Often a bridesmaid and someday a bride

Renee Ann Smith —  October 4, 2010 — 21 Comments

Boaz notices Ruth gleaning in the fields

Married or single, content, hurting, or hoping, we all love a story with a touch of romance.

As a young Christian, I used to feel guilty about this. I assumed my penchant for romantic tales meant I had the wrong focus or wasn’t allowing God to meet my needs.

I decided to root out the origin of this frivolous bent and discovered something startling. I wasn’t suffering from an overly developed Cinderella complex. I truly was destined to be a bride!

Consider this verse from Isaiah, “As a young man marries a maiden, so your sons marry you. As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”

I write this even though one thing I’ve never been is a bride. At my age, I don’t expect to claim that title here on earth. But I am engaged. The Lord is my betrothed. Oh, not in some weird, delusional way. It’s true for all Christians. Any born again believer is part of the bride of Christ.

God spoke the vow to us in His Word: “I [God] will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hosea)

And God created courtship and marriage as way of wearing His heart on His sleeve. Each time we read of a noble man wooing his pure-of-heart bride, we’re to be reminded of the One who pursues us.

I have heard people question the value of Christian novels and stories, belittling them as pure escapism. Well, I say, tell that to the Master Storyteller!

God recorded a wealth of dramas, adventures, and romances in the Bible. I love the stories of Ruth and Rahab and the good men who loved and claimed them.

Plus, not all the stories in the Bible actually occurred. Wouldn’t parables qualify as Christian fiction? Are these accounts only for the purpose of hermeneutical analysis? Are they not there to touch our hearts?

C. S. Lewis stated my point in a much more academic way, “Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.”

Just so. Well-written Christian novels can water us when we’re thirsting for inspiration and hope.

Contrary to what some might think, I don’t read romances to forget the reality of my single life. (Always a bridesmaid, never a bride?) And romance in a novel doesn’t leave me bitter over the choices God has made for me.

When I read a romance, I imagine my future. The day when my Heavenly bridegroom will return and carry me to the home He prepared for me in His Father’s House.

Inspirational romance stories remind me what it feels like to be chosen. In spite of the fact that there are others who are beautiful, intelligent, talented, and sophisticated—God chose me!

As I celebrate someone else’s romance, I’m reminded of my relationship with the Lord. I, too, am claimed by my Bridegroom. I am taken into His confidence. I am protected and cared for. I am special because He loves me.

One of the first Christian novel series which spoke to me in a personal way was The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers. Hadassah, the main character she created, shines like a beacon of sweetness and purity in the dark world of sinful Rome.

Two aspects of Hadassah’s story touched me. First, she bears a disfiguring scar. Having suffered the ravages of teenage acne, I immediately related to her. And I love that she is no Cinderella, who instantly becomes beautiful when pulled from her corner by the handsome prince. The other characters learn to look past her outward appearance and cherish her inner person.

Second, though fictional, her character made me think of Heaven in a new way. I realized Heaven will be filled with women from all different cultures and time periods in history. Yet our God met their needs, fulfilled their dreams, comforted their sorrows—I guess we’ll have a lot in common!

Not all of the novels I’ve read by talented Christian authors have such deep messages. Sometimes their charming, quirky characters have simply made my heart smile, and there were days when I desperately needed that.

Julie Lessman, Christian author

I’m reminded of a comment by Julie Lessman, author of A Hope Undaunted, “The truth is we are all creatures who are starved for love, created by a God who is starved for ours.”

This is why so many Christian authors write romance into their stories and why so many of us respond to that winsome theme.

So I appreciate the folks who invest their time and talent creating new worlds and inhabiting them with such lovely and interesting creatures. They do it not to give us an escape from this world. But to help us remember all that we have in Christ now and all that will be ours in the world to come.

“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”

As I’ve said before, comments to a blogger are like a warm fire on a cold day or a kind smile from a stranger or a pat on the back . . . I could go on and on if you won’t! But if you care to, share a favorite title and author in the comments section. And come back later in the week for a new book giveaway from another wonderful Christian writer!

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

21 responses to Often a bridesmaid and someday a bride

  1. Great perspective, Renee! I appreciate the talent for writing with which God has gifted you.

  2. Thanks for participating in the blogging ministry week. Really what my blog needs to be every day :). I loved the C.S. Lewis quote. I, too, have been very blessed by Francine Rivers (especially Redeeming Love) and Julie Lessman. Two new-to-me authors who have blessed me are M.L. Tyndall and T.L. Higley.

  3. Renee!!! Goodness … somebody quoted me!!! 🙂 Doesn’t happen very often, so thank you for the thrill. 🙂

    Beautiful article, by the way, and I love the title of your blog — Doorkeeper — VERY cool!!

    Have a blessed day!

    Hugs,
    Julie

  4. Jessica Gardner October 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I have to admit I was very intrigued by the title of your entry, and that is why I read it. I often wondered myself why so many were drawn into the romantic Christian novels, as I was. I enjoyed your insight into this question. I love that you are so open in your entries, and that is part of what I love about your blog. Keep writing, and I will keep reading:) You have the ability to be a great writer.

  5. Hi Renee,
    I just stumbled across your blog because I’m one of Julie Lessman’s reader friends! I noticed your post on her FB page. 🙂 I just wanted to comment and say that I enjoyed reading a few of your posts. And I love the story of Mary and the pics – she is so obviously a believer in Jesus – her face just glows! You can pass that along…tell her I’m from NZ! ;D
    Keep up the writing…I know what you mean about comments!! I’ve just started blogging really! Feel free to visit! 🙂
    Elizabeth

  6. Hey Renee, I really appreciate your writing about this, & identify with many of your comments here. I too do not expect to ever be a bride here in this life, but I am blessed to have the Perfect Bridegroom, & look forward to His coming to claim His own. I have also been encouraged, blessed & inspired by many Christian romance books, too many to mention. Have enjoyed reading your blog entries. Thanks for sharing. Love in Christ, Peg.

  7. Bless your dear heart, Renee! What an inspiring blog!

    Love and blessings,
    Miriam.

  8. I’m new to your blog today, and glad I found it 🙂 Mark of the Lion Series is my all time favorite! Such a powerful story!!! Thanks for putting into perspective Christian Fiction.

  9. A last, a different perspective – as always, a good spirit – with much admiration, a truly talented author. Good work, Miss Smith. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  10. Renee, Oh you have an absolutely beautiful blog! And this post really speaks to me and my romance-loving heart! Love the Julie quote and everything you shared here. So heartfelt and honoring of Him. Christ really is our bridegroom and we are each beautiful brides! Not only that, He cares for us as no earthly husband can or would.

    Bless you for such uplifting words. Will add you to my blogroll.

  11. What a beautiful picture you paint! I love thinking of the Lord as our Master Storyteller – really resonates with this former English major. 😉 Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading more from you!

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