Monday, May 9, 2016

Always a Bride, Even After Divorce

Awe! Weddings! An accumulation of months of preparation. The selection of rings, the Bride’s dress, tuxes, flowers, bouquets, choosing the cake, and the guest list. Along with wedding ceremonial songs, the reception, and music for the first dance.

And finally the big day arrives. Two nervous people standing at an altar, before God, the Pastor or Priest, and their guest. The Groom and Bride are ready to express their sacred vows and proclaim their lifetime of commitment to love and cherish one another, in good times and bad, till death do they part.

What’s more lovely then a Bride strolling down the aisle to join herself to her groom? The man who chose her and she desired him to be a family, a home . . . because they completed each other.

The road ahead is mysterious. The journey of the marital union will take them to places unknown, uncharted for them, and possibly unwelcomed.

My Wedding Day

I will never forget my wedding day. The feeling of that special moment as my father walked me down the aisle, tearful.

Giving me away to a man he trusted to care for his daughter, to love her as he did, but more. My eyes gazed into the man I love. Willing to give my heart, soul, body, and secrets too—for the rest of my life. I was nervous but joyful to unite my heart with his, to become Mrs. Ramirez. I was a Bride, glowing with the anticipation of what lay ahead.

And I’ll never forget another day, when I received the notification from the court, dissolving those sacred vows. Thirty-six years of marriage, reduced to one piece of paper, declaring our vows were no longer binding by law.

That joyous wedding occasion and hope for longevity in our marriage, became a source of unspeakable pain. Trust, commitment, love, and hope unraveled to nothing. Replaced with rejection and abandonment. Our wedding rings, the meaningful exchange and representation of eternal love, now boxed away. Rings that made the statement, I’m devoted to another. I am taken.

It’s like that old song, “This diamond ring doesn’t shine like it did before. This diamond ring doesn’t mean what it did before,” (Gary Lewis and The Playboys).

Yet, when I think of this ripping apart—this loss, I’m reminded by God, that I wasn’t solely one man’s bride. As the hunting memory of love lost, and the I-can’t-get-him-off-my-mind . . . God gave me a vision. A vision to reflect on, every time my ex-husband and the sorrow invaded my soul.

A Vision From God

At Church, as we finished worship, I basked in the moment, but thoughts of my ex-husband soon occupied my thoughts, saddening my heart. With eyes closed, I prayed. God, he's an idol in my heart and his taking the place of you. Help!

Then God gave me the most wondrous picture. Care if I share?
The aisle runner was gold, sprinkled with pink rose petals. The runner led to an arch, filled with draping fragrant flowers of vibrant colors of all kinds. My gown was spun silk with overlaid lace. Diamond buttons, sparkled as they lined down the back of the dress, fixed with loops. The bottom of the dress had three tiers of lace. The shimmering veil ran past the length of the dress, cascading onto the floor. The veil was held by a silk ocean blue band, which sat delicately on the back of my head, with white roses running across its length. Also petite roses adorned the ends of the veil.

His Bride
Diane Ramirez

At the arch is the Son, the Groom, who chose me to be his Bride. The light was gloriously bright, and my hand outstretched to the light of Christ.

In this moment God reminded me, he is my Husband. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is a husband who will not run or walk away, when life is a twisted mess. He will never give up. He will not grow tired of life and fellowship with me, for he is the essence of life. He will not "fall out of love" with me. As he reminds me, he understands with patients—my worries, my struggles, and my flaws. He is trustworthy. He is committed to me in this life and in the next. Death will not part us.
He will cherish, care, and provide for me. He will comfort me, calm my storms, and heal my sorrows. He will look at me with delight, and remind me I am beautiful in him. His love is unconditional. There is nothing I have to do to win or keep his love. He accepts me for who I am, as I am made in his glorious image.

And there is a fountain. With the bluest of pure water, springing up and flowing over. He reminds me, he is the fountain of life. A cistern that never runs dry. It is he who will replenish my thirst when I am lonely, and fill my soul to the brim with his love. His living water flows for me, his Bride.

He will do this for you, too.

Rekindled Identity, The Bride of Christ

I love when the Lord gives visions. Pictures to help us cope, to move on, and to take hold of a new identity. To not forget, who we are, his Bride and he our Groom, through the blessed gift of Salvation.
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels,” Isaiah 61:10, NASB.
We know the Bride is the Church of Christ, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the lamb.” Revelations 21:9, NASB.

Yet, I believe those who belong to him—he wants us to know, we are collectively and individually, his bride. He desires all those suffering from the pain of divorce—those who have been abandoned and rejected by a spouseas well anyone who has experienced deep loss, to know we are never alone in our sorrow.

“You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” Psalms 56:8, NASB.
All our tears are kept in a bottle, written in his book. He knows. He will wipe our tears with his gentle hand. And because he is God our Father, who comforts all who mourn, we can take comfort in this, “He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness, For His name’s sake,” Psalms 23:3, NASB.

No matter our sorrow, we can rejoice in Psalms 23:6.  I encourage you to do what I did, insert your name and read it out loud, “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me [Diane] all the day[s] of my [her] life, And I [Diane] will dwell in the house of the LORD forever,” Psalms 23:6, NASB (brackets mine).

Allowing this scripture to take root in our spirit, will indeed give hope in which we will “ . . . dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Where there will be no more tears.

"To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified," Isaiah 61:3

Not the End

Divorce, or any loss that grieves our heart, is not the end of us, nor defines us, as we are the Lord’s Bride and he our Groom, "The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with the shouts of joy," Zephaniah 3:17, NASB.

With some ancient versions of this verse, "He will be quiet in His love" is translated "He will renew you in His love." He is our VICTORIOUS WARRIOR; therefore we are more than conquers over our pain.

Imagine our Husband, God, Creator of all . . . who rejoices, exults, and shouts with joy over us, and renews our heart with His love. That is Agape love in its purest form. And we have this in and through our Lord, Jesus Christ! Can I get an Amen?

If this piece ministered to you, please share your thoughts with me. My heart is overjoyed, knowing that the words the Lord places on my heart, makes a difference. Please share, if you know someone who is in need of encouragement. Thank you so much. Diane

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