strength in the breaks a story of a bridal shower

Strength in the Breaks

“Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
    and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
    and the wheel broken at the well,
 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 NIV

It started with the dishwasher.

It hadn’t been working well for several weeks, and then it stopped running altogether the day before the bridal shower.

My engineer husband was confident he could fix it, but after spending an entire day on the kitchen floor surrounded by pieces of our deconstructed dishwasher, he accepted defeat and instructed me to, “order a new one.”

Luckily, I had already done the research and knew what I wanted. Greg was able to pick one up and install it the same day.

Then while preparing for the party, I dropped one of my favorite green glasses.

It shattered into a thousand pieces when it hit the floor. Luckily, it was easy to spot the green shards and sweep them up. 

The next thing to break were my wedge sandals.

Granted, they were old, but that’s what made them so comfortable.

Luckily, I didn’t fall and break an ankle when the strap broke. I just changed shoes and returned to setting the table. 

On the day of the party, before any guests arrived, two of the three balloons I tied to the mailbox popped.

I didn’t have time to replace them, but fortunately, there was still one blowing in the breeze to mark my home. 

Nothing broke during the bridal shower, but afterwards I dropped one of the hurricane vases filled with flowers.

Luckily, there wasn’t much water left in the tall glass vessel, which made clean up easy, but it got me wondering … 

Why had so many things associated with this bridal shower broken?

If I were a superstitious woman, I might have considered it a bad omen.

“Broken” is not a word that brings comfort. It conjures up feelings of failure, loss, and misfortune. 

But God excels in brokenness.

It’s where he does some of his best work!

The apostle Paul aptly wrote, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV). 

I can’t say I was delighted like Paul was when things were breaking around me, but I can say that I prayed more that day than I normally would have.

And prayer was necessary.

You see, this was no ordinary bridal shower.

I wasn’t even related to the bride—I was merely her Bible study teacher.

The bride-to-be did not have the support of her parents to marry, and I wasn’t even sure if the mother-of-the bride would attend the gathering, or if she did, how she would conduct herself.

I even questioned whether I was doing the right thing by hosting this shower. 

But here’s what I did know: Both the bride and the groom not only loved each other, they loved God. He came first in their lives.

Yes, they were young. Yes, they came from different cultures. Yes, their marriage would take them to a different state.

But in all things, they continued to seek God’s direction and rely on His strength to see them through. 

Human love is not enough, it’s never enough. I know this from experience.

My first marriage ended in divorce because God was not in the mix.

The Bible clearly states that God designed marriage so that man would not be alone (Genesis 2:14). However, couples are to be evenly yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14) and keep God in the relationship. “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Anything else courts disaster.

In the Jewish culture it is customary for the groom to stomp on a glass during the wedding ceremony to shatter it.

This serves to remind the guests that, like the Jerusalem Temple, things can be destroyed. Therefore, marriage is to be treated with special care and attention, not only by the couple, but also by the family and friends who surround them. 

When I married Greg, the pastor turned us to face the congregation. Then he looked directly at those who had gathered in the church and gave this directive: “Do not meddle in this marriage.” It was his way of saying, “Allow this couple to find the path that God has paved for them.” 

The bridal shower turned out to be a huge success, and there are pictures to prove it.

There was joy, there was laughter, there was good food and homemade bridal sugar cookies.

The bride-to-be was overwhelmed, whereas her mother was quiet. I’m not sure what she thought of it all, but she surely recognized how much her daughter was loved, supported, and respected for her decision to marry a God-loving man. 

I’ve now been married for 20 years to the most wonderful husband a woman could ever imagine. He’s not perfect, and neither am I, but God is. And that’s what matters.

Marriage isn’t easy. In fact, sometimes it’s a battlefield.

Angry words will be spoken, tears will fall, limits will be tested, and feelings will be hurt.

For believers, however, we can rest in the assurance that God loves us deeply, will provide us with strength to endure, and will piece us back together when we break.

Family and possessions may fail us, but God never will.   

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