My whole life I have dreamed of my wedding. Of being a bride. Of being a wife. Over and over and over again I dressed my dolls in white, traipsed them back and forth across brown carpets letting them walk imaginary aisles towards their grooms. When my mom went to work I would sneak into her closet, dressing myself in lace scarves and gloves all white and stare, always stare into the mirror and into my imaginations. I was not a girl playing dress up. I was a bride. I was beautiful. I was wanted and loved.
As the years passed I fell asleep dreaming of him. The one that I would meet who would want me over any other. The one who would, on one knee, look up at me with eyes so genuine, asking me to be the one he would wake up to, share coffee with, while morning sun spilled down smiling faces and into cups, the one I would drive to not so far off adventures on weekends, laugh, share life.
As I got sicker, I wondered if he would care. Would he love me enough to find joy in protecting me, providing for me even when there wasn’t much I could give back? Would the sick get in the way of the love? Would it still be worth it to him? I walked into events, always looking. Was he that one? Or the one leaning against the wall? Or the one laughing with friends in the middle of the room there? Was he here? Or would I meet him next week, at the the Starbucks on Morrel? My eyes were always looking, my heart was always wanting. The little girl in me still staring into her imaginations.
And I don’t know how exactly the sickness took the attention. But slowly, I noticed less and less, as the caring dwindled and the keeping up rose. And slowly it was other things that took my attention, namely the basics, the everyday needs of life that suddenly felt so much heavier than they ever felt before. And I didn’t care so much about finding him, because there were too many other things that deemed themselves prevalent.
Isn’t that how it goes? The child in us, ever hungry for relationship and love, seeks out, longs for, hopes in. And time goes by and we age through circumstances, and independence and necessity for the to-do’s and the to-get-done’s becomes louder and louder and suddenly relationship no longer seems vital, and love is merely a luxury rather than a need. But the to-do’s and the-need-to-get-done’s, that never ending list, that always-being-added-to list grows heavier and heavier to the burden of our backs and for a girl, like me, who can’t notice details in the healthy, it is an impossibility in the sick. And suddenly, I was thick in the quicksand of self-sufficiency. Gurgling calls of help as fingers sunk deep into sand. And my mind went back to the One, the One who loves me over any other, and I couldn’t see Him, but He said He was there. He said He would never leave me. And suddenly, again, I was reminded that it was His presence I needed over any other.
And so we talked. He and I. We talked. And I told Him all of it. Every day. Every hour. We talked and I reminded the One who didn’t need reminding. And we talked, while morning sun spilled down not so smiling faces and into cups. Into cups I didn’t want. Into cups I never asked for. Into cups I hoped to rid myself of.
If you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
Into cups that gave more than just drink. Into cups I found more than just relief of thirst.
This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you…
Cups of covenant. Cups of remembrance. Cups of relationship. Cups of love. And over those cups, He asked me what I wanted.
Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened to you.
What I wanted. What I wanted? Did I even know? I had always wanted a husband. And that dream seemed so long ago. Slowly, life shook and cracked and crumbled around me. The strippings of a world no longer necessary, a world full more of superficiality than I had ever noticed before. What I wanted. How could such an easy question feel so difficult. Words that felt so tangible I rolled them around in my fingers. Possibilities flipping through my mind, and after so much, they no longer seemed important. I wanted security, but money no longer seemed necessary. I wanted peace, but at what store do we buy peace? I wanted to breathe, but how do I send off for breath? But a husband. The age old desire circled back into my mind. The little girl in me hoped, but the worn, tired heart wanted more.
My answer, alone, exposed, and unsure. My answer, reeking vulnerability as I placed it there, open on this table of discussion, this table among cups. I looked to Him. I looked at Him. His words, an open invitation into more, but did I want more? And what did my answer mean? A husband. A husband? I thought again. I rolled those words over and over my fingers, like a marble and a trick I never knew I had.
I said it again, “A husband.”
Confident and sure. It grew in me. And slowly, with each time spoken, I knew. I knew what I wanted.
Tears fell. Cups were poured. Covenant. Remembrance. Relationship. Love.
Memories came. Aching, longing, difficult memories. Reminders of all the moments. Those strippings of life, of hopes, of dreams, of security, of security feigned. I looked back on all the years, years stolen by drought and famine. By pain and loneliness. By disease. By fear. I looked back at those memories. At looked at the cups He poured now. It had to be Him. It had to be Him! I cried. Tears fell. I poured out into those cups. My aches, my pains, my fears. Never before had I realized. Never before had I seen what I really longed for. Never before did I know. But I now knew. Now I saw. In the multitude of this famine, this drought of the soul, this drought of my life. No job, no car, nothing. No thing. No security, tangible and sure. Just aches, just pains. No insurance, no remedy. No remedy? A husband. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find. A remedy. A husband. Even in saying it I slowed my breath, I slowed my heart. And question turned to confidence. My eyes and mind focused together. It had to be Him. With realization I looked up and I saw, I saw the cups He placed before me with new eyes.
It is the lie of the enemy. Self sufficiency. Independence. The American dream. It is the lie of the enemy. I do not need anyone else, I can do this on my own. Provider? Protector? I can do it. I can make it. It is the lie of the enemy. And we fall so easily. We let it coat our souls like oil lathering skin. We sit in it. We get comfortable in it. Yes, this feels good. And so we settle in. We believe. We get up and go to work, we earn our money, we watch our bank accounts fill. We gather our manna. We eat our fill. We think, “I have gathered. I have done this. Look at what I have done.” And we forget our Husband. The one who gave. The one who provided. The one who filled. It is the lie of the enemy. I see with new eyes.
“It has to be you,” I say. Once again, I look across the table, past the cups and into the eyes that have never moved. “It has to be you.”
I pick up the cup. “Drink this in remembrance of Me,” He says. I drink. I drink from the cup. I accept the covenant gladly. “With this ring, I thee wed.” I drink. Because it has to be Him. It has to be Him. He is my husband. He is my protector. He is my provider. And were it not all stripped from me, would I have seen it? I look around my kitchen, I look at these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. And then I see the sun, dripping down these walls, these pots and pans, these pretty things. He is in it. He is in it all, and yet I hardly see. Not until today. It has to be Him. I want no other. No other husband. I only want Him. And so I drink. Hearty, mouth gulping, pouring down my chin, drink. The new covenant of His blood. Covenant. He and I. My greatest and only Love. I drink, and with each drink, I know. I have found the One my soul loves.
Drink this cup in remembrance of me.
I drink. And I remember. And with grateful gulps I remember. I remember what He has done. I remember what He does. I remember what He will do. For my maker is my Husband, whose name is the Lord of hosts; And my Redeemer is the Holy one of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. My Maker is my Husband. It had to be Him. It was always Him. With this ring I thee wed. With this cup I thee wed. I drink. And I am loved.
It was always Him. It was always Jesus.
Luke 22:42 | I Corinthians 11:25-26 | Song of Songs 3:4 | Isaiah 54:5