My wife has tattoos: Marriage, new birth and the gospel
NOTE: This story originally posted on April 26, 2014.
Today is the day of my wedding. And I am not marrying the girl of my dreams.
If you would have told me when I was a teenager that my wife would have seven tattoos, a history in drugs, alcohol and attending heavy metal concerts, I would have laughed at you, given you one of my courtship books, and told you to take a hike. My plans were much different, much more nuanced with careful planning, much more clean-cut, and much more, well, about me.
You see, it wasn’t my dream to marry a girl that was complicated. I never dreamed that I would sit on a couch with my future wife in pre-marital counseling listening to her cry and tell stories of drunken nights, listing the drugs she used, confessing mistakes made in past relationships.
This isn’t my dream – it’s better.
Many people wouldn’t put Taylor and I together. In high school, we probably would not have been friends. She probably would have thought that I was a nice, boring, judgmental Christian kid; I probably would have thought that she was a nice, lost, party-scene girl that guys like me are supposed to stay away from. People like us, with our backgrounds and histories are not supposed to meet, fall in love and covenant their lives to each other.
But everything changes when people meet Jesus. Jesus takes people like rebellious teenage partiers, and goody-two-shoe homeschoolers and puts them together in marriage to put something on display much bigger than their own hand-crafted, perfectly planned love-story.
Right in the middle of the mess of life, Taylor met Jesus, and he planted his flag in her life, and she believed in him and he transformed her. The Taylor who spent her life living from one pleasure to the next died, and a new person was born. A new person with new desires, and a new heart that longed to please God, serve people, and treasured Jesus Christ above all other pleasure.
And this is how I see Taylor. She is completely new, completely transformed and completely clean. This is not because she became a part of a helpful program, or because she really “pulled herself together.” It’s because God, in his incredible, infinite kindness, took Taylor’s dark, crimson life, and made her as white as a snow. He took all of her sins on placed them on his Son, and then gave her Jesus’ righteousness to wear like a perfect white wedding dress.
In reality, Taylor’s story is my story as well. As Taylor walks towards me today, I will be reminded of how much I do not deserve the precious gift she is to me. I have spent much of my life singing a self-centered siren song. Nothing about my life cries for blessings; it calls for curses forever. Yet, God has dressed me in white, put my sin upon his son, and given me a heart that loves him.
I love Taylor with all that I am. She is gentle, kind, patient, joyful, beautiful and loving. I don’t deserve to marry someone like her. I didn’t plan for this, but I’m so glad I am not getting what I planned for.
So, today when she walks down the aisle to me, I will be reminded of the beautiful reality that God exchanges that sin of our past in exchange for the perfect righteousness of his son. Contrary to popular opinion, our wedding day is not our wedding day; it is the display of the most stunning reality in the universe: that God sent his son to die to redeem a people for himself made clean the blood of his son.
God’s ultimate plan in putting Taylor and I together is that he wants to uniquely put his grace on display so that other people will praise him (Eph. 1:5-6). That’s his purpose for our marriage, and that’s his purpose in the world at large, and Taylor and I are taking part in that, and hope you will too.