A couple weeks ago a good friend of mine and I had a “Girls Night.” We had the essentials: cookie dough, cozy blankets, boy talk, and a movie! So after we baked cookies, chatted about life, and curled up on the couch, we then watched the new Cinderella movie. And of course we had a great time! I feel like every time I see the new Cinderella movie I fall more in love with it. It’s such a sweet movie displaying such a pure and genuine romance. After facing hardship and being enslaved to her stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella has a chance meeting with the prince of the land and falls in love! And she finds acceptance and ultimately new life by finding this love of her life. Of course, in the end, Prince Charming and Cinderella end up living happily ever after together!
Ok- so I might be a little sappy with my love for Cinderella. And I might be a little cheesier right now when it comes to romance… because I recently got engaged! The Lord has been so gracious to bless me with a kind and godly man who loves me unconditionally and who seeks to serve me and always point me to Christ. My fiancé is someone I truly do admire and someone who challenges me daily. He has become my best friend and partner in life; he is my own Prince Charming. And even with ups and downs in our relationship, he accepts me and doesn’t give up on us.
Ever since Tyler got on his knee and asked me to marry him, it’s been such an exciting adventure looking into wedding plans and getting ideas! And it’s been such a blessing to have such supportive friends and family! To be perfectly honest though, at times our relationship has also proven to be difficult and challenging. Tyler and I are both humans with flaws and we both have our own struggles with sin, selfishness, and miscommunication. We have also faced spiritual warfare on our relationship at times through various ways. Despite all this, the Lord has been the glue to hold Tyler and me together through it all. And I am so very grateful.
As you can hopefully see, I really do love my fiancé so much. And yet, I cannot truly give him my entire heart. Because the truth is- I’m already in love and married to a different groom! You might be thinking, “What?!” And I can understand your confusion! But before you get too mixed up, let me better explain.
My true love story began when I was 14 years old, and to this day it still stands as the most romantic love story I have ever experienced! You see, I had grown up in church, was involved in Sunday school and youth group, and different church activities. I even went to church weekly and read my Bible; I knew all the answers when it came to Christianity. Yet, when I was 14 I felt like something was missing in my life. I felt this emptiness, and loneliness…and I didn’t know why exactly.
And that’s when He came into my life- my forever true love!
I can remember it just like it was yesterday- that magical moment of encountering my groom! He wasn’t exactly what I expected. Yet, He loved me and pursued after my heart and soul like none other. He fulfilled me and knew the inner-most details about me. And He gave me joy I had never experienced before! My heart was soaring high and I even felt like a brand new person after meeting Him!
You see, in that time of brokenness and confusion in my life, I found true love through Jesus Christ. The Spirit of God had revealed to me how I needed the Lord. Even though I already believed in Jesus and went to church, and had even walked down the aisle at a younger age to ask Jesus into my heart and be baptized, that did not mean I truly was a Christian. And so at 14 years old I realized for the first time that I lacked authenticity when it came to being a disciple of Christ.
I went through the motions of Christianity and did all the right things and was a “good person,”but that was not enough.
I remember the humbling night of falling to my knees in my bedroom and crying out to God. I don’t remember any magic words I said. I just remember repenting and genuinely recognizing my need for Him. And I told the Lord I wanted to be His child and follow Him. I remember I instantly felt this unshakable peace and joy fill me! It truly was an unforgettable moment. You see, at that exact moment when I felt His presence in me, I became a true disciple of Christ! I entered into a covenant- sort of like a marriage covenant- with the Lord by dying to self and asking Jesus to be the Lord and boss of my life. I said “I Do” to Jesus and “No” to the world and my flesh.
An earthly marriage is to reflect the relationship between Christ and His bride.
Those who are His disciples make up the bride of Christ. So the Lord is the ultimate Bridegroom, and He loves and pursues His bride through the cross and through grace. When sin entered the world, we all became imperfect sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. And God’s Word tells us that as sinners we deserve death and eternal separation from God. Yet Jesus came to earth in order to be that perfect sacrifice and to cover all the sin in the world. It is because of Jesus’ love and unselfishness that we are able to go to God, repent of our sin, and follow Him as Lord of our life. We have the ability to have a relationship with the God and creator of this world because the ultimate Bridegroom has the most selfless and genuine love in the universe for His bride! This Bridegroom cares for His bride so much, that He even provided His Word- the Bible- as a love letter displaying His love for His bride.
The Gospel is the greatest love story ever!
It is the good news of hope, love, grace, forgiveness, and new life. The truth is, my fiancé will never compare to my love story with Christ. Remember how I mentioned my fiancé and I both have flaws? The greatest Bridegroom has no flaws- He is perfect and Holy, Holy, Holy! This means the Lord is righteous, set-apart, and pure in all ways and in His love for His bride. And instead of providing just an engagement ring, the ultimate Bridegroom provides redemption from our sin and eternal salvation! He provides hope and joy! And just like in the fairy tale when Cinderella found acceptance and new life through her Prince, we can find acceptance, new life, and true unshakable love only through the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the best Bridegroom, and I am honored to be part of His bride.
The name’s Emily Gray. Jesus is her life. Even though she messes up every day, the Lord is good and faithful and His perfect love and grace keeps her going. Other fun things to know: She is from Memphis, and family and friends mean the world to her. Her dog, Coco, is her biggest pal! Sweet tea is a favorite, and she loves photography. Emily went to undergrad at Mississippi College and received her bachelor’s in Christian Studies. Now she is in grad school at Mid- America Baptist Theological Seminary. The Lord has given Emily a passion for girl’s ministry, and she gives Jesus the glory for it all! Join her on Facebook.