- Susan Shultz
Bride Has Made Herself Ready
Updated: Feb 22
(God's Unfolding Message" Series 1, Post 2)
In December of 2007, I watched the Disney movie “Enchanted.” I remember that there was a scene that really stuck out to me as odd. After the prince found the maiden, rescuing her from a great fall, the next thing you see in the movie is her rushing towards the castle still in the process of dressing as she goes, with the help of her friends. It seemed odd to me that she would have to get herself ready, dressing herself on her own before she got to the castle and wed the prince. This didn’t seem to match other Disney Princess movies I had seen before.
Well, no matter Disney’s motivation for this scenario, God used this movie to set the stage for something He wanted to reveal to me. For, shortly after I ended up being led to read Revelation 19:6-9 (NCV) which says:
“Then I heard what sounded like a great many people, like the noise of flooding water, and like the noise of loud thunder. The people were saying:
‘Hallelujah! Our Lord God, the Almighty, rules. Let us rejoice and be happy and give God glory, because the wedding of the Lamb has come, and the Lamb's bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given to her to wear. (The fine linen means the good things done by God's holy people.)
And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Happy are those who have been invited to the wedding meal of the Lamb!’ And the angel said, ‘These are the true words of God.’”
There it was! With the power of the Holy Spirit this one little phrase greatly stuck out to me. It was, “and the Lamb’s bride has made herself ready.” It does not say that the Lamb made her ready, it says that she made herself ready, by putting on the fine linen which are the good things done by God's holy people. Praise God we are saved by grace but this verse clearly talks about works. Faith without works is dead (James2:26).
I then began to see the entire beginning sequence of this movie in a whole new way. First, the maiden was saved from a great fall when she fell right into the prince’s arms. Likewise, the Blood of the Lamb saved us from a great fall. But then the next thing you see in the movie is the maiden rushing toward the castle while in the process of dressing as she goes, with the help of her friends. This then symbolizes the fact that we have to get ourselves ready before we meet the King as well, before our own wedding. Then, before she even gets a chance to see the prince however, the enemy (the evil stepmother) steps in and casts her down into a well and out of the prince’s presence. Oh, don't be fooled by the enemy! Don't come this far just to miss out on the wedding feast.
Well, exactly 14 years later, God has begun to speak to me once again about this same concept, this time using actual weddings to do so, four to be exact, and it all started once again by watching the movie “Enchanted.”
I don’t know when the last time was that I watched this movie, although I know it has been several years, but nonetheless, for some reason, for God’s reason, I was inspired to watch it once again. And as I did, I was reminded of God’s message but still had no idea that God was once again setting the stage to speak to me about this message that is still very dear to His heart.
My husband Joe and I have been wedding photographers for about 8 years now and although we both feel that we are nearing the end of this endeavor in our lives, we still ended up photographing 4 weddings between August and November of this year, all weddings God used to speak.
Wedding ONE (August): We had never really done a full wedding where there wasn’t a bridal party present. Because of this when the bride needed help, she had to rely on Joe and I. Her dress did not fit. In fact, there was a good foot long gap between her tiny buttons and their tiny loopholes. Although frantic, I confidently knew that Joe and I would be able to fix the situation. With her permission, as Joe cut off the buttons and I cut off the little loops, we ended up being able to connect the top of her dress and wrap it with ribbon. In the end, I actually think the dress looked better that way and you couldn’t tell that we had even altered the dress. We literally saved the day and even in the moment I couldn’t help but to feel like God was speaking, especially since I had just watched “Enchanted.” He was reminding me that it is our job to get the bride ready. We have to help get the bride ready for her wedding day. We as the Bride of Christ need to get ourselves ready and help other’s get ready for our ultimate wedding day to the King of kings.
