My name is Susan Shultz and God has commissioned me to testify. I testify as a means to help us bring our focus back upon the fact that we are the Bride of Christ and that our Bridegroom WILL return someday on the clouds.
As Joseph said in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” In 2020 when the world was locked down and I like many felt hidden away, God began to bring me out, resurrecting my story and calling me to get it ready. It was then officially submitted for publication the following summer and somehow deep in my heart I just knew that my first official copy would arrive on the Feast of Trumpets, and sure enough it did.
On the Feast of Trumpets in 2021 I held my first copy and took pictures of it next to my shofar. I did so because I knew that this was not by accident, for God had woven a message through my testimony about preparing His Bride for Christ’s return someday on the clouds. It started many years ago, after I separated from my boyfriend Joe. Knowing that Joe was the one for me I entered a time of great heartache. God allowed this season because He knew that my desire for a relationship, or for Joe, was stronger than my desire and love for Him. Because of this God had plans to bring transformation into my life by dealing with my idol worship. He led me through this desert. But just like the Israelites in the desert in the Old Testament, God sustained me, provided for me, and showed up for me. One of the ways that God showed up for me was by speaking directly to me for the first time, giving me a promise. He said, “Susan, you and Joe will be together.”
The desert is useful for eventually God used it to turn my head knowledge into heart knowledge. My theoretical faith into practical faith and I proclaimed with Job that “My ears had heard of you before but now my eyes have seen you (Job 45:2).” I fell more in love with the Lord.
Around this time, I was involved in a mission organization and found myself driving home from another state after a retreat. During this drive God chose to confirm His promise to me. While listening to a song by Michael W. Smith, I looked into the sky and saw that the clouds spelled J O E – Joe, and I knew that this was a sign from God confirming His promise to me that He would truly return my promised bridegroom to me.
However, despite God’s confirmation my promise didn’t happen right away. In fact, it was 7 years between this moment with the clouds and my wedding day. But what happened in those 7 years serves as great symbolism. For during this time, God began orchestrating the events of my life in order to prepare me for the fulfillment of His promise to me and for my wedding day, and in doing so, He began to also paint a beautiful picture depicting how all His people too should live in preparation for His return and for our ultimate wedding day to Him as His Bride, the Church. He unveiled a message that spoke about how we all should use this waiting season, or this Bridge Story season, as He inspired me to call it, as a means to get His Bride ready.
As it says in Revelation 19:7, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”
But what does this mean exactly? How do we make ourselves ready? What are we supposed to be doing during this waiting season, this season we find ourselves in between our promise given that Christ will return to us and the fulfillment of that promise?
Well, two of the most important steps that God revealed were first, that we begin living lives that testify to Him, and second, that we begin rehearsing for things to come.
In 2010, God brought a beautiful Bridge Story into my life in order to convey His desire that we begin living lives that testify to Him. In doing so, He began to paint a symbolic picture right before my eyes of my wedding day, of our wedding day.
During one of my Bible studies, I ended up hearing the testimony of two women whom God had called to start a wedding gown business/ministry and it was clear that they truly wanted to glorify the Lord in what they did. They wanted to raise money to help victims of sex-trafficking.
As they shared their testimony, a still, small voice told me that I would be adorned in a wedding dress someday, something that, of course, brought joy to my heart. What then instantly came into my mind is how a white wedding dress symbolizes Jesus Christ, for He is truly the “dress” that adorns us. It is the blood of the Lamb, the covering of Christ that makes us a pure and spotless bride. So, although I didn’t know at the time where God was leading all of this symbolism, we had the DRESS.
After the study that night, I found myself talking with my study leader about another friend who had the gift of music through piano. God had recently led her to invest in a new piano to write worship music that testified to Jesus. During this conversation, God brought me more revelation and the thought that God brought strongly to my mind was: We have the wedding dress; now it is time for the WEDDING MARCH.
The next day, during my quiet time with the Lord, as I began to reflect on the ministry that God was calling me to, that of testifying through the written word, the thought that entered my mind was, ENTER the BRIDE and God gave me more revelation. He began to show me that it wasn’t just my wedding that He was planning right before me but Christ’s wedding. Our ministries, our callings intertwine for through them we collectively testify to Him. God is calling all of us to testify, to live lives that point people to Christ as a means to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. He is calling all of us to help get His Bride ready for her wedding day.
A few days later, I ended up having coffee with another friend who confided in me that God had been calling her to build an altar like the one in the Old Testament. At first, I was taken aback because it sounded a little bit out of the ordinary, but then I heard a still, small voice say, “Susan, pay attention. This is for you.”
She began to talk about the many reasons why God was calling her to do this, mostly as a way to use her for ministry and what God brought to my mind is: We have the dress. We have the wedding march. We have the bride. And now we have the ALTAR.
