I don't know this girl....but I know her story. I know her aunt (who posts her niece's blog updates on facebook so I started to follow Ashley's blog). This girl is about my age - facing the same struggles we all do - singleness, dating, work, figuring out adulthood, only she did it with MS, in a wheelchair for a large portion of her 20s. I follow her blog because she is real and honest about her struggles and doesn't sugarcoat them...but at the same time, her eyes seem to be on Christ. Like everyone else, I have struggles sometimes but seeing someone who is going through more choose to focus on Christ is always an encouragement for me to put my eyes on Christ as well.
Read the article I mentioned above. The author details how the Bride rolling down the aisle in her wheelchair to her eager waiting groom illustrated the gospel message. You will be encouraged and you will be even more excited about a God who can redeem bad circumstances....
"What a captivating picture of Christ’s love. I look at these 2 beautiful young people and all they have been through to get to this day: the diagnoses, the doctors visits, the medications, the tears, the aching parents, family, and friends who want healing, the frustration, the questions, the asking and begging of God as to why…and then this…this beautiful, Christ-centered moment where it all makes a little more sense and becomes a little clearer. God was preparing them for this day, for this moment, for each other so that they can bask in the love and commitment they have for one another for the rest of their lives. Nothing could be more symbolic of us, the Church, the Bride of Christ."
and a God who Loves us eternally as His Bride....despite our brokeness:
"This young couple was such a picture of that to me. I am the bride in the wheelchair who is beaming and can’t wait to finally be by the side of my groom, Jesus, forever. And Jesus is that groom, like Justin, who looks and waits expectantly for me to join Him. When it is all culminated there will be no judgment on my brokenness and sin…Jesus won’t even expect me to get out of my wheelchair…He will just pull up a chair and sit down beside me and welcome me home (just like Justin did to his sweet Ashley at this ceremony)."
I love how the article describes a Savior who loves us and provides both here and eternally (of often we only look at one element of His provision: a God who gives good things or a God who provides us with an eternity with Him, but He does both!)
This article reminds me of one of my favorite verses in a hymn (from "The Sands of Time are Sinking):
The bride eyes not her garment,
But her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory
But on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth
But on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory
Of Emmanuels land.
My absolute favorite part of weddings is the picture of the gospel that is painted for all in attendance. I love how the above referenced article illustrated that. I know how it feels to be sitting through yet another wedding, feeling like I can't relate to marriage and love and blessings. I've done it far too many times. But, every single person sitting at a wedding can benefit from the gospel message illustrated: We have a Bridegroom who adores us in our brokeness and we will be reunited with Him one day!!
So, for those of you who are waiting for the right man/woman, be encouraged, the Lord works in tough circumstances...even when things seem unlikely or to be working against you, He can provide just as He did for this girl. More importantly, for those who feel too broken with sin to walk down the wedding aisle to your Bridegroom, Know that He loves you even in that brokeness and cannot wait to have you by His side forever.