Wedding TWO (September): We arrived to find a bride already drunk, which is something we had never encountered before. I wondered what kind of woman would allow herself to get drunk on such an important day, at least so early in the day. Her house was decorated beautifully and you could tell that she had great style. The wedding dress she picked and the bridesmaids dresses and their hair and all the details were very stylish and you could tell that she had great flair. But it all seemed to be wasted on the fact that she was drunk. Eventually I couldn’t help but feel for her groom and all I could think about was what kind of man falls for a woman that would allow herself to be drunk on her wedding day. Nonetheless, despite the fact that she was drunk and despite the fact that she showed up late to the ceremony, it didn’t stop him. You could tell that he deeply loved her. You could see it in his face. I will never forget that look, the way he looked at her with such intense love and it was obvious that he wasn’t going to let anything stop him from marrying her. What a wonderful picture of Christ. For as his bride, are we not drunk in our sin, especially right now? Oh, how He loves us. Oh, how He longs for us. And oh, how He still wants to marry us. But He deserves better. He deserves a bride that is fully there, fully attentive, full of love and excited to get married. He wants a Bride that works hard to get herself ready, to make herself ready and then to be awake with lamps lit.
The very next day during church, God spoke to me and I wrote these words down:
Look at My bride Susan. She has great taste. She is talented and greatly loved but she is drunk. She is a lush. She is not truly ready for her wedding day. Susan, the way you felt about that bride, think about how I feel about Mine. I don’t want her to miss out on her wedding day or the planning and process that proceeds this day.
Wedding THREE (October): With this symbolism intact, I already knew in my heart that somehow this third wedding would paint a picture of perfection, of the type of wedding day that Christ longs for. And sure enough, God delivered. We have photographed weddings for about 8 years now and although we have always wanted to photograph a wedding at a vineyard, we never had the chance. But this time we did and this in and of itself is great symbolism for vineyards and wine are all over the Bible and you can’t have a wedding feast without The Vine. Not only this but this particular vineyard was called Grace Hill. It was a wonderful Christ-centered wedding as the couple got married with the vineyard behind them and lit lanterns all around the room. But what I loved most about God’s complete circle of fulfilling symbolism is the brides dress. The back of her dress, by design this time I might add, had the same configuration as the one that my husband and I ended up fashioning for the bride two weddings ago, for the one who needed us to fix her wedding dress. When I saw the back of this dress, I knew God was speaking to me and to make it even more poignant, she even had a backwards necklace. It was a necklace that had the purpose of actually hanging down the back instead of the front of the bride. This only served to highlight the back of her dress even more, allowing it to be a focal point. God was pointing out that indeed, His Bride will be ready someday and our true wedding feast will commence. Praise God!
In the Song of Solomon, we see in the first few verses that the king fell in love with his lady while she was hard at work in the field, in his vineyard. This is a great picture of Christ my friends. Likewise, He desires to find His love hard at work in his vineyard, within this mission field called life.
Well, I actually thought that that wedding would be our last one to photograph but God had other plans for He wasn’t done speaking. We ended up booking another spur of the moment wedding.
Wedding FOUR (November): This wedding too ended up being a first for us, for the couple getting married was in their late 70’s, early 80’s. But this wasn’t what made the wedding so unique. What made the wedding unique is that it was a full-blown wedding just like all the other’s we have photographed over the years. They didn’t let their age force them into having a small ceremony. Instead, they had the full bridal party. Just like younger bride’s she walked down the long aisle with bridesmaids and flower girls preceding her. They also had a full reception with a first dance and cake cutting.
This wedding was on a Sunday afternoon and knowing that God had brought forth great symbolism from the previous three weddings, during church I asked Him, “Lord, are You going to speak through this wedding today?” He replied:
Susan, My Kingdom is for all ages, for all people - male, female, young, and old. The words I speak to you concerning getting My bride ready is for all, not just young women. All are invited to the wedding of the Lamb. Take note of the joy you will see on the bride and grooms face today. My Spirit offers newness and joy for all ages. One should never think their life is ending for I have ALWAYS offered new beginnings, always.
Well, I did take note of their faces and they were beautiful. I found myself welling up with tears several times during the ceremony as I reflected on God’s words to me that morning and as I remembered the symbolism that God was speaking about through what I was witnessing. What made this wedding so unique, like I mentioned, is that it was just like all the rest. They didn’t choose a small wedding because they were older. Instead, they chose life. They chose to rejoice and live each day to the fullest. They chose to believe God for new beginnings.
We don’t know when our last day will be and we don’t know when Christ is coming back, but what we do know is that it isn’t over until God says it is over.
Well, I thought that God’s message would end there but He just keeps speaking. He will always keep speaking, especially until we fully listen!
