When I first went to college, I had the privilege of attending a prestigious military academy with approximately 4000 students. About 25% of these students were female. Need I say more regarding this specific statistic? BOYS. That should sum it up.
I had grown up in the church under God’s rules, under my parent’s rules, and I was now in a school that added on more rules. Specifically, no freshmen were allowed to hang out/text/talk unprofessionally/or have a personal relationship with any upperclassmen because we were being groomed into military professionals.
I was 18 and, like other young women, I wanted to please everyone and follow the rules, but I also wanted to be wanted by men. I wanted their attention, their time, and their love. I found myself addicted to the fleeting feeling of being pursued. So I ignored all the rules and I snuck around with one boy after another. I didn’t care who they were or how well I knew them. I wanted them to deceive those around them in order to spend time with me, I wanted them to love my love, and I wanted to tease them just enough to keep them coming back for more. More than anything, I wanted to feel like I was worth the risk of getting into trouble.
Soon enough, everything came crashing down. All my mistakes and broken rules were unveiled and put under a spotlight. After reviews under the military board, I was placed on a nine month probation, lost my rank, and more. Two men I had been hanging out with were kicked out of the school, their military careers ruined. And another was placed on a six month probation. I ruined careers, I ruined friendships, and I lost everyone’s trust. For those nine months, I walked around in my uniform without any rank, constantly reminded of the crimes I committed and the lives I ruined. My pursuit of adventure and “love” left me alone and in despair.
I was at the lowest valley in my life, and as always promised, God met me where I was. Alone in my dorm room one evening, I came across an old journal of mine, and on the corner of a page was Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.”
All this time I had been searching for love, for someone to pursue me, for the feeling of being wanted. When I never realized that is exactly what God had been doing the entire time. I thought what I was searching for with these men was love, but what a lie I had led myself to believe. When Jesus met me in my dorm, He took my heart and my soul, and He made everything pure again. He gently reminded me of what He had done over 2000 years ago.
In Biblical times, when two were to be married, the groom would pay a “bride price.” This gift was given to the bride’s family, but represented the bride’s freedom from her household. The groom would also give his bride a token to be a reminder his love until he returned to receive her.
The groom would depart and return to his father’s house where he would prepare a place for his bride, a bridal suite. Upon completion, and only when the groom’s father determined everything was ready, the groom would return to receive his awaiting bride.
In my opinion, I think this is very romantic and lovely. This process takes time and consideration of all the bride’s needs. But even more, this is exactly what Jesus has done for us.
As scripture tells us, the church is labeled as the “bride” of Christ. When Jesus came here, he paid the bride price by sacrificing His own life. This price has set each of us free from our former life of sin. And our token to remember his love? The cross. It is our constant reminder of the unconditional love of Jesus and His promise to return to us.
After his death and resurrection, Jesus was lifted into Heaven to return to His Father’s house. During this time away, He is preparing a place for His bride, and He will return, but only the Father knows when this time will be.
Like Aaron Shust’s song “Ever Be,” Jesus’ love is devoted like a ring of solid gold, it endures all, and it is everlasting. Jesus has proposed to each and every one of us, and He is awaiting for you to say “Yes.” He loves you, He died for you, and He died for you to know Him and to be His bride. I did have a longing and desire to be loved, as we all do. I just needed to be reminded of what I truly longed for, which was an eternal life with the love of my life, Jesus Christ. And with a pure heart, given to me by Jesus, I could say “Yes” to His proposal. I am His bride.
I pray that my testimony and the things the Heavenly Father has revealed to me helps those who feel unloved. For each of us are truly His beloved. Jesus paid a price for each us, He pursues us, and He died to know us, because each and every single one of us are worth it.
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