that day when I will meet Jesus. When he is all I see at the end of the aisle. I will walk towards him in a dress with a dirty hem. A dress made dirty by living life. My hem will be stained from dissapointment and hurt. Dirty from fear and failure. Dirty from self-centeredness and pride. Stained from tears and sorrow and grief. But as the Lord promises, He will wipe every tear from my eye and take me in, with all my dirtyness. He will take all of my sin and ugliness, and I will give him all of my pain and grief.

So exactly like I walked down the aisle on my wedding day, with tears in my eyes and breathless with anticipation, I will continue to walk through this life getting dirty, knowing Who is waiting for me at the end.