Dressed in flowing white some still described her as sharp. Despite the full skirt, bare bony shoulders and elbows betrayed her angular frame. The word beautiful was not the first one that came to mind upon seeing Lexie in her wedding dress, yet the uncommon depth of grace she possessed shone through.
As she walked down the aisle toward David, Lexie let the tears stream down her face. Tears of joy should never be dammed. Beyond lucky, beyond beautiful, even beyond loved, Lexie felt blessed. Blessed by God. No one but God could have brought David back into her life. No one but God could have saved her from a life of bitterness and regret.
Thirteen years previously she thought she was happy. Engaged to the handsome Davie Bannerman life lay before her predictable and secure. Even though Lexie resented the time Davie spent in church and helping others, she loved him. At least she thought she did.
But each time Lexie saw Davie with his cousin Sadie, she would fly into a jealous rage. Her words transformed into the lashes of a whip, sharp and quick. In response to her shrill accusations Davie would draw her to him and calm her with words of love and tenderness. Though Lexie heard the assurances of his love, they never penetrated her insecurity. Each time she saw them together, she reacted the same way.
And then Davie lost his right arm in an accident while saving Sadie’s life. Lexie's future was shattered. Knife-like pangs of hatred stabbed her heart until there was no feeling left.
Davie lay in a hospital for two long months. Lexie never visited. When she received his letter, releasing her from the engagement, she mailed the ring back without even a goodbye. Packing up her few belongings, Lexie left town.
Years passed. Time ran on. Minute splinters of sand fell with eternal thuds in the hourglass of Lexie’s life. Eventually she found her way into a church. The people welcomed her with open arms. The pastor’s encouraging words brought hope to her guarded heart. Slowly the ice melted around it and shards broke off one by one exposing her innermost being. She opened her heart to the children. Lexie found fulfillment.
But deep desires are persistent. Razor-edged thoughts cut through her daily routine until discontentment surfaced. Lexie became undone one Sunday after hearing a sermon about the four children found in everyone’s world. The first was called The Little Child that Never Was. *
The gentle compassionate pastor, Frank Boreham, patiently listened to her story. She was riddled with guilt and shame. Feelings of unworthiness for God’s forgiveness pierced her conscience. Pastor Boreham reassured her of Father God’s love and forgiveness. Lexie finally allowed the peace of God to wash over her and soften every rough edge.
But God wasn’t finished with Lexie.
Two years later Pastor Boreham opened his evening paper and was struck by a notice.
“Mr. David Bannerman the brilliant Auckland solicitor, has been appointed Lecturer in Common Law at the Otago University”.*
Otaga was a mere ten miles away.
After carefully checking the details Pastor Boreham was convinced of two things: this was the same man from Lexie’s story; he was not married.
The pastor sent a letter to Mr. Bannerman and included a copy of his sermon The Little Palace Beautiful. A response quickly arrived.
“Wire lady’s address immediately”. *
Three months later, life came full circle.
Such a funny phrase. No life is ever shaped in such a symmetrical fashion. Life leaves jagged edges here and there. Spikes for joy and sorrow. Lightening bolt zig zags of regret and remorse. Sword-like division between soul and spirit, life and death, earth and heaven.
As David lifted the veil, revealing his bride, he didn’t see the high cheekbones, pointed nose, or thin lips. All these physical traits added to her strong profile. What he saw was the fullness of grace.
The retelling of a true story.
*Boreham, F.W. “O’er Crag and Torrent.”
Rubble and Roseleaves and Things of That Kind. F.W. Boreham. London: The Epworth Press, 1923. 110-122
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