It was no ordinary night - the room was chilled as a presence filled it with darkness. There lay, a young woman wrestling in her sleep. Taunting images of her childhood filled her night vision. “Look at you, you’re pathetic!” the dark voice sneered as she curled herself in a fetal position as if protecting herself from being stripped by his words. “Stop, please, stop” she screamed in terror. Her arms violently flung in the air as she fought her attacker. She was awakened by the sound of shattered glass. Fumbling in the darkness she fearfully reached for the lamp on her nightstand, her eyes became fixated on the pieces that were sprawled on the floor.
As she gazed through tear-filled eyes, she saw a likeness, a representation of her life. Each piece symbolized an area shattered by her past. Especially one particular traumatic experience caused her heart to be scattered with shame, guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, fear and rage which tormented her dreams night after night because her innocence was violently stolen one cold winter night.
It was eighteen years ago when Esther’s life changed.
As she was anticipating the snowstorm, the first to fall in the season of winter, she gleefully turned in for the night. With her doll on one hand and the other holding the hem of her window curtain, she peered through the night frost that was settling on the ledge.
Ever since she can remember, her daddy would share with her the tale of the guardian angel….
“Once upon a wintery night as heaven’s beautiful gates opened, flurries of white crystallized snow dressed the skies and covered the earth. As the little children slept, the winds propelled the guardian angels to their assigned post as they stood bravely on guard. In the morning they were sure to leave a sign that they were present through the night. These impressions are called “snow angels” – their distinguishing mark of God’s love. It is a belief that when the children rested in the imprint of the snow angels they would encounter the One who is love.” Unknown to Esther, it was her dad who would wake up at dawn to lie down on the snow and wave his arms to create the snow angels.
For the first time in seven years, he has forgotten to tuck her in and share the story.
Regardless, her anticipation of encountering the One who is love caused Esther to drift into a deep sleep. She dreamt of her angel standing outside patiently waiting. His appearance was radiant and his garment was pure as snow. She hid herself behind the curtain when suddenly he extended his hand towards her. She nervously reached to take hold of it when she was abruptly awakened.
Terrorized through the night she remained motionless as her little body ached with great pain. When morning came she struggled forcing her bruised body towards the window searching for the mark “Where is my guardian angel?” she cried. “Why did he not come? Am I not worthy of the One who is love!” Her cries went unheard as they echoed deep within her soul. Tears streamed down her face as she felt herself drowning in them. There were no imprints in the snow. Silently she bowed her head and curled herself back into bed.
It’s been eighteen years and the thief continues to steal, kill and destroy Esther’s dreams by tormenting her. Rage filled her heart towards the One who is Love. It became hardened and her companions of shame, guilt, fear and anger isolated her. Memories kept her imprisoned. She allowed her past to define her and she lived recklessly from one relationship to another. Seeking but never finding.
One late afternoon, Esther took a nap on the couch. The same tormenting dream plagued her “Look at you, you’re pathetic!” the dark voice sneered…. “Stop, please, stop” she screamed in terror. But suddenly there was a bright light. Its radiance dispelled the shadow of darkness that was present - one that resembled the angel she dreamt of the night she was molested. His garment was pure as snow and he extended his hands towards her. She was hesitant to reach out to take hold of his hand in fear of being abruptly awakened once again. She closed her eyes anticipating the pain that will follow but instead peace flooded her heart. As she opened her eyes, there stood her angel waiting patiently. Esther reached out and was lifted to her feet. Here she stood face to face, shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe with him. He covered her with his robe as he whispered “there is one that will follow” and he quickly disappeared. She was awakened by her own voice as she yelled out “Who are you? Where are going? Please don’t leave me!”
Although distraught, an overwhelming sense of peace flooded her soul. It clothed her nakedness from the words that stripped her once before. She repeated his words “there is one that will follow….” What did this all mean? Who will follow?
Esther’s hope of ever finding everlasting love was far from reach for she has closed her heart since that dreadful night. She was ridden with shame and counted herself unworthy. Even though she was a very attractive young woman she did nothing to accentuate her beauty. Often she would look in the mirror and cry because all that reflected was shattered pieces of her life that stripped her of her identity and worth.
