Preparing for Our Heavenly Marriage
Odds are if you take a look at any girls’ Pinterest page, you will find four things: a board filled with her favorite quotes, recipes that she may or may not try one day, pins of her ideal but unrealistically expensive wardrobe, and lastly, the pinnacle of all Pinterest boards: the wedding board. Aah yes, the wedding board. It’s every girl’s guilty pleasure, isn’t it? I would know, I have shamelessly been preparing for one hypothetical night ever since I joined the Pinterest world four years ago. My board is filled with various center piece ideas, lace dresses, tuxedos, bouquet arrangements, engagement rings, bridesmaid dresses, and even favor ideas for guests. Who knows how many hours I have dedicated to this one board? If a woman did this years ago, people would think she’s obsessive. Now, this is the norm for every twenty-something female with internet access. Is it crazy? Probably. Will that make us stop? Most likely not.
It’s actually pretty impressive when you think about it. Women across the world are setting aside an exorbitant amount of time to plan for a single day. Our ability to stay focused on one day and plan extensively for the future is nothing short of a super power. Now, I am not saying that our ability to spend hours pinning away is something to be greatly admired. However, there is something to be said about this ability of ours to stay focused on our desire for love and union with another person. As evidenced by our millions of wedding boards, we seem to be experts at planning for our husband's arrival. This reality begs me to ask the question:
Just as we spend so much energy preparing for the coming of our earthly husband, how are we preparing for the coming of our greatest Love in Jesus Christ?
Women in particular seem to have a keen awareness of our desire for marriage. Just look at our bodies. In more ways than one, we were formed to be receptive to another human being. It is in our anatomy to long for another body to be connected with, whether that is our husband or a child. This intense longing in women is beautiful and so good but we must remember that the longing for connection is ultimately fulfilled by our Lord. Our desire for marriage points us to the true marriage that we hope to have one day with Christ in heaven.
Women have two great strengths: our intense desire for union and our tendency to look ahead to prepare. Instead of solely using these gifts to create our wedding boards on Pinterest, we can harness those strengths for an even greater mission: to cultivate and strengthen our intimacy with God.
In scripture, we see the parable of the ten virgins awaiting their bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. -Matthew 25: 2-5.
When the bridegroom arrives, the five who were unprepared did not have enough time to ready themselves by fetching more oil. They fell asleep and missed their own weddings. The intimacy they desired went unfulfilled because they failed to make the necessary steps for their marriage.
This scripture challenges us to ready ourselves. How easy it is to plan for our earthly marriage, while neglecting on our heavenly marriage with Christ in heaven. Longing for a husband is good, but we also need to remember that our relationship with Jesus should always take priority over our desire for a man. We wouldn’t want to fill up on the appetizers at a wedding in such a way that we had no more room for the dinner meal. In the same way, we do not want our desire for an earthly wedding to get in the way of cultivating a relationship with the Lord.
A woman only becomes engaged when she tells her beloved “yes.” After that yes, she commits her time, energy, and resources to plan for the coming marriage. In the same way, we must first say “yes” to God’s invitation of love before we can ever be fully engaged. After we commit to Christ, we have to set aside the necessary time, energy, and resources to fully prepare ourselves in an appropriate way.
If you are reading this and feel a sense of discouragement due to your lack of preparation, take hope in the fact that you still have time. Unlike the five foolish virgins, your engagement period has not ended. Each day we have the chance to either say “yes” to God’s love and continue our relationship, or we can say no by becoming spiritually drowsy. If you are longing to recommit to Christ and don’t know how, I urge you to try three things:
Set aside a daily time frame for prayer.
Some days you may want to study scripture. Other days, you might feel drawn to journal or read a spiritual book. Whatever the case, just set aside a reasonable amount of time to pray every day. Do it at the same time so it becomes a part of your schedule. If ten minutes is more realistic for you than thirty, start there.
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” -Colossians 4:2
Cultivate friendships with likeminded women.
All women know what it feels like to be fixated on wanting to be married. We need each other to remind us that it is okay to feel that way. We also need women who can inspire us to continue strengthening our relationship with Christ when we feel spiritually dry and lonely. Surrounding yourself with holy women will make the preparation for Christ easier and more attractive when we are tempted to fall asleep spiritually.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” -Proverb 27:17
Limit your marital fantasies.
When you find yourself wanting to race towards your wedding day, realize that even after you are married, you will still have days when you feel lonely and unloved. Marriage is not a magic fix. It’s a wonderful thing to desire, but it won’t fulfill your every need. Only God can do that.
“In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11
My sister, it is okay to desire marriage. But above all, let’s make preparing for our union with Christ take precedence over having a perfect wedding. Just as a groom longs for his bride to say yes to his invitation of love, so does our Lord anxiously await our “yes.” We have time right now to intensify our relationship with Christ. Let us make the commitment today to engage more fully in the Lord. He is our only lasting source of love that will ever fully calm our restless and yearning hearts. At every moment, He offers an invitation of engagement. Let us say “yes” and start our preparation for the greatest union of all that awaits us in heaven with Christ.