I pull up to the drive-thru window for the third time this week (such is life sometimes with three kids). I hand my credit card to the cashier, fully anticipating her response . . .
“Awww, that’s so cute! Is that YOU?”
Thanks to my thoughtful husband and the friendly folks at Capital One, my card displays an eight-year-old wedding photo of − you guessed it, me and my husband! Why I would carry around a card with someone else’s wedding photo is beyond me, but alas, they ask me. Every. Single. Time.
“Is that YOU?”
“Yes, it is,” I usually respond with a forced smile.
But the real answer is much more complicated.
I mean, I get why they ask. Most days I look in the mirror and barely recognize myself.
Who is this lumpy, tired woman with grey hairs, and where did you put that skinny, blonde-haired beauty?
The truth is, the young bride on the card isn’t me. The girl who had time to exercise, style her hair into something other than a mom bun, and spontaneously go see a movie with her husband has disappeared.
Maybe you can relate. I’m sure I’m not the only woman who doesn’t recognize her own reflection.
The good news — for you and me both — is that the young bride didn’t just disappear. God transformed her into a new and different woman.
A woman whose curves and stretch marks represent the hard work of carrying, delivering, and loving tiny humans.
A woman whose grey hairs come from enduring the hard stuff of life — real pain and suffering and trials of various kinds (James 1:2).
A woman whose face is a road map of her soul — filled with lines of joy and worry and sorrow.
A woman who God has refined and covered with beautiful robes of righteousness, “as a bride adorns herself with jewels” (Isaiah 61:10).
Friends, when we are tempted to mourn the bride of our youth, we need to remember God’s promises. He says He will grant those who mourn “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).
God will use marriage, kids, hardship, and life to plant our roots down deeper so that He can grow us into mighty oaks of righteousness.
If you are in Christ, He is already doing a good work in you. Whether you have lots of rings in your trunk or just a few, trust that He will be faithful to grow you into a planting of the LORD for His glory.
The next time the cashier inevitably asks, “Is that YOU?”, I think I’ll smile and respond, “A younger me. God has grown me up a bit.” Then I’ll pause to remember that while I may not be the young bride on that card, my God rejoices over me just as my own groom rejoiced over me on our wedding day.
And He rejoices over you, too.