Friday, June 5, 2009

Tossing the Bouquet

It's a tradition at nearly every wedding...the bride tossing the bouquet over her shoulder, wanting someone else to find such happiness and fulfillment...the single woman hopeful to catch it and be the next to marry. As Christians we are called to "toss the bouquet" by sharing our testimony with others. I know firsthand the life-changing power of a relationship with Jesus and I long for others to know that same joy. So here is an "abridged" version of my story...

Today I am living my dream. But the road to get here was not easy. I was blessed to grow up in a loving home where my needs were provided for. However, it was a broken home. The frequent changes that occurred in my family left me feeling insecure. So I took control over every aspect of my life that I could. I excelled in school and tried to do everything "right" to earn the approval of others. I shut myself down emotionally so no one could see my pain and vulnerability. And when I got older, I sought my security from my relationships with boys. While I grew up going to church it was more of a "Sunday morning" thing rather than a faith that permeated my life.

I was around 18 years old when I began losing control. A 2-year romantic relationship had just ended, my self-esteem was in the gutter, and I was heading to college with a major...but no real direction or purpose for my life. I was drawn to a student Christian group on campus. The people there were different. They had a sense of joy and optimism that I longed for. But my skepticism kept me at a distance and I continued making poor choices. Until one day I hit rock bottom. But instead of sinking into despair, I felt something telling me "You were made for more than this"! And the amazing thing was that I believed it. I began to really seek out Jesus, and you know what...I found Him! I thank God that he made His presence known to me before I made a total mess of my life.

In the 12 years since, my life has completely changed. My attitude and outlook on life have improved. I have a clear purpose and direction. I now look to God for my security and self-worth. I find freedom in not needing to be in control. And I'm finding joy in my growing compassion for others, rather than living life for myself. All these changes are a result of God refining me, which sometimes can be painful, but the end result is worth it. Of course my life isn't perfect...I still struggle with issues, I still mess up, I still sin. But now I seek wisdom and correction, I know that I'm loved unconditionally, I have hope for the future, and I live in the freedom of resting securely in the grip of my heavenly Father.

As I throw this bouquet, I pray that you would catch it and if you do not know Jesus as your personal Savior that you would begin to seek Him with all your heart. No need to push your way to the front, or elbow and claw the person standing next to you...the invitation is open to all.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who opens finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." - Matthew 7:7-8


Kenny said...

I know guys don't catch the bouquet but we can still appreciate their beauty and fragrance. Thanks for sharing yours.

Kim said...

Jeanette, this is beautiful! I love the way you describe the tossing of the bouquet and sharing our testimony and how you tied them together. Interesting that we are the Bride of Christ and so it seems appropriate that we would toss the bouquet.

Thanks for sharing your testimony.

With Love

Jeanette said...

Thank you. I do have to admit though that the "tossing the bouquet" idea was not original. In Completely His, Shannon Ethridge makes many different analogies between our earthly marriages and being the Bride of Christ. This was just one that compelled me to write!