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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)

TITLE: The Wedding Portrait
By Debbie Roome


I wished I could freeze the moment - take a snapshot and preserve it in every way - a 3D memory to dip into and enjoy at leisure. I’d treasure every nuance of expression, every bubble of joy, every drift of fragrance and especially the pastor’s words, “I pronounce you man and wife.” Justin pulled me close and kissed me, his lips tender yet strong as he whispered, “I love you, Lara-Jane.”

For the first time in years I felt like a normal person. Soft gathers of satin hid the source of my usual torment; my ‘oopise leg’ I called it. In fact Oopsie had been my nickname until I met Justin. I jiggled the leg under my dress imagining its wasted contours and puckered skin, the foot that jutted at an awkward angle. I managed to walk on it but it often gave way unexpectedly. The result was a trail of destruction as I fell into ornaments, furniture, and plants.

I met Justin when he rescued me from a muddy puddle. “Oops!” he exclaimed as he lifted me out, oblivious of slimy splashes on his white shirt. Over a cup of coffee, I learned he was an artist and wondered at his knowing eyes and firm hands. His beard was flecked with grey, and laughter lines showed a man who loved life. I soon discovered he loved God as well.

“I’m not calling you Oopsie.” he told me. “That’s not who you are. You may trip over sometimes but you’re not defined by that leg. You’re God’s creation and He has great plans for you.”

I’d been Oopsie for so long that I struggled to answer to Lara-Jane. Justin kept encouraging me. “Give your brokenness to God. He can take anything – even ugly situations – and make something beautiful from them.” I was a slow learner but Justin persevered. When he asked me to marry him, I was ecstatic.

The wedding reception was in a room full of roses and lace, with skylights that drenched the room with life. The speeches were almost done and Justin was beside me, tall and strong as he thanked each guest for their involvement in our lives. Then he turned his attention to me. “Lara-Jane, you’re the best gift God could ever have given me.” He held out his hand, “And I have a special gift for you.”

I leaned on him as we walked across to the wedding cake. In all the celebration and excitement I hadn’t seen the covered easel next to it. A gentle smile curved his lips as he pulled the cloth off.

I stared at the picture, a textured portrait of myself. The likeness was amazing and my face seemed to shine. I stepped closer to admire his work and that’s when it hit me; the picture was made from the broken pieces of my life. I reached out and touched the fabric from a dress I’d ripped ... and fragments from a smashed vase … and a sheen of gold from a crushed frame ... and dried flowers from a damaged plant ...

The reception and guests seemed to fade away and I was left alone with Justin. As I pulled him towards me, a shaft of sunlight fell across us, illuminating the portrait with a heavenly glow. “I understand.” I whispered as I pulled his lips onto mine. “I finally understand.”

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This article has been read 891 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Phelps01/21/10
Amazing. Beautiful. Love it!
Sheri Gordon01/22/10
What a sweet story--and I really liked the bride's voice. Very genuine.
Barbara Lynn Culler01/22/10
Beautiful story of how God weaves our brokeness in a lovely tapestry.
Catrina Bradley 01/24/10
Goosebumps, chills, and tears. Fabulous.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/24/10
What a beautiful, well-written tale of love and redemption.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/25/10
What a beautiful love story. Very emotional and it almost felt I was intruding, the love felt so honest.
Lyn Churchyard01/26/10
every bubble of joy, every drift of fragrance what great descriptions. Love a love story.
Patricia Herchenroether01/26/10
Your descriptions are amazing; so detailed I could see everything.
Carole Robishaw 01/26/10

Still have them, excellent!
Carol Slider 01/26/10
A beautiful story, tenderly told. Lara-Jane certainly found the perfect soulmate! Well done!
Virgil Youngblood 01/26/10
Great dialog and a powerful, well written story.
Edmond Ng 01/26/10
I love the story! It expresses deep within the feeling of a dream come true despite our inadequacies. , embracing a love that goes beyond mere words or romance. It’s like the love of Christ for us and the unsaved even while we were yet sinners, unlovable by normal standards, blemished and unclean. Yes, all of us certainly must learn to accept ourselves just as God accepts us for who we are.

Great imagery! I was able to picture the scenes vividly from your writing.

Rachel Phelps01/28/10
Congrats, Debbie! This one is awesome!
Joan Campbell01/28/10
Beautiful portrait of unconditional love. Just what marriage should me! Congratulations.
Lyn Churchyard01/28/10
Congratulations Debbie! Well done on your 3rd place.
Patricia Turner01/28/10
Vividly, shiningly beautiful! Congratulations, well deserved!
Charla Diehl 01/29/10
This is a beautifully written love story that engaged me from the start. A well deserved win--congratulations. Always look forward to reading your entries.