Lately I’ve been looking at Christian/Biblical/Prophetic art. The images that make my heart stir the most are bride portraits where they either are also wearing part of the Armor of God (Ephesians 6, I believe) or are looking beyond, in a longing way, for what I interpret to be her Groom, Jesus.
Awhile ago a friend shared a story about being a wedding and thinking about the same thing as the bride looked ravishing in her white gown, veil, hair just so, a beautiful woman so excited to unite with her groom. But something happened between the altar and the reception that is one of those images you don’t want to think about—one of those pictures where one of these things doesn’t belong.
The woman in her gorgeous dress and perfect hair was taking a huge drag on her cigarette.
I’m not condemning smokers, it’s the image and teachable moment I personally extracted. Everything about her beauty changed to my friend when she saw the swirl of smoke and ash dripping off the bride onto her own gown.
I had a similar experience a couple days ago.
I was at the post office and saw a woman so put together on the outside I admired her. Her haircut was perfect for her. She wore a navy business suit that looked custom made to fit only her. Her heels would have been a straight shot to the ER for me, but she walked with elegance. I’m not in the habit of looking at women and being impressed by outside features, but she really was a sight to behold. I thought she was beautiful.
Then I saw her pivot just enough that I realized she wasn’t going inside the post office just yet, she needed to finish her smoke.
It was so much more than having a cigarette that ruined the image. The ash she had going on that thing was longer than the cigarette itself. The smell enveloped her like an invisible jail cell. When she entered the building shortly after me, the ash was gone, cigarette expired, but the aroma was anything but beautiful.
And in a flash, I couldn’t hold onto that beautiful image anymore.
It was more than a visual experience, it was a reminder about my choices. Earlier in the week things didn’t go my way and I reacted in a way that wasn’t holy, or even mature. No matter how great my pants fit that day or how perfect I thought my hair turned out, I spewed butt ugly everywhere I went while I was in my little snit.
I think we’re all guilty of that. And as a woman who would like to be identified as a woman in a deep relationship with Christ, I need to remember the way I conduct myself and treat others could very well come across as a beautiful bride dumping cigarette ash all over her dress.
There’s nothing beautiful in that.
The good news is God gets us. He knows we’re going to mess up, and although that doesn’t excuse my choices, His forgiveness is wrapped even tighter around us than the ring of smoke that surrounded the post office woman. In fact, that’s an aroma I want, His forgiveness and grace.
How about you?
Bride image courtesy of katya_alagich