authentic stories · on marriage

The Scandal of Grace {The Conclusion: Nothing Too Dirty}

So it’s been six years since my affair and since Anthony and I began our journey to heal our marriage and to create a brand new love. It has been (and is still) the hardest yet most beautiful and worth it journey of our lives and I really wanted to do something to symbolize the newness of life and love we’ve come to know, and the personal healing I’ve experienced over the past six years.

As “random luck” would have it, I found a vintage wedding dress while out thrifting with my family and it was EVERYTHING I would have chosen in a wedding dress…had I been in actual need of one. But just for fun I tried it on, and it fit like it was made for me. To boot, it was just $49!

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Still, I hung the dress back on the rack and left. As the day went on I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should go back for it…not even knowing what I would do with it. But then my mom encouraged me to go back for it, and so… I did! Dress in hand, I emailed my photographer and asked her if she would do a bridal shoot for me. I was a little thankful she didn’t laugh, rather she thought it was the sweetest idea ever and agreed to do it in time for me to be able to gift it to Anthony on his birthday.

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The day of the shoot was so fun because it just felt like the sweet surprise that it was. I gathered up some light pink roses (the first flowers he ever gave me) I found on sale and some satin, and made my own little bouquet – nothing fancy, just a symbol of something I knew he would understand. The day was extra special to me because my grandma, my mom, my sister, and my daughter insisted on coming along with me! My 15 years later shoot…and still, they understood it’s worth. They got me in my dress and we battled hurricane force winds, my daughter even having to get under my dress and hold it down, while we captured as many pictures as we could before we all blew away!

IMG_1512-Edit-Edit{Images credit: Jennifer Edwards – The Photographerette}

My shoot doesn’t have that “every hair in place” perfected look like most bridal shoots, but I actually ended up loving that about it all the more because I felt like it captured who I am…a vintage soul who loves beauty, and just so happens to be a little undone and messy at times. But despite the difficulty of the shoot due to the weather, I felt so happy and at peace that day, and they captured how my heart felt so well.

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The main inspiration behind it and what was running through my mind throughout this whole process was how that our marriage healing from the unfaithfulness of us both has been an accurate reflection of the Gospel we base our faith in – a reflection of the faithful goodness of Jesus and the Gospel that redeems what is sad and dark and broken, and transforms everything ugly and dark into everything beautiful and full of light.

And when we look at these pictures hanging on our new bedroom walls they will forever be our permanent reminder of the miracle of grace that we lived, and the faithfulness and goodness of Jesus even when we are not.

I hope I never get over this love.

This is the story of a human man who reflected the love of a greater Husband and who loved her like Jesus with skin in, and how an unfaithful woman encountered grace and became the clean and radiant bride whom He adores and delights Himself in – and was forever changed.

And His grace and mercy meant that she could live without the chains of shame that had once threatened to put out her light; so fully alive and free.

As long as she lives her world would know that there is nothing too dirty, that He can’t make worthy.

The end.

The Lord says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
    my love will know no bounds,
    for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel
    like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
    it will send roots deep into the soil
    like the cedars in Lebanon.
Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
    as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
My people will again live under my shade.
    They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
    They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel,[c] stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.” 

~ Hosea 14:4-8

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