A Bride Adorned

21 11 2011

“How do you feel?” I ask.

Her smile and the sparkle in her eye are answer enough, but her words strike me.

“I feel great,” she says. “As light as air.”

And an image fills my mind, the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Coming down out of heaven. As light as air.

She’s beautiful and brilliant, gifted and clever, cheerful, outgoing, tender and generous. She knows what she wants and she goes for it.

And what does she want?

She wants to love, serve, honor, and glorify her God.

Her purity is a rebuke to the spirit of this age, and I grieve for what we, the church, have lost. We’ve believed a lie, and many of us have been robbed. The whisper hisses that the Bible is outdated and holiness is bondage, and why would you deny yourself? The fruit is good, and you crave it. Why wait? The whisper hisses, and some of us listen. We demand our inheritance early, and we stumble hard before we finally come to ourselves in the far country, bruised, bleeding, and ashamed.

Or maybe we never come to ourselves at all. We make excuses for conformity and broad brush our sin with a warped version of grace that masks without healing, a festering wound we pretend we can’t feel. And the burden weighs us down, whether we know it or not.

The bride Jesus is coming for will be pure and spotless, a “holy city,” and yet I look at this fractured, limping church, and it’s hard not to wonder. Will we really be freed from all our baggage? Chains broken, cages opened, hearts undivided, our idols and our crowns cast at His feet?

Even in the asking, I know the answer is yes. Yes! Our God is a redeemer. He takes the bruised and broken and makes them whole. This is our hope and the hope we offer a wounded world. And this is good news indeed.

But this bride adorned, she teaches me that there’s even better news. Her life shouts it from the house tops, a beacon to those who haven’t yet tasted forbidden fruit. “You can bypass the pig sty,” she says. “You can choose wisdom and holiness in spite of the world’s empty promises and the mocking scorn of this present age. The Bible is not outdated. It is timeless and the only way to true freedom. God is good in all that He gives and in all that He forbids. If He withholds the fruit you crave, it is only that He might give you an abundant feast beyond your wildest imagination.”

Her life declares this truth. Her joy underscores it. A bride adorned for her husband. Pure. Set apart.

She comes to him without fear.
She comes to him without shame.
She comes to him without baggage.

As light as air.

Giving thanks in community (#310 – 326):

a much-loved nephew and his radiant bride
unalloyed joy
this expanding family
God’s timing
His always-good plans
the promise of wisdom
the mystery of prayer
the wonder of communion
the glory of love
beauty, taking my breath away
golden leaves dancing with a playful wind
sparrows seen
my father’s tenderness
my mother’s smile
Advent lessons and carols
(The Humble Bold CD is now available in addition to MP3s)
art with purpose

{I feel the need to slip this in here. If you read this post and thought, “It’s too late for me. I’ve blown it and there’s no point in pursuing purity now,” then I ask you to please watch this video, and be assured that you are precious and loved, and it’s never too late to bring your brokenness to Him and exchange it for His beauty. Grace, peace, and redeeming love to you.}



24 responses

21 11 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Jeanne, this is absolutely divine – every word, every photo – simply perfect. Thank you for this. Much love to you and your beautiful family.

21 11 2011

Thank you, dear Patricia. Much love to you, too, friend.

21 11 2011

I may have cried a little bit… not that i’m embarrassed by that.


21 11 2011

Aw, Sparky. Thanks. Love you so much.

21 11 2011

Oh, Jeanne. You had me at “As light as air.” And then? Well. I always cry at weddings. And I’m thinking how I didn’t pass the pig sty, but jumped right in with both feet and with wild abandon and how, over years and life and love and tears, God has made me light as air…all over again and anyhow.

21 11 2011

Deidra, what a precious comment this is, and how powerful your confession. Over years and life and love and tears, light as air again. Isn’t this His longing and purpose for us all? He washes the dirt and scum from our feet, and frees us to dance. (Even in the bread aisle. 😉 ) Glorious.

21 11 2011

beautiful truths. thank you.

21 11 2011

Thank you, Darlene. And you’re welcome.

21 11 2011

P.S. What a beautiful blog you have! I’m adding it to my reader.

21 11 2011

This is just exquisite Jeanne – as is the bride. To think, that one day we will be all of those things when our bridegroom comes. It just takes the breath away.

29 11 2011

Thank you, Linda. Love to you, friend.

21 11 2011
roseann elliott

you did a lovely job…beautiful pictures…beautiful picture painted with words…
Blessings to you…His Bride…

29 11 2011

Thank you, Roseann. Blessings to you, too.

21 11 2011
Lynn Mosher

Oh, my! So beautiful and touching. The photos are wonderful. And that cake…wow! How gorgeous is that?! I love references and comparisons to the Bride of Christ. Thank you, Jeanne!

29 11 2011

Thanks, Lynn. It was truly a beautiful wedding, joining too beautiful lives. And the cake was chocolate! As delicious as it was gorgeous. These people have all their priorities right. 😉

21 11 2011
Deborah Carr

Weddings make me happy…and this one is beautiful, inside and out. And, yes. We do have a fractured, limping church. Thankfully, though, we also know the supreme Healer. And he is so good at mending the broken, isn’t he? I’m trusting that the healing has already started…through beautiful people like you and this lovely bride, who allow his words to flow through their life.

29 11 2011

Amen, Deborah. He is coming for a spotless bride, and He is the One who makes her ready. It’s all Him. All grace. What a wonder!

Love to you, sweet friend. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. xo

28 11 2011
Rachel Anne Ridge (@RachelAnneRidge)

I’m late in reading this…thank you for the FB link or I would have missed it. Jeanne, this is so incredibly beautiful…….your words, the images, the picture you paint of the bride of Christ….wow. Seeing that gorgeous couple on their happiest, most joyful day – and being part of it! – was amazing. You’ve captured not only THEM, but JESUS.

28 11 2011

So glad you got the chance to stop by, Rachel, and that this post blessed you. I wanted to share it with you, because you are so much a part of who Meghan is, and what a gift you both are to those who know and love you.

Much love to you, and a beautiful season of advent to you and your family.

29 11 2011
Cassandra / A Renaissance Woman

I came here by way of Rachel Anne’s blog “Home Sanctuary” and I wish I had the words to tell you how overwhelmingly beautiful this is. Bless you, bless you, bless you for this. This came directly from the heart of God to us through you. Thank you.

29 11 2011

I’m so glad you came by, Cassandra, and that you grasped for words, because the ones you found are a gift to me. Bless you, too. And please know you are welcome back any time.

2 12 2011


6 12 2011
Meghan Miller

Aunt Jeanne,

Wow. I am speechless. Humbled. Delighted. Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and grace filled words. Thank you for sharing the love and heart of our Bridegroom! Without him purity would be empty, meaningless, joyless. But, what is our purity, but Jesus himself… and he even said he came to make our joy complete…. Truth worth living and dying for… Nathan is an amazing husband and picture of Christ. He loves and serves me relentlessly and his kindness is overwhelming. I’m still light as air. 🙂

I love you and I’m thankful for you!!!

7 12 2011

Dear Meghan, you are welcome with all my heart for the thoughts and the words. I love that I can hear your voice speaking this comment, and I have no doubt it sprung full grown from your sweet soul. I’m delighted to hear that our little Nathan has grown into a man who knows how to love and serve relentlessly with overwhelming kindness. May you both know fullness of joy in Jesus who makes you one.

I love you, too. See you soon. xo

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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