The following Sunday morning I opened Facebook to find that a dear friend had passed away the day before from Covid complications. I hadn’t even known she was sick. I then found out about 10 minutes later from Joe that the mom of some friends of ours had been stabbed in the neck by an intruder and passed away shortly after. What was happening? I was left heartbroken and confused. All I could think about was my friend’s dreams and how there was so much she still wanted to do and achieve.
I then got to church to discover that we had a guest speaker who was there to talk about lessons from sorrow. His message was on what he had learned after his own wife died four months ago from Covid complications. After my thoughts about my own friend earlier in the day I appreciated something that he said. In regards to one of the lessons he had to share being that in the worst of times we need the best theology, he shared how many people tried to comfort him by saying that his wife was looking down on him and his children. He mentioned that based on such comments that he envisioned Heaven having a plexiglass window on the floor and that if people could look through that floor down to their loved ones wishing they were still with them that that wouldn’t be Heaven. That would be hell. I appreciated that scenario because it caused me to remember that those that have gone before us, who know the Lord, are no longer concerned with what they didn’t fulfill on earth or their earthly dreams, or even with the horrible way they died. Instead, this man pointed out, they are now living within complete fulfillment, purpose, and freedom. He mentioned that Heaven is Heaven because Jesus is there, period.
Once again, God then spoke. He said:
Susan, I am a Good God. No one was made for this world Susan, remember that. Better to be with Me in My Kingdom than on earth, even for one more moment. Death is not something to fear. What people should fear is a life unlived, a life not lived according to My Spirit. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. Susan, live life to the full. Live. . . There is still a lot of work to do. If you are still alive, there is work to do, eternal work, not just busywork. Susan, you are letting the busywork way you down. It is not the most important work, oh My little Martha. Choose the better option Susan for it will not be taken from you. Susan, lay the busywork down and know that I am a God of order. I will give you the time you need to accomplish all tasks, including housework. But Susan My house is in ruins. My bride is drunk and in despair. Get to work My love. There is always something to do for My Kingdom, especially prayer. Time with Me will never be taken from you. Believe. Choose wisely. . . Sit at My feet Susan, even when you don’t feel you have time. Your dear friend was good at this, something she did well and it will never be taken from her.
Susan, there is no sorrow in death for those who belong to Me. True mourning is reserved for those who don’t, and My love there’s so many right now that claim to know Me but do not. Mourn for them, cry for them, but more importantly, shine for them. Bring light to the darkness Susan. This is what Christ is for - to bring light to the darkness. Darkness exists within deception, lies. Testify Susan, with every open door testify. Don’t hold back. Don’t sugarcoat. I have called you to bring light to the darkness, to the darkness within every heart, even the hearts that belong to Me. My people need revival Susan, a cleansing and it has begun. I am at work Susan, greatly at work. A great paradigm shift is happening, an unraveling. It is to awaken My people to the truth I have revealed to you today - that life is short and that My people are here for a reason. No more just surviving, it is time to live with purpose. It is time to truly be My Bride, My worthy Bride, who is worth coming back for, one hard at work in the field. Get to work, My bride. Get MY BRIDE READY, for how I long for her. She is Mine and I want all of her, not just a select few. I came to seek and save the lost. I came to seek and save THE LOST. The lost, Susan, how great is this category. Lessen it, Susan. Testify! TESTIFY My love and encourage others to do the same. This is how the lost will be saved. . . Give birth to the Word of your testimony that He may once again bring light to the darkness.
I will end with a passage from my book, my testimony “Bridegroom in the Clouds - Book Two: Bridge Stories”:
And on that note, look at Jesus’ sentence right before He gives the Great Commission. This is not by accident, my friends, yet how often we ignore the significance or the symbolism behind the placement of these words. In Acts 1:7–8 (NIV), Jesus says, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Then after saying these things, Jesus was taken up and a cloud hid him from their sight (Acts 1:9).
Do you see that? Before giving us the Great Commission, Jesus, in the same breath, begins by telling us that we will never know the set deadline by which we have to accomplish the task that He has given us to do, the task of furthering His Kingdom. Why? I believe that one of the reasons is because, along with always wanting us to be ready and to work with a sense of urgency due to not knowing, Jesus was pointing out that the most important thing is actually the work. Jesus doesn’t want us to be consumed with the when but with the what.
Friends, God’s message is clear: Male or female, young or old, we still have work to do! So, let’s get busy testifying to the Light of Jesus Christ.