This is an entirely fictional account, though of course, it is autobiographical at some level. I have certainly felt these things, though less than this particular Bride did.
I am worthless, I am worthless, but my Groom has brought me to Himself! He sought me out, He pursued me, and He even gave me the desire to love Him. Oh! what a Groom! It was not easy for Him; He died to save me. How could he sacrifice himself for the pit that is me? What a mystery, but He has done it! He knows who I really am inside, and He loves me…. I can’t even imagine this.
I will live for Him, though I am only weakness. I will not have an idol, I will not seek happiness, I will not seek my own good, but I will only seek my Groom. My life I will give back to Him, for He has purchased it with His precious blood. Others are saying this is a good thing to do, and they like what I’m saying. I’ve got to be careful not to get puffed up about that.
My Groom warned me that life would be hard, but I didn’t understand until this day. Today, a friend who seemed to be getting better killed herself. I talked with her just last month, and now she is gone. Now I know what life means. Now I feel what the world is. It is a black void, whose deepest truth is pain. Tears do not convey my twisted heart. Now I can resolve to live truly, in sorrow. My heart draws near to Sheol, David knows what I’m talking about. I can never forget this feeling. I ought to never forget this feeling. I see now that peace is laziness, and joy is ignorance.
I don’t know how I’m going to keep going, but I know that this is what my Groom wants for me. The health and wealth gospel is a bitter enemy of my Groom, everyone knows that. To desire my own good is evil. I will throw myself into the hard places and the hard people, to make sure I am not living in any way but sacrificially.
I see my Groom there in the hard places, and I am supposed to follow Him. He ate with sinners and tax collectors. He was a man of sorrows, so I will become a Bride of sorrows. He saved me so that I would obey Him.
Pride is still in me! Why will it not be gone! My Groom, take it away! I still cannot hate my own life like you told me to! And I’m beginning to see that I can’t even work towards my own sanctification. If it is synergistic, then why isn’t justification? Thank you for always holding me to Your truth.
I will always remind myself that I am only evil. I know it is not me doing this reminding, but my Groom. He loved me as a wretch, and I can’t forget that I am still a wretch. And what’s more, I will make sure I do Him honor by reminding everyone else of the same thing. None of our works are anything except filthy, stinking rags. To feel our own righteousness is only an illusion and sin.
And I must never forget my friend, because her death taught me a big truth. I will hold on to the reality that the world is fundamentally a bad place. This way my obedience won’t be a self-delusion. Of course, God gives me obedience, so it is not really me being obedient. And I’m not really obedient anyway. But if I stop feeling pain over her death, then I will be suppressing the truth, and forgetting her.
I was beginning to slip into forgetting that life is not good, but my Groom corrected me again, because of His great love. My brother told me that he doesn’t believe my Groom is good anymore, and that even if He is real, I shouldn’t want to be married to Him. He doesn’t realize that his pride is blinding him, and that he is being cut off from the truth by his fickle love of happiness. Everyone knows that happiness can’t last.
I myself, the sinner I am, was starting to feel happy, and forget the vast pain the world sits in. I thanked my Groom that He reminded me of the vile world through my brother’s unbelief. He seemed saddened when I thanked Him. But I know that it is His will that my brother not be saved. This is an anguish for me, because I think about how he will be in Hell. But all that means is that my brother’s salvation was an idol to me. I need to give it up, so that I see my Groom’s will as good.
My friends don’t seem to be comfortable around me. They sometimes offer me encouragement, and I try to thank them, but I think I disagree with their encouragement. They try to tell me that I have a good heart, but the truth is that I am disgusting. So, when they tell me these things, I pretend to be thankful, and return some words to make them feel better, but really it is just painful, because they don’t understand the truth like I do, the truth that none of us is good, no not one. I would rather them tell me I am sinful in my core, so that I would be given strength to face that truth. And I think they are starting to get that I don’t appreciate their words. I resent that they don’t understand things like I do.
But I guess that is pride again. I’ve been given more knowledge than them. I don’t know how to think of it. I just shouldn’t think about what they think, because it puffs me up. I need to get back to being contrite, because lately I’ve slipped into being comfortable about life.