In her brokenness she cried out “God if you are real, make yourself known to me” but she neither heard nor encountered Him at that moment. She wept through the night. Suddenly there was a gust of wind that shook her bedroom window at the crack of dawn. It startled her as she jolted out of her bed. She glanced through the frosted glass and saw thick, white snowflakes falling. Her stomach turned as the tale her dad once told long ago came into remembrance. Awestruck by the image her eyes witnessed, she quickly ran outside without taking her coat. The cold air formed a smoke ring as she breathed heavily. She rubbed her eyes to see if it was just an illusion. There before her eyes was a man stretched out on the snow flapping his arms up and down. Tears gathered at the sight set before her.
“Hello, who are you?” she stuttered. She was trembling both out of fear and chilliness. He abruptly stood at his feet extending his hand “I’m sorry I startled you, my name is Joshua.” Esther’s hands were shaking at this point. There was a striking resemblance to the man in her dreams. His voice was that of thunder as it shook her inner being. Before she was able to utter another word, he took his coat and covered her.
He gently wrapped his scarf around her neck as he coupled her face with his hands. Warmth radiated through, melting her frozen stance. She felt her knees buckle and before she was able to grab hold, she fell into his arms.
He gazed into her eyes beholding her beauty – love captivating his heart. Esther lost herself in his deep blue eyes that sparkled as the light reflected from the tears that were forming. “Why are you crying” she asks. “I’ve been waiting eighteen years for this moment. In a dream long ago I saw a little girl my age peering out her window with tears streaming down her face. Although I was not able to hear her cries audibly, I heard them in my soul. I longed to rescue her from her despair when I heard a voice say ‘The time has not yet come’. And last night I was awakened by the same voice and led here. A desire rose within me to lie down on the snow. As I closed my eyes I saw the face of the young girl once again. When I opened them there you stood.”
Curious, Esther asked about this voice. “Who did he say he was?” Joshua replied “The One Who is Love”. In disbelief, she quickly freed herself from his hold and laid upon the imprint in the snow. As she did an overflow of love swept over her, causing the pain of her past and the hardness of her heart to dissolve. After many years she has encountered the One who is love.
The one who would follow was Joshua! Her heart raced at the thought and as she opened her eyes there he stood with arms extended. He lifted her up to her feet and they embraced. They both knew then that they were destined to be together.
“Esther, would you marry me?” She can hardly believe what she was hearing. This all felt like a dream. Was she dreaming? Before she can answer her own question she quickly said yes.
It was a winter wedding. The grounds of the church were glistening as the snow captured the rays of sunlight. Snow angels graced the path towards the entrance as she made her way through carefully stepping into each imprint. Her heart overflowed with love and excitement.
Inside, Joshua’s eyes look to and fro envisioning her beauty as he patiently waits for his bride at the altar. This glorious day has finally arrived; a day that has been marked in his heart from the moment he beheld her beauty.
Behold the moment has come. The music fills the sanctuary and excitement builds all across the pews as others stand in her honor awaiting her entrance. The beautiful gate has opened to reveal the “Bride” adorned with purity. Radiance transcends through her veil, illuminating the heart of the bridegroom. As she enters, her white and spotless gown gracefully flows as she walks along the aisle covered with rose petals; a sweet fragrance that captivates those gazing upon her splendor.
The bridegroom beholds her beauty once again just as he saw her the very first time and their eyes interlocked. As she approaches the altar in all her royal glory the bridegroom extends his hands toward her in admiration. The bride lengthens her reach and takes hold of him. Face to face, shoulder to shoulder and toe to toe they stand across from one another. An oath of love declared “I am my Beloved, and my Beloved is mine”. Their breath has become one as they embraced their union in marriage.
Joy fills the air as the witnesses rejoice and prepare to feast at the wedding table in their honor. At the banquet the bridegroom lifted his glass to esteem his bride. His devotion enthralled the bride and she wept with gladness. An overflowing joy swept through her soul for she spent years of preparation for this day and now it has come to pass as promised.