Marian Jordan Ellis from Redeemed Girl Ministries shares a personal account of her journey to her own wedding and her realization that every “no” along the way was His “yes” to the best.
Raw, unfiltered emotion hit me like a mighty rushing wind. As I took my first steps to walk down the aisle on my father’s arm, the sheer intensity of the moment ripped through me. I was completely undone. Just as wind precedes rain, the tears quickly began to fall. When I say tears, I do mean sobs. Yes, I cried a full-on-ugly cry all the way down the aisle on my wedding day. That's not exactly what one would want in photos that last a lifetime. Yet, at thirty-eight years old, it should not surprise anyone that I shed a few tears, but the full extent of the crying bears explanation.
First, and by far, the easiest emotion to explain, was my pure, unbridled joy. Like rain on a sunny day, tears mingled with radiance. Later, when asked by a five-year old if I was crying because I was sad, I said, “Oh no, precious, I cried because that was the happiest day of my life.” My joy was not containable and it seeped out of every pore, and tear duct, of my body.
Gratitude hit me next. For starters, after months of planning, I finally saw my family's old barn transformed into a cathedral. It was in one word: breathtaking. I was beyond thankful to friends and family who worked tirelessly to plan and execute my dream wedding. It was a labor of love, and I, its humbled recipient. Then, gratefulness hit me once again as we entered and I saw beloved faces, friends and family who traveled from across the nation to show their support and join our celebration. With each face, fresh tears. Their support was a gift, just like God’s grace—unmerited.
Primarily, I found myself overwhelmed with sheer thankfulness to my loving Heavenly Father, whose sovereign goodness and perfect plan arranged that day. Grasping the bigger story, grateful tears rolled down my cheeks as I realized that my Heavenly Father loved me too much to let me settle for less than His best. Every broken heart and all those years of waiting were a gift. He loved me enough to allow me to wait, long past my timetable, for His plan, for His time and for His man. My Heavenly Father wanted me to be cherished and every “no” along the way was His “yes” to the best.
Then I saw him, my groom. He stood, eyes beaming with his trademark beautiful smile, and he watched me, with his own tears, as I walked towards him. In that moment… everyone else disappeared. I can’t tell you how much I love this man. At this point, words just fall flat. He is by far the kindest, most Christ-like man that I’ve ever met. Sure, I was extremely grateful for the gift that Justin is, but when I saw his face, a new emotion unleashed. Relief.
Relief? This may seem a strange emotion for a bride to feel on her wedding day, but honestly, I can’t think of a better way to express the ultimate source of my tears. For it was when I looked into his eyes, and the relief washed over me, that the true sobs broke forth. We’ve all witnessed this kind of emotion before. Perhaps you’ve seen it in a movie, or in a touching airport reunion. It’s that moment when the war ends, the troops come home and the loved ones race into each other’s arms. Those aren’t tears of sorrow, but tears bursting forth from a well called “relief.” The waiting, the worry, the war… it’s finally over. Sweet relief.
In many ways, my single years were a type of war zone. I battled through heartbreaks and loneliness. While dating, I fought the hard battle for purity and tried to never settle for less that God’s best. But the true weariness was the years of standing against an invisible enemy, who despises God’s glory, and seeks to detour Christians away from God’s good and perfect will. All those years Satan tempted me to settle, to follow the world’s ways and forsake the desire of my heart to be cherished. My single years were a faith walk… to trust in God’s promises, even when my eyes could not see their fulfillment. Therefore, when I saw Justin’s face, I knew, God’s best was worth fighting for, it was worth waiting for and yes, it was worth praying for. God’s best was worth it all. And relief, sweet relief, flooded my heart.
While dear friends sang my favorite hymn, Fairest Lord Jesus, we arrived at the altar for my father to give my hand to my groom. In that moment I felt the powerful Presence of God rest on that Texas hilltop. Then, looking up, I saw it. Positioned high above the altar, at the top of the barn and the central point of the ceremony, was the most gorgeous cross of white flowers—the symbol of God’s perfect love and a reminder of my fairest Lord Jesus, my first love, who mercifully died to redeem my life. Without Him, I would have never stood at that altar.
As the worship team transitioned to the Doxology and sang, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” a powerful rushing wind whipped through, lifting my veil to the heavens. We were standing on Holy ground. It was a reminder from the Lord that marriage is sacred. And as our God was lifted high in praise, Jesus graced us with the outpouring of His Spirit. In response to His presence, I lifted my bouquet high in praise and wept sweet tears of worship to my God.