Always a Bridesmaid (Seriously Single Series - Part Two)
Let’s not pretend it doesn’t hurt.
One of my sweet friends turned to me in a bowling alley and said “When are you doing that single series? Is it all okay? Is that what it’s about? Is it all okay?”
Sometimes it isn’t.
I think the greatest gift I could give her, and you, is to state that honestly.
Will it all be okay? For sure.
Is it okay right now?
But sometimes it isn’t. It really really REALLY isn’t.
And you can take it to the prayer room, and dress the wound with Scripture, and choke the medicine down with ice-cream, and wear your best and smile your brightest and love the Lord with all of your sweet little cotton picking, heel wearing, gumbo making heart and it will actually still not be okay.
You can be so happy for everyone else your heart threatens to burst and so sad for you it threatens to quit on you and not at all okay and that’s okay.
It hurts. Enough weddings happen and that “always a bridesmaid” phrase can get tattooed straight into your ego. So I called my Hyphen Pastor’s wife and I informed her we would be having an honest conversation. (People need to know, by the way, where you’re actually at. It’s super important. Whatever the truth is – tell it. Not in a Facebook status. Not in a public announcement to everyone you know. But pick someone trustworthy and tell them the truth.)
In this conversation, I said to her this phrase:
“….. which is great. But I didn’t want a ministry. I wanted a marriage.”
Whoa. I went there. There are places locked up inside of you you might never visit. But if you don’t go there, you don’t take the Lord with you there. And He wants into all of the places. You need Him in all of the spaces.
Because I went there, He went there too. We had some discussions. The conversation went something like this:
“Did you tell Larissa you didn’t want a ministry, you wanted a marriage?”
“Why? You don’t agree with that?”
“Do you even agree with that?”
“Not every day. Probably not. I actually don't think I would trade my gifts or calling for anything when it comes down to it. But think about it. I wasn’t sitting around dreaming about ministry as a child.”
“You weren’t? Why don’t you look back again?”
When He said that, He took me there. He brought me back to that little girl. You know what I saw? Someone who played dress up all the time. She lined all of her stuffed animals up in a row and took them to church. When they got there she sang, she took up the offering, she preached the sermon, she gave the altar call, she prayed through, she prayed everyone else through. Her hands were always full. She held fake microphones where she sang power ballads and preached sermons. She held pens and pencils where she took people’s “orders” and wrote novels and poems and plays. She held baby dolls which she cared for efficiently and tenderly. She set up spas in her living room, and gave all of her friend’s pedicures and foot massages. She hosted a fake funeral at least once a week. She built Barbie worlds and took photos and hosted tea parties and baked cakes and used the good dishes when she did it. That little girl, she was just like me, and I noticed something interesting about her:
She staged play weddings a lot. The child had a wedding almost weekly. She planned the menu, she made the seating chart, she picked out the outfits, she took the pictures, she officiated the ceremony, and she got dressed up and carried a bouquet of flowers like a boss. She was one hundred percent in charge of the show, and she made one of her friends (or, pictured here, her tiny cousin) the bride every single time.
That’s right. Even then, I was always a bridesmaid.
You are you, you know. You are you right now. By yourself. Or with someone. Engaged. Or married. You are uniquely you. I can only imagine the joy that comes with marriage, but there is joy here. And twenty-nine year old Melinda, she is still doing everything four year old Melinda loved to do. She’s actually only ever getting better, and so is her life.
And this season, the one where two of my closest are having weddings mere days apart? I love it. That is the truth. I literally love it. Because I don’t have to be in love with someone to be in love with my life.
I’m still a bridesmaid and I’m still me. They say “wherever you go, there you are.” I’ve seen enough people get married to know they wake up the next morning with the same temperament, same disposition, same passions, dreams, and callings they went to bed with the night before. If they’ve married right all of those things are enhanced, sometimes those things are diminished, but they are still themselves. Who God made them to be.
We’re His bride every day, after all.
So here's what I do. I pray this verse over myself every morning. "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." – Psalm 17: 15 When I need to go be by myself, I go sit somewhere by myself. When I need to cry, I cry. When I get angry, I allow myself to be angry. I also love my life, laugh long, and put the "party" in "wedding party." I do that pretty well actually. I always have.
You know what I really think? I think he's out there. I believe it for you. I believe it hard. I believe it for me too. I do. (I mean, I might make biscuits from a bag but I make my gravy from scratch and good gracious to gravy there is no reason someone should be living without that for the rest of his life...) I digress. I do believe it. That's what I really think. It is okay in the end. Someone is coming for you. One day you'll wake up and you'll be sharing your life with someone.
It's probably best then, that when you do, you actually have a life to share.
So get out there and host some fake funerals or something. Love the life you've got. I'll bet the life you've got, is an awful lot.