I have many fond memories of shopping for my back-to-school wardrobe each August. In sixth grade, the style was “Saturday Night Fever” satin jackets… eighth grade was walking shorts with argyle socks and penny loafers. Then as a high school freshman, I began wearing more “businesslike” attire – pencil skirts and suit jackets, or tailored pants and crisp blouses. I know, it sounds a little mature for a high school girl, but my father drilled it into me that one should “dress for success!”
One of my main challenges, however, was affording such clothes. My mother said I had “caviar taste with a cheeseburger budget.”
Fast forward several years, and I faced the same challenge while shopping for a wedding dress. Wanting my husband to love the dress I was wearing as I walked down the aisle, I took him shopping at a bridal store after he proposed. I explained, “We’re not here to buy a dress today. I’m just going to ask the clerk to pick out ten very different styles. You tell me what you like or dislike, okay?” He nodded in consent.
The first dress I tried on was a candlelight white designer gown with long, sequin-adorned sleeves… and a $2,000 price tag. Nothing could have prepared me for the look on Greg’s face when I stepped out of the dressing room. Stunned, he insisted, “Shannon, THAT is the dress!”
I argued, “It CAN’T be the dress! You’re not supposed to see me in it, and I can’t afford this one anyway!” Two days later I open a card from Greg with a blank check inside. He wrote, “I can’t get that dress out of my mind, so I’d like to give it to you as my wedding present.”
How does a girl resist such a gift? I wanted to “dress for success” on my wedding day, and I knew my groom would be disappointed to see me walking down the aisle in any other gown! Greg knew I couldn’t afford to buy that dress, but he could, so He did.
Isn’t that just like what Jesus has done for us? We’re promised in scripture that He’s returning as a Heavenly Bridegroom , and that we’ll be His “pure and spotless bride” who’s dressed in the “finest white linen, bright and clean” (see Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-9). However, we can’t afford such a wedding garment. We simply can’t clothe ourselves in righteousness. It’s a gift that’s only bestowed upon us by God’s grace and the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.
I rejoice that my Heavenly wardrobe has already been purchased, and that I’m sure to be “dressed for eternal success” as the beloved bride of Christ! I pray you are, too!
P.S. Connect with me at http://www.womenoffaith.com/community/members/shannonethridge/