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28th Anniversary!

Exactly 28 years ago, perhaps to the minute if you read this soon, on a sunny Lord's Day, around 3pm, just a few miles north of where I am typing this, I walked into a hall filled with about 500 people, and toward one who mattered more than anything or anyone on the earth to me. I walked in to this song being sung by the witnesses:

I am the Lord’s! O joy beyond expression,

O sweet response to voice of love Divine;

Faith’s joyous “Yes” to the assuring whisper,

“Fear not! I have redeemed thee; thou art Mine.”

I am the Lord’s! It is the glad confession

Wherewith the Bride recalls the happy day,

When love’s “I will” accepted Him forever,

“The Lord’s,” to love, to honor and obey.

I am the Lord’s! Yet teach me all it meaneth,

All it involves of love and loyalty,

Of holy service, absolute surrender,

And unreserved obedience unto Thee.

I am the Lord’s! Yes; body, soul, and spirit,

O seal them irrecoverably Thine;

As Thou, Beloved, in Thy grace and fulness

Forever and forevermore art mine.

(Hymn 433, Living Stream Ministry)

The main verse we chose for our program is from Song of Songs: "I am my Beloved's, and His desire is for me" (7:10). My understanding of that verse was, and still is, that the more mature love - which ours was not, yet, cared more for the desire of the Beloved than one's own desire. The lover was her Beloved's. His desire for her was all she needed.

28 years later, I don't know where my beloved is. I fought for years to remain with him. I returned a response through an elder about 4 years ago: "Do not entreat me to leave you, or turn away from following after you. For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you dwell, I will dwell; Your people will be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more as well, If anything but death parts you and me." (Ruth 1:16-17)

That response was not heard; about a week later I received a threat from an attorney, representing my husband. All of our joint savings had been emptied from our joint account. I sought legal help - long overdue. I never wanted divorce. My sentiments were still represented by Ruth in the Bible.

Now, I am writing this blog. I couldn't afford the attorneys. I couldn't bear the increased abuse I experienced while actively seeking legal help.

The 2nd song we sang at our wedding is so precious to me. Nothing can deter our real Bridegroom from loving us. May He rapture us as His Bride.

The church is Christ’s deep longing

And His good pleasure too.

His every word and action

Is made with her in view.

His heart’s love is established,

And nought can Him deter;

Before the earth’s foundation

His thoughts were filled with her.

The eve of all creation

He mused on His delight,

And pondered every feature,

Well-pleasing in His sight.

Creation sprang to being,

But deep in Him did hide

A heart of depth unfathomed

Fixed on a glorious Bride.

And thus His will was ’stablished

His counterpart to gain:

This blessed, firm intention,

Eternally the same.

Though sin should e’en beguile man,

Then mock his helpless state,

He never could forsake her,

His yearning ne’er abate.

Then mercy richly flourished,

And love was, oh, so vast,

As graciously He sought her

With wisdom unsurpassed.

The love He gave to win her

God only comprehends!

His life laid down, an offering

Whose fragrance yet ascends.

And now in resurrection

To her He draws most near,

And with untold affection

In glory does appear.

As she beholds her Bridegroom,

His glory floods her heart,

’Til she, His Bride, is raptured,

His longed-for counterpart.

(Hymn 1229, Living Stream Ministry)

We exited the hall (I was so joyful, holding my bridegroom's hand), to:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Our Bridegroom’s coming,

And the time will not be long

Before we hail that wedding morning

And lift up the glad new song....

(Hymn 1315, Living Stream Ministry)

The last church meeting I was in with my husband (not including a memorial meeting for a dear companion of ours about a year ago) was in December of 2019. We had repaired a major, painful breach in our relationship over the previous several months. We held hands walking to the meeting (a rarity). After we sat down, my husband leaned over to me and whispered, "What number is "Rejoice, rejoice, our Bridegroom's coming"?

I scrambled to find it in my hymnal, but another song was called. We never sang that hymn, or any hymn, together again.

Husband, wherever you are, our Bridegroom is coming. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Our marriage is not currently in accordance with His Word. There is no fellowship between me and your family of origin. Many lies have circulated about me, and my appeals for help have been called lies. I am shunned by many of those who were witnesses there when we said our vows 28 years ago. Could there be fellowship and peace restored?

May we prepare ourselves for the real wedding day - I believe it is soon! May all of these earthly tribulations clothe us with a wedding dress fit for our Bridegroom: the righteousnesses of the saints.

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