This is in response to an excerpt from Authentic Beauty, posted sometime last November?
It's what I’ve always wanted- that perfect dress that Chelsea once said I would never find- I have it. The soft white fabric glows under the mid afternoon sun. Each detail is just how I imagined it to be- with its flowing skirt, sweetheart neckline, and satin champagne ribbon at the waist. I hold out my hands to examine the sleeves made of a delicate lace pattern.
That’s when I see them. The chains that have bound my hands for so long are in striking discord with such a tender dress. My hands are rough and calloused, showing years of toil; my wrists, scarred from bumps along the way, but both are hidden by the satin gloves that match the ribbon. As I glance down at my bare feet, I notice the chains surrounding them as well.
“How will he love me?”
I stand in the middle of a dirty parking lot, between two oversized vans.
“Surely” I think, “Surely this is no place for a wedding…”
As he nears me, I can’t quite make him out. Suddenly, the wind picks up, blowing dust all over my dress, and I feel so worthless.
“How will he love me?”
Someone walks behind me, slinging a backpack over my shoulders. It's so heavy, and the weight causes me to fall, ripping the bottom of my dress.
I stand watching him walk towards me- this tattered mess of a bride- hoping he can love me, as a tear trickles down my face.
I look down at the ground as to hide my face from him, knowing that I can not be the beautiful bride I had planned on being. I can feel his presence as he stops in front of me.
The tears stream down my cheek as guilt and shame fill my heart. I have messed up so much, and I don’t deserve him. He takes my hands, removing the gloves carefully, revealing each scratch and blister.
“I’m sorry” I cry, still unable to look my true love in the face.
“Beloved,” he whispers, “I am yours, and you are mine.”
His gentle hands reach up and pull the veil back from my tear-streaked face.
“I love you, Janelle,” He says as he lifts my chin.
I look at Him, his eyes so full of love and concern.
His words dissipate my fears- I know that He loves me truly and deeply, and in this moment I am His forever.
I look back at my hands as He holds them and I see no scars, no chains on my arms, and my feet- free to run and dance. The dress once again glows a soft white, no dirt or tears in the fabric.
I no longer stand in that dusty parking lot, but at the edge of a river. The hills rise up around me, flowers pink and yellow in full bloom. Sweet smells fill the air, and a bird flies above, singing out its glorious song of praise.
I feel beautiful once again. He who calls me His precious bride takes the backpack off my shoulders and puts it around His own. I begin to protest, but He simply smiles and repeats,
“I love you, Janelle.”