I felt at ease with myself again today. I had nothing to do, so I went for a walk. I used to do that as a kid. It felt good, and I regretted it. I only did it because I was feeling awful about life and myself, and I wanted to feel better. I should not have wanted to avoid feeling the truth of my own worthlessness. I’m such a coward, and peace is an idol for me still. I wish my Groom would take away the temptation towards peace. He has been saying confusing things lately, though. Like, yesterday he told me, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.” But I’ve always tried to make myself small, insignificant, and weak for my Groom.
I’ve never doubted that He is unchanging, but He seems foreign to me now. I’ve always been so sure of my doctrine. I’ve always been consistent. I’ve always stuck to the truth.
But my core is evil. I can’t say that I have been good, because I haven’t been. That would just puff me up.
I’m so confused, I’m so confused, I’m so confused. My Groom still loves me, even though I’ve been trying to hate myself for so long. But if I am supposed to be like my Groom, then I shouldn’t hate myself, I should love myself, because he loves me. He told me today, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I had been feeling really bad again, I guess I have been feeling like a burden to everyone I know. I can tell that no one really wants me around. They seem happy, and I want to be happy, even though I know it is selfish to be happy when so many other people aren’t happy.
Today I realized that all day yesterday I did not once think about my friend who killed herself, and I felt this overwhelming guilt for not thinking about her. What do those happy people know about life, about real life?! What do those fools know about suffering! I KNOW ABOUT IT! I AM BEING HONEST AND REAL! LIFE IS JUST A VALE OF TEARS!
I can’t give in to that temptation of peace. Any theologian who espoused peace didn’t know about real life and committing to doing what my Groom commanded them to do. A person with peace can’t possibly be aware of all the Christians being murdered, and all the babies being aborted. That is more important than my own peace.
Compliments are lies too. They are even more painful for me to hear than they used to be. My pastor insists on telling me that I am a joy to him, even though I know I’m not. Why does he lie like that! I don’t think he even knows he is lying. He seems sincere, so he must be deceiving himself. I guess I should have expected that, because so many pastors have affairs. Not that I think my pastor is having an affair. It’s just that he is a human being, like everyone else. I can’t rely on anyone except my Groom.
I will keep on the hard path of pain for my Groom, even though I don’t want to. I feel reassured when I remember that happy people are fools, and I refuse to be a fool. I refuse to be small. I mean, small in that way. I am a nothingness, I am a worm and a spider. If I remember that happy people don’t understand this, I will be able to remain unhappy around them.
I’m pushed into doubt again. I want to believe that life can be good, because sometimes I feel a wave of relief like a warm beam shining through a day of thick, dreary clouds, and I feel a deep conviction that life is good, and it feels like a truth I am avoiding. But those are just feelings! I know that life is a broken thing, and I know I am evil. I know it! I won’t back down on theology, even though everyone else does! But this is just too hard to maintain.
My brother came back to my Groom, and he told me that the main reason he left in the first place was me. He told me that my thinking is prideful and that my Groom wants peace and joy for me. I should have been so glad that he came back to the faith, but instead I was furious. I pretended to be happy, but inside I was just angry. I was angry at his words, but also that he came back. I don’t know why… I’m so ashamed. Why did his words hurt so much? He only cared about me, and I should appreciate that. But I’m actually mad that he is a Christian again. It made me angry for some reason. Is he right about me? I don’t know how I will ever be able to see him again. I think I hate myself.
But I feel closer to my Groom than I have in a long time. I miss Him. I haven’t wanted to admit it to myself, but I’ve been avoiding Him at home. When He tries to get close to me, I go and do chores and clean something that is already clean or something like that. I don’t want Him to tell me He loves me and forgives me, because I feel like my pride would flare up again, and I would feel good about myself again. Or it would be painful. I don’t know. So I’ve been avoiding Him. But I still love Him, definitely. I still want to do what He tells me. But He tells me to be close to Him….
I don’t know why I don’t know what I believe anymore. Sometimes, it’s like, if I say I believe something, then I will be asserting that I have a truth that other people don’t have, which feels prideful. And I’ve been thinking. My Groom is living right in my heart, I know that. Plus, when we got married, he changed me. My old self is still in me, I know that so well, but my Groom told me that I have a new self too. I used to tell myself over and over that there is nothing good in me. But my Groom is in me, and so is my new self, so that seems not true. But I’m afraid of being prideful, so I want to believe that there is nothing good in me. That’s easier. It makes me feel like I’ve found a truth that attacks my pride in the deepest way. But even thinking that feeds my pride. It feeds the pride of my intellect, like my brother said. It makes me feel like I’m smarter than other people.
