Kids ate the "Engagement Chicken", and said it was perfect. I suppose it just may get some woman the right man, but boy howdy, do I ever already have mine!
We arrived at "Amerigo's" last night, and since it was ever-so-slightly misting, Tim elected to drop me off at the door, while he went to park our old mini-van. A mother/daughter duo beat me inside, and so the three of us were standing there, waiting for our tables. I smiled at both of them, and nodded their way. It is a southern-girl habit. You absolutely must be hospitable to strangers.
Tim came in the large double doors, looked briefly around for me, and when he spotted me, his face softened into a smile, as always. Then, he drew me to him and planted a kiss on my temple, as always. I mean it. This is a routine that is taken for granted by this wife.
Instantly, the mother-daughter duo sighed. The daughter coo'ed, "That is sooooo sweet!" I looked at them both, and I guess my expression was quizzical, I don't know. But the daughter said, rather emphatically, "I just never see a man kiss his woman like that anymore. I love it. It was sweet." She seemed almost defensive.
I was quick to smile at her (again) and say, "It is sweet. I'm blessed."
But secretly, I felt a little intruded upon. I already live in a "glass house", and thus am sensitive to it. That sense was to continue until mother and daughter finally finished their dinners and left!
They were seated behind my husband's shoulder, at an angle. He could not see them, but I could see them. They watched his every move, whispering and nudging each other. When Tim would slide his hands across the table and place them on mine, one of those women would roll her eyes in delight. His cell phone began to shake on the table (he always tries to remember to put his cell phone on "vibrate" in restaurants) he looked at the screen, making sure it was not our youngest son, and then turned it off, never answering it. That is what he does when we are out. This sent the mother at the next table over the moon. I could easily tell she was impressed that my man didn't take that phone call.
By this time, Tim could do no wrong. I do believe the mother began fanning herself, as Tim asked me what I wanted from the menu, relayed my order to the waiter, then took my hand and kissed it. Then, he would simply listen to me, when I said whatever it was I said. None of this is "big stuff" to us, but these women at the adjacent table were solid gone.
It wasn't till I got home, later, that the Holy Spirit began to guide my thoughts and speak to me. I realized, for the very first time, that when the Bible says that Christ is coming for a bride "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing" - it means she has so received the care and attention of the Bridegroom, that she has been transformed by it. I was loved into being my very best self, at dinner last night. I could feel the tension melt from my face and shoulders. A genuine smile would tug at the corners of my mouth.
That isn't the first time this phenomenon has taken place. I've been loved into loveliness over and over again. In fact, I am and always will be at my very best, when I am most aware of Tim's delight in me. When I make him laugh, it is as though a switch was flipped on, and I become the funniest woman, ever. I keep it coming, and he ends up undone with laughter. It is his obvious delight in me that drives me to some semblance of self-discipline, in watching my weight. It is his admiration for me that drives my unapologetic ownership of drawers-full of potions and creams for hair and face and body. He loves me into a state of no wrinkles and no spots.
If he didn't delight in me, just as I am, I'd not even care. As much.
Imagine the love of the Creator. Imagine us, the object of His affections! We will truly be without spot or wrinkle, by the time we finally, and fully receive His love for us.
I'm not one to parade my blessings. But the final point can't be made without revealing that...he went to the grocery store for me, early this morning. As my eyes were opening, and my feet finding my slippers, he was already working to bless me, and I never even asked. (He doesn't always do this - in fact, this is out of the ordinary. I am telling you, the Lord has been showing me Himself, as "my husband".)
And he walked back through the door with bags of provisions, and a dozen red roses. No reason for the roses, other than the fact that I am wholly cared for.
The mother and daughter from the restaurant last night would have fainted dead away by now.
I have always been able to see God as my father. To see Him as "husband" is another level for me, indeed! I know I risk treading a fine line, and many who have gone before me have crossed it - but it is important to get the revelation of Christ, the bridegroom! I am blessed to be married to the sort of man who makes the concept live, right before my eyes.
I have been released from my old husband (the law), to be joined to a new husband, just as it says in Romans 7: 4, " Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."
This morning, I was reminded of a line from the movie, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman". The prospective husband looked into the eyes of the woman he loved and said, "I don't want you to worry about anything, ever again. All I want you to do is wake up, every morning. Just wake up, and know that I will take it from there."
I watched this movie with my daughters, just two days ago. We all got teary eyed, and felt foolish. But if we will be ruthlessly vulnerable, we will admit it is what we girls all long for: a man who will take full responsibility, and love us unconditionally, without us having to do one thing but respond to such powerful grace.
Then! Then I experienced all of it, in some small way, last night and this morning. And I am hearing echoes of a Divine Romance!
I no longer have to perform at a certain level to be wholly loved. I don't have to be ashamed of my wrinkles and spots, and drive myself to be rid of them in my own strength, using my own methods! In fact, it is the love of my Husband that gently presses out every wrinkle, caresses away the spots, drives away the shame, and makes me a radiant bride.
May others see this in the church, and envy it. May they sit and stare at the bride, and her relationship with her Bridegroom. And may they sigh with longing to be thus fully known, yet fully loved.