Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Although I had donated it to the thrift store, when I actually saw it hanging on the end of the clothes rack, it caught me off guard.
It was my wedding dress.
Months earlier, I had discovered it in my parent's closet. I decided it needed to go and tossed it in a box for donation.
Memories flooded my mind as I ran my hand down the ribboned sleeve.
I remember when I first tried it on. At the time, Gunne Sax was all the rage. Unable to afford a designer label, I discovered a knock-off on the bridal rack at J. C. Penney. It was the first dress I tried on. I barely recognized myself when I looked in the dressing room mirror; I felt like a princess. I would try on a dozen more dresses before deciding on dress number one.
I ran my hand along the beaded veil. I smiled when I thought about my mom and maid of honor trying to secure it to my hair, jabbing my scalp with bobby pins while demanding I stand still. And, oh the chaos of the entire bridal party trying to get ready in the very small church nursery!
I turned the dress around. I didn’t let down the train, but I wondered if it was still there: the shoe print that belonged to one of the mischievous young boys at the reception, who literally stopped me in my tracks when he stomped on my dress.
For some reason, I felt the need to take a final picture.
Unexpectedly, tears filled my eyes. I ached for the young 21-year old me.
I remember her well.
She was so desperate to be loved by a man that 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.
And 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 it 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.
If only she had known that happiness is dependent on feelings and circumstances, but joy is soul-deep and unchanging.
That young bride may have made some really bad decisions and suffered tremendous heartache because of her choices, but God would redeem her tears, use every experience for her good and teach her about His everlasting love.
I touched the lace on the bodice.
I may no longer be able to fit in that altered size 5 dress, but I carry around a lot less weight now than that thin, unhealthy 21-year old did back in 1983.
I straightened the dress on the hanger.
As ran my hand along the sleeve for the last time, I prayed for the next bride that will stand in front of the mirror wearing the dress. I pray she will already know she is a daughter of the One True King.
Even more, I pray she will see herself as God’s beloved princess and know His steadfast and everlasting love.
I have loved you with an everlasting love. ~ Jeremiah 31:3