But no! It doesn’t have to! My Groom just decided to give this truth to me! So I am worthless, but the knowledge of this truth also does not give me worth, because it wasn’t me who discovered it, but it was implanted in me. I can maybe cling to that.
I don’t know though. My Groom doesn’t see me as worthless. He said that He changed my heart, and that it used to be dead, but is no longer dead. If it is alive now, then how can I say it is dead? How dare I say it is dead, even! This is scary though. I don’t want to be prideful.
I have always been wrong, and how beautiful this is! How have I never understood that the truth is supposed to set us free? TULIP is not the end, but only the beginning! My Groom brought me low in order that He would lift me high.
I went horseback riding in the mountains of North Carolina, just me and my Groom. There were no chores to be done, and no people to take care of. It was … restful. I felt happy, and at peace. At first I tried to stop it, to remember bad things that have been going on with people I know. I resisted joy. But my Groom told me not to. I don’t know why it was so hard for so long to let go of bitterness, but somehow it slipped quietly away, and I just started weeping. Even though I’ve cried pretty often the past few months, I haven’t been crying like that. They were tears of … understanding. Tears of epiphany. Tears of this cataclysmic happiness that my soul cannot bear. Tears of comprehending a light and gaiety that burns me in a good way. Somehow the scales fell from my eyes once again and I saw it all at once and I just wept and wept, and didn’t stop for two hours. My Groom held me, and told me He loved me, but that I haven’t been doing what He wanted. He told me I am forgiven, and I don’t think I ever knew that before. I am actually forgiven. I am forgiven!
After that, it was only happiness the rest of the day. We laughed together. I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed, really laughed from my heart! My Groom played me a song, and I heard it like I have never heard it before. But that night, shame came back to me. I started crying again when it hit, but my Groom encouraged me again, and told me that though I am not perfect, I am a blessing to many people. He told me that He is working through me. I’ve never wanted to believe that. It is still hard to say that, even writing it right now. I am still very afraid of pride. But my Groom told me that, so I have to believe it. Isn’t that how I started out, believing the words of my Groom?
I no longer feel like a burden to my friends. Well, I still do sometimes. I told myself over and over that I am worthless and that pain is a truer sentiment than happiness, and I guess it will take some time to reverse that. But I told my closest friend everything that happened with my Groom, and my friend started crying and embraced me and I started crying too. I apologized for everything I had been. I just realized, just now, that I hadn’t apologized for anything before that since I got married to my Groom. I can’t believe that. And I thought I was humble! My friend forgave me without a shred of hesitation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my friend be so happy before in my life. I had no idea I was causing such heartache.
But I was listening to my Groom later that day and he started talking about fools, and my old tendencies came right back. I felt this deep feeling that life is bad when he started talking about deep things. Like a tremendous sense of dread, or maybe deadness, and confidence that I knew about life because I was pessimistic. My Groom talked about how bad it is to be a fool, and in my heart I was applying his words to this one girl who I thought was such a fool, condemning her. But then my Groom said something I will never forget. I … I don’t even want to write it, because it hit me too hard. I couldn’t move or speak or think for half an hour. It was like my entire life was revealed to me in two sentences. Now I understand what my brother meant when he said my mind is prideful. After saying how awful it is to be a fool, and after I thought about this one girl who I think is a fool, my Groom said, “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” My Groom’s words have never been so living and powerful to me, even though I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about them. It was blunt force trauma to my soul, but in a way that I never expected, a way that changed my entire life. Maybe this is what people mean when they say my Groom’s words have power. I have never really understood that until now, even though I thought I did.
Today I apologized to my brother, and thanked him for loving me. I could hardly speak, because tears formed before I started. He hugged me and said, “I forgive you. Your Groom was talking to me apart from you, you know.” Then he smiled. He smiled! I nodded and didn’t say anything, because I was crying some more.
So much has happened in the past few weeks; I feel like life has completely changed. It is funny to think that really, it is just my perception of life that has changed. I knew a lot of theology, and I still believe basically all of what I believed before, but I can see now that I was using it in the wrong way. I was grieving the suicide of a friend, something no one was designed to be able to handle, and I am prone towards melancholy anyway, so my mind was in an unhealthy place. Theology should be comforting; it shouldn’t be used as a bludgeon to a sensitive heart like what I was doing to myself. Arrogant people need words to bring them down a bit, but hurting people need words to lift them up. Theology should be convicting as well as comforting, but the pain it gives should be different than what I was doing to myself. I was basically just depressed, and using theology to justify my feelings to myself and avoid the fact that I was not okay. I was torturing myself with misapplied truths. It was like spiritual self-harm. I am late to discover a truth that everyone around me has known for years. Despair is not brought about by insight, truth, or experience. Actually, joy is the result of an honest look at the world, because I am the beloved Bride of my Groom, and He is in control and wants me to have joy.
