Updated: Feb 11
I stopped in my tracks. While I had donated it several months earlier, seeing it hanging on the end of the thrift store’s clothes rack caught me off guard: it was my wedding dress.
I ran my hand down the ribbon on the lace sleeve. Memories flooded my mind.
“This is the dress I saw in the J. C. Penney catalog!” I said to my roommate. “It’s even prettier than the picture!”
My roommate took it off the rack and handed it to me “Here, try it on!”
I hurried into the dressing room. I’d dreamed of the trying on a wedding dress since I was a little girl. However, as a young adult, I was doubtful I would ever meet a man who would choose to love me and actually want to spend the rest of his life with me! And yet, here I was!
“Are you okay in there? Do you need help?”
I took a deep breath and cautiously opened the door. My friend positioned me in front of the large trifold mirror.
I caught my breath. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. “I barely recognize myself! I look…I feel like a princess! I think this is the dress!”
And it was.
I shook away the memory. As I ran my hand along the beaded veil, a smile tugged at my lips. I remember when Mom and my maid-of-honor were trying to secure the veil on my head. They kept jabbing my head with bobby pins, and with every gouge, demanded I stand still!
I turned the dress around. I wonder if the shoe print is still there after all these years? When one of mischievous young boys at the reception stomped on my dress as I walked past, it literally stopped me in my tracks.
I entertained the memories for a few more moments and then stepped away, only to turn back. While I had kept a few photos from my wedding day, I sensed I needed to take one final picture.
As I took the photo, unexpectedly, tears filled my eyes. I ached for for the young 21-year old me. I remember her so well…
She was so desperate to be loved by a man, she compromised her values and settled for what she thought was her only chance for love.
She thought a husband would meet her needs and fulfill her heart’s desires.
She thought marriage would guarantee happily-ever-after.
She thought she was fat and needed to lose more weight before the final fitting of her size 5-petite wedding dress.
She was so very young and so very wrong...and she had no clue of the heartache and disappointment the next decade would bring.
If only she had known that she was God’s beloved.
If only she had trusted that God would bring her His choice of a companion, in His perfect timing and if it was His will. And if was not His plan for her to be married, she’d be okay. In fact, she’d be more than okay.
If only she had realized that only God can meet all her needs and fulfill her heart’s desires and His love is unwavering.
If only she had known that happiness is dependent on feelings and circumstances, but joy is soul-deep and unchanging.
I straightened the dress on the hanger and, as I ran my hand along the sleeve for the last time, I prayed:
Lord, I pray for the next bride who will stand in front of a mirror wearing my dress.
I pray she will already know that she is a daughter of the One True King.
Even more, I pray she will see herself as Your beloved princess and know, in the depths of her soul, You love her with a steadfast and everlasting love. And that is the only love she will ever need.
I have loved you with an everlasting love. ~ Jeremiah 31:3