Susan looked down and gingerly ran her hands up and down the skirt of her dress. Slowly and lightly she indulged in the sensation of feeling the smooth silkiness. She closed her eyes and marveled at its softness, as if the angels of heaven had spun the dress with their own hands, using fluffy white clouds as fabric. Yes, she had no doubt that God had destined her to wear this dress – to feel it hug her skin snuggly but comfortably, accenting her natural feminine curves, though in a modest fashion.
Thank you, God, for giving me this chance … this beautiful gift.
She opened her eyes just as her best friend walked in the room. Susan watched her in the mirror as she closed the door behind her. She smiled widely when her friend caught her glance.
“Can you believe it, Amelia?” Susan swished her flowing dress back and forth and then twirled around to face her friend, the huge grin never leaving her face.
They laughed together and drew into a joyful embrace.
“Today’s the day, Suzy. The day we’ve both been praying about for a long time.” Amelia pulled back and squeezed both of Susan’s hands in her own. She looked like a little girl about to burst with the excitement of getting a new toy or going to Disneyland for the weekend. “I’m so happy for you!”
Susan reached for a bouquet of pure white roses on a nearby table and held them just below her chest, examining her reflection in the mirror again. Gently, she rubbed a few of the petals between her fingertips. So soft and smooth ... she raised the bouquet to her nose and allowed the velvety petals to brush against her lips. She had always wondered if a kiss would be that soft and tender.
She felt Amelia’s arm wrap around her shoulders and give her a light squeeze. “Ready?”
Susan let out a breath of anticipation. “Ready.”
Together they walked from the dressing room, around a few corners, and finally stood before a pair of huge oak doors. Several more of her friends were waiting there and the small group surrounded her, each giving her a cheerful hug in turn.
Organ music began to reverberate from the other side of the doors, causing the women to fall into line. Susan was almost too giddy to process every detail of the procession beginning to take place. From her place at the back of the line she couldn’t help but stare up at those massive oak doors and imagine what they had been like when they stood in a forest long ago.
Before they had been cut and trimmed and sanded, before they had been stained into beautiful perfection, they must have been much different. Susan could have touched one and her hand wouldn’t have glided down its surface as it did on the door. Instead, she would’ve felt the rugged bark of an untamed tree, cold and rough.
Maybe that’s what her heart had been like. God had seen the beauty within her, and He had cut away any lofty selfishness or wrong thoughts. He had chipped away at her until, like those oak doors, she was chiseled into something worthy of service.
The others had gone forward and now it was her turn to walk through the doors. She smiled as her father tucked her sleeve-covered arm in his. She savored the warmth and strength of it as they walked together to the front of the building, accompanied by music that flooded the room. Up ahead, Amelia and her other friends beamed at her.
They reached the stage and she turned to plant a kiss on her father's prickly bearded cheek. With deliberately slow movements, she stepped onto the stage and stood in the designated spot – facing the young man who was waiting for her. He reached his hand out to hers, face in radiant ecstasy. As their fingers intertwined, Susan’s heart leapt at the simple touch of his kind hand in her own.
Once they had pledged their love to each other for all of time, they drew close, and for the first time – their lips met.
And nothing in all the world except for God reaching down from Heaven could have been more wonderful.
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