But this has been hard to believe again, because two of my friends have been getting into drugs more and more. When I heard, I felt all the old despair come right back, and kick me in the gut. How can life be good when there is so much brokenness? What is my Groom waiting for? I still don’t know that.
I am really worried about them. Right now, it is just marijuana and a little bit of mushrooms, but they’ve sort of been slipping down that path for a while now, and I’m afraid they will go further. I have been too caught up with my own problems to care about them the past couple months. I was just a Pharisee, thinking they are getting what they deserve. But seeing them and hearing about them just cuts at my heart again.
I really want to help. Even though the way we got lost was very different, I feel like they are in a similar place that I used to be in. I didn’t really think anything mattered, even though I resented everything. And I was so self-assured that I knew about life in a way that normal, happy people didn’t, and I thought that pain was the meaning of life, but I really didn’t know much. They are definitely the same way, and I just wish I could tell them that I’ve been there, and that they are wrong. I just wish I could get them to understand that.
But I guess, so many people had been telling me that over and over, and I didn’t listen. It was my Groom that took me out of the darkness. I needed others there to remind me and keep me alive, basically, but my Groom was the one who really healed me. I guess that’s how I can help too. I know I’m not the one doing the healing, but I can be there, and love them, no matter what.
That is going to be hard, but if I show them that even I can have peace, maybe they will see that and start thinking for themselves, instead of just following their uncontrolled emotions. That is still scary, but I’ve been scared before. My Groom has been with me this whole time, and I know He will stay by me again.
Gratitude is my heart. Gratitude to my Groom. I am still sad sometimes, but it is a different sadness. I know that I won’t ever be perfect, and pride, bitterness, joylessness, and a complaining spirit are still all over my soul, but I think I’m beginning to understand what peace is. I see now how closely related peace is to hope and faith. I never really felt gratitude like this before.
One of my friends has stopped doing drugs, and has been talking with my Groom. I’m not allowed in the room so I don’t know what they are talking about exactly, and my friend is sort of shouting and yelling at my Groom. I catch a few four letter words here and there. But I think it is good; I think my friend is really struggling in a good way, not in the bad way he used to. I’m worried about it sometimes, but I’ve been trying to trust my Groom more lately. And for that, I feel so much gratitude. I haven’t heard from my other friend in a while though, and that still makes me sad. I feel like I used to not even realize how many people need to be loved and told that they are loved, and that it is right for them to be joyful and glad for the gift of life. I never even noticed how many it is, so I’ve been very busy with spreading these tidings. But I still think about that friend sometimes, and feel guilty that I don’t call him up. Maybe I will, to see how he is doing. I am afraid though. My joy and peace still feels so weak and fragile.
But life has changed. I am enjoying the quiet moments for the first time in my life. I used to be frustrated and terrified at ever not being useful, or not doing exactly what my Groom wants me to do. But now, when I have a spare moment to myself, I can appreciate looking at my Groom’s handiwork, or just sitting quietly with Him, not saying much. I’m trying to continue to learn that my Groom really does want me to have joy not only when I die, but right now. Oh! gratitude spills up inside of me when I think about my Groom. He is far too kind. His love is sweeter now than even when we were first married.
I still know that pride is right around the corner, but encouragement no longer pains me, but instead brings me joy and thankfulness. I have been encouraging others too. I’ve even begun to understand what it means to rebuke someone in love. My Groom told me to remove the log in my eye so that I could see clearly to remove the speck in another’s, and He has lately been teaching me how to do that. And what is amazing is that since I’ve started that, others have told me that they feel more comfortable doing it to me. Haha! Imagine that! That makes me less afraid of pride. I have never been less afraid of pride, and yet I have never been more aware of it in myself, or more cautious to avoid it.
My Groom is sustaining me every day with encouragement, and is pointing out where I’m going wrong. I definitely still have a lot to learn, and I need to grow so much. I am still very weak. But I feel closer to my Groom than I ever have.