A few weeks ago as I was digging through boxes and containers in preparation for a garage sale, I happened upon something special.
As I dug through the clothing sorting it into piles I came to the bottom of the large plastic container, and there it was. My wedding dress. Still in the plastic dress carrier I had placed it in on that day over 5 years ago.
I slowly unzipped the carrier to glimpse at the beauty and spend a few moments reminiscing back to that day. And then, my 3 year old spotted it.
Riley: “What’s that mommy?”
Me: “It’s my wedding dress.”
Riley: “OOO, it’s so pretty!!! Put it on mommy, put it on!!!”
She insisted, and really, who am I to argue with this persistent and adorable 3 year old?!? SO, I had to try it on (let’s be honest, I was dying to try it on and just needed a good excuse).
Some moments of humor followed as Riley proceeded with bright eyes and an exuberant smile to exclaim, “Mommy, you’re Cinderella!!!” So, good news parents, no need to take your kids to Disney World, just throw on that old wedding dress and watch them bubble over in excitement :). Riley even insisted that we snap a few pictures, and so we did.
As I looked back over those photos later that day, I couldn’t help but notice a few things.
You see, the first time I wore that wedding dress over 5 years ago, I was a bride. And, for that day, I had been preparing for months! As I look back at photos from my wedding day there are a few things I can see. I was probably in the best shape of my life on that day. I had been eating healthy and exercising to ensure that my dress fit just perfectly. My hair was fixed and hair sprayed into place and my makeup had been done at a local salon. My hands were newly manicured. I wore new jewelry that had not been worn before. Sparkling white shoes. My dress was freshly pressed, no wrinkles. The pictures from that day look like something out of a bridal magazine, retouched, everyone perfectly placed.
And now, on this day, as I put on that dress, I am a wife. As I glanced back over those pictures, I noticed something a little different.
I noticed a face with no makeup. I noticed tired eyes and a messy bun piled atop my head. My nails were NOT perfectly manicured, in fact I cannot remember the last time they have been. There was no sparkling new jewelry to adorn me and the dress that was once perfectly pressed was now enthralled with wrinkles from the storage it had been placed in.
The pictures, well I found them quite comical. I snapped pictures with my kids, who were running around in nothing but their underpants. The pictures revealed a untidy house with toys scattered about, an unmade bed that I had not gotten to from the night before, and piles and piles of stuff being prepared for garage sale time.
The truth is, those pictures taken on my wedding day, the first time I ever wore that dress, well, they are very special to me. It was a day that changed my life. But, in reality, the pictures taken 5 years later in the craziness of my house, they look a lot more like REAL life.
Today, we live in a society where we take months, sometimes even years, preparing for that day when we will become a bride. After all, it is something many of us have dreamed about since childhood, but the image we often have in mind is the retouched, perfectly placed wedding day photo.
Today, my friend, if you are not married I want to encourage you. When that time comes, it will be beautiful, and I hope you get some gorgeous wedding day photos to hold onto forever. BUT, know that after that day, life happens. Spend MORE time preparing to be a wife (or husband if you boys are reading this), than you take to be a bride (groom). Spend more energy investing in a solid relationship with your future spouse than you spend investing in planning for that 1 day. Because you are a bride ONLY 1 day, but you will be a wife for the rest of your life.
If you are already married, I’m sure you can relate. BUT, this lesson is for you (and me) too. It is still our responsibility to spend time and energy investing in our marriage. We never stop preparing to be the best wife possible. AND, sometimes we must let go of the retouched photo life that we had pictured. Let go of your unrealistic expectations and embrace the messy, craziness that is life.
The sparkle of that 1 day will fade. BUT, it is your choice. What will your life as a wife look like?
Proverbs 31:10 “A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.”
Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. ”