The thirty-minute count down was on. White dress was buttoned. Flowers in hand. Vail placed perfectly in my hair. I was ready to walk down the aisle to marry the guy I fell deeply in love with. My best friend. He was waiting for me! We had all of the hard conversations that are needed before saying ‘I do’. We were ready for this. I was so excited to serve Adam as his wife for the rest of my life.
It was just me and the two cutest flower girls on the planet that were left in a huge cabin. My parents and bridesmaids had already left to get lined up and ready to go. As I was getting the last little things ready, I had the thought that I should go to the restroom one more time just to make sure! Let’s be real…. I was nervous! I told my adorable flower girls to hold my flowers and I would be right out. As I hurried up and basically flew out the door to grab my flowers, little Emma looked up to me and with her hands and my flowers on her hip said, “did you wash?”.
Just like her momma says to her as she leaves the restroom. This simple statement made my rose gold heels feel like cement in the cabin floor. She was right. I didn’t wash my hands because I was in a hurry to link arms with my dad and make my best friend my husband! But who am I to spend so much time planning, preparing, praying over this day to not give my soon to be husband the cleanest version of myself? He deserves my very best. The cleanest most pure version of me. I was not even officially a wife and I felt like I was already falling.
That’s when it really hit me. The real definition of marriage. A wakeup call of how great our God is. Marriage is messy, but Adam didn’t want to marry the perfect version of Colleen. Yes, he is in healthcare and wants me to wash my hands as often as possible, but he picked me to be his bride with all of my mess and imperfection.
This is the EXACT reason Jesus died on the cross for us; because we are so messy. I am so far from perfect. But EVERYDAY he would choose to clean up my mess. I don’t have to clean myself up to pray, go to church, or worship. God wants me and all my mess. God has created me and is committed to me no matter how dirty my mind, heart, or actions can be. Yes, I want to give Adam my best self every day. I want to give the Lord my very best with every breath I take. But the reality is that I am far from perfect. I am so far from pure. It is okay if I walk down the aisle to my husband a little dirty. Because marriage is a pure reflection of Christ. He wants our ugly. He accepts our dirtiness. And he died for our mess. We were not called to be cleaned by ourselves. We were called to be cleaned by the blood that Jesus shed for us. We are called to commit to Christ as a wife commits to her husband.
Now EVERY time I wash my hands when leaving a bathroom, I think of sweet Emma holding my wedding flowers with her hands on her hips asking, ‘Did you wash’. Being reminded that I am not able to purify myself. God loves me exactly how I am. He pours out grace in every area of life. And he loved me so much that he gave me a marriage that is just a little taste of how great His commitment is to us.
Let Gods grace and love over even the deepest darkest areas of your life.
Keep your head up high and your words filled with love,
Your friend, Colleen Howard.