There’s Gonna Be a Wedding!

Attending a 4 day conference focusing almost entirely on romance was a shock to my system.  Like drinking water from a fire hose…that’s how I describe my experiences and emotions in the CAPTIVATING retreat.   

I know enough about God to unequivocally profess His love for me even in painful circumstances where I completely lack understanding.   I don’t doubt God or His presence as he carried me through some of the most excruciating journeys a human being could ever experience.  God’s love has never been in question for me.   Frankly, my doubts centered in the value of romantic love.  Pain from human relationships abated my desire for romance. 

My mindset venturing into the CAPTIVATING retreat dissuaded me.  ‘Romance feels too much like chasing a fantasy.’  It felt that way because that’s how it presents for most of us, a very elusive dream.  I raised the white flag, surrendering to the conclusion my desires for romance must be taken captive and imprisoned.

I reasoned love can take many forms.  I love Christ and He has given me compassion & a heart to serve His daughters.  I could devote my life continuing to serve in women’s ministries and find deep fulfillment therein.  Too, I have many meaningful platonic friendships with men.  I convinced myself that is enough, I can live without romance.  Mine was a noble and practical pursuit.  Love God, serve His children, be a good friend, forgo silly romantic notions.

But there stood Stasi Eldredge systematically…and Biblically…unraveling my commitment to live a life without romance.  Her words pierced me to the core.  “You were created for romance.  In fact, your deepest desires… to be pursued, fought for, cherished above all others…are where you bear the image of God.”   

My deepest desires are where I bear the image of God?  God desires romance?  What a foreign concept.

All my life I’ve heard and believed God loves me.  While a stretch for some people to grasp, it isn’t for me.  I have experienced the love of God much as I felt the love of my Daddy when I was a child.  I embrace the concept of Abba/Daddy, crawling up on his lap, pouring out my heart to Him and listening for His wise counsel.   I cherish my times alone with Abba.  I treasure Scriptures declaring my standing as a child of God.

The message of CAPTIVATING pulled me in a completely different direction.  This speaker challenged me to believe God loves me with a deep romantic love.  She even invoked Scriptures to back it up, ones I’d heard many times about being created in God’s image and God giving me the desires of my heart, i.e., putting desires into my heart.  {Genesis 1:27; Psalm 37:4}

For as long as I can remember I declined putting too much emphasis on romance.  I’m too practical to believe “Love conquers all.”  I know first-hand how much work relationships take and even then, heartache and pain always factor into the equation.

To expect any man to provide a font of endless romance is unrealistic and unfair to men.   For that very reason, I purposefully renounced chick flicks years ago.  All those Hollywood scenes of impure fantasy stirred up longings impossible for a mere mortal to fulfill.

 If I wasn’t in a relationship with a man, watching Jack & Rose in Titanic created longings for something out of reach.  Ensuing dissatisfaction disgruntled me and my prayer life became one on-going gripe session…  “God, when are you going to bring me a nice man?  Don’t you realize how long I’ve waited?  Do you care that I am bearing all life’s burdens alone or that I have no one to share life’s Joys with?”  

If I was in a relationship, scenes from The Notebook rendered me frustrated.  My man didn’t devote every ounce of his being to me like Noah did for his beloved Allie.  Guess who I took that frustration out on??

I can’t adequately articulate the significance of the moment God’s romance candle first flickered inside my heart.  I realized if my heart bears the image of God’s heart, it must be true…He too, longs for romance as much or more than I do.  AND if GOD is the One who put the desire for romance in my heart, He would never give a desire which endlessly frustrates me or offers no possibility of being fulfilled.  Only a cruel God would do such a thing.  I have walked with the Lord long enough to know He could never be cruel. 

The missing link…

In the course of the CAPTIVATING retreat I felt the Holy Spirit telling me my desires are not wrong but where I go to with those desires continually causes me pain and grief.  How many times have I taken my longings to a false lover?  All the years following the dissolution of my marriage, I carried secret pride in managing to remain pure in my body.  Yet purity of heart escaped me.  I peddled my hungering for love and acceptance, my longings to be delighted in, to men who could never meet those deep desires of my soul. 

For days the speaker communicated romance was God’s idea.  All things I consider romantic…flowers, moonlight, sweet fragrances, soft music, a gentle kiss, the sound of ocean waves or a waterfall, the sight of twinkling stars…those were created by God.  Romance was not only God’s idea, it is His constant gift all around me! 

For years my Lord patiently waited, wooing me while I embraced a fantasy.  He pursued me with fields of wild flowers, love songs of birds outside my window greeting my mornings, romantic whispers of ocean waves, moonlight and gentle rain to caress my skin, breezes to tenderly kiss my face, aspen leaves wildly applauding my presence, glorious sunsets across a breath-taking mountainous landscape and diamonds in the night sky beckoning me to choose one for my engagement ring from the Creator of the universe!

 In all of creation, God continually shouts, “I LOVE YOU! YOU HAVE CAPTIVATED MY HEART!”

In designing me in His image, He crafted a heart longing to be romanced, pursued, fought for and cherished. He created me with desires for deep intimacy. He would not gift me intense desires without a means to fulfill them.  Jesus Christ was…and is…that fulfillment.  He is not only the Author of my love story, He is the Hero.  God is a Hopeless Romantic.   Even more amazing, He DESIRES ME.  He is the Lover of my Soul.  

Though precious the title “child of God”, my Creator did not stop there.  In a mystery unexplainable in human words, God declares I am His BELOVED BRIDE. 

“You shall be called by a new name which the Lord shall pronounce with His own lips.  You will be a glorious crown in the Lord’s hands.” ~ Isaiah 62:2

“The Lord has acknowledged you as wife, once deserted and heart-broken, Your God Has Called You BRIDE…” ~Isaiah 54:6

“Let me rejoice in the Lord with all my heart…He has robed me in salvation as a garment and clothed me in integrity as a cloak…like a BRIDE decked in her jewels…” ~Isaiah 61: 10

“For as a young man weds a maiden, so shall you wed Him who rebuilds you and your God shall rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his Bride.” ~Isaiah 62:5

In the words of Tim Reimherr in his song, More Than Ashes, “There’s gonna be a wedding.  It’s the reason I am living, to marry the Lamb…”

additional info/recommended reading/listening 


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DiAnna Steele

Child of God, Follower of Jesus, Sister in Christ, Friend to the lost...

2 thoughts on “There’s Gonna Be a Wedding!”

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