A few days after that, Joe also confided in me, sharing with me a vision that God had been giving him of a place for people to use for weddings as a type of ministry, a vision that wouldn’t leave his mind. As he talked, I knew in my heart that God was saying that: We have the dress. We have the music. We have the bride. We have the altar. And now God is bringing forth the PLACE. For Joe’s vision was of a castle with a huge glass ballroom.
The revelation that came to my mind as he spoke was that of course God would inspire Joe, my future bridegroom, with the place, with the mansion, for it is our Bridegroom who has the responsibility of providing the actual place. For Christ Jesus Himself said that He was going ahead of us in order to prepare a place for us, His Bride, in advance in John 14.
So, we have the dress, the wedding march, the bride, the altar, and the place. All we need now is the Bridegroom, and how He longs for His wedding day and for His bride to make herself ready by living lives that testify to Him.
Along with beginning to live lives that testify to Jesus, God also desires for us to begin rehearsing for things to come, to live in expectation of His faithfulness. For as God laid on my heart, He even made Esther rehearse. She held two banquets and it wasn’t until the second banquet that she was able to make her request to the king. Likewise, God also called me to rehearse. He’s calling all of us to rehearse.
One Bridge Story during this season of waiting in my life addressed this call to rehearse. It’s a chapter in my life (or my second book) called “God’s Appointed Times.” During this bridge story season of waiting in my life, I was invited to attend a retreat. The topic revolved around something I was not expecting, for a Jewish Christian woman named Annette was there to speak about God’s appointed times as laid out in the Bible and why we, even as Gentile Christians, should still celebrate them. One of her main reasons was that they are lasting ordinances that serve as rehearsals of things to come. Not expecting this topic but knowing God wanted me there, I asked God what He wanted me to learn from this, He said, “Susan, if you honor My appointed times, I will honor yours.” Waiting on a promise God gave me to return Joe to me, my own bridegroom, I knew in my heart what God meant. So, I set out that year to honor God’s appointed times and other festivals.
It was a really fun time as God led me on this journey, for He orchestrated my life to show me how important these celebrations are to Him and eventually, I made it to the end. I was about to celebrate my final one which was Purim.
And once I did, God did two things to prove His faithfulness to honor my appointed time. First, the same day I celebrated Purim, a magazine was released and placed in stores with my picture on the cover, giving me a form of a coming out. And second, shortly after Joe ended up asking my father for my hand in marriage. God was faithful! My promised bridegroom had come. And I walked across that bridge from promise to fulfillment.
I love that God inspired my journey to end with Purim and see great symbolism in this, for: Purim is the celebration of deliverance of God’s people through Esther’s plea as a Bride of the king. Well, it is our time, our season, our time such as this, BUT WE MUST MAKE OURSELVES READY just like Esther did. Let’s just say that like Esther we need our beauty treatment season, our season of preparation, of transformation– our BRIDGE STORY season – and God knows this.
After my own Bridge Story waiting season came to an end, or my preparation season, like Esther, after I had accepted God’s call to live a life of testifying to Jesus and had rehearsed, in His eyes I became a bride made ready, for my wedding day finally came. Almost exactly 7 years to the day that God wrote Joe’s name in the clouds, I married him. And one of my favorite stories took place on that day.
The venue God had picked for us through Joe was in Hutchinson and so being an hour away from most of our guests, in my mind, I thought that we would start the ceremony at least 5-10 minutes late in order to give people more time to find it. But this was not the case. For as the women and I were still upstairs praying, I thought about taking off my wedding dress after we were done in order to go to the bathroom one last time but something inside of me stopped me and I am so glad, for had I done that, I would not have been ready. Because before we knew it, since no one told us we were starting, even my wedding coordinator that was with us praying, all of a sudden, we heard the shofar blast and we all looked up at each other in shock.
Without a warning the trumpet sounded and at that point we didn't have time for anything else. Good thing I was ready! Dressed in white and ready to go!
I knew God was speaking.
So, I love the Feast of Trumpets. It is one of my favorite feasts for it truly is set up and set apart to be a rehearsal for things to come. For, someday all of us, without warning will hear that shofar, that final trumpet blast. So, as we reflect on its sound or hear the blast, I hope that you feel the nudge, the invitation of Christ reminding you of how He longs for His wedding day to you which is why He also longs/NEEDS for us all to make ourselves ready, to get His Bride ready, by rehearsing and collectively living lives that testify to Him, our ultimate Bridegroom. For, He knows that our collective testimonies will form a great bridge, a great Bridge Story that will lead others to Christ, both Jew and Gentile, in this final hour, for God wants all at the true wedding feast of the Lamb. Amen and amen.
Learn more about God’s desire that we begin living lives that testify to Him and find my published testimony at BridegroomintheClouds.org.
Learn more about God’s Appointed Times, the Biblical Feasts and how they serve as rehearsals for things to come at SharetheFeasts.org.