One of the greatest, most unexpected gifts from God I’ve ever received came years ago.
It was 2014. I was finally healing from a relationship that had 3 years of my heart, my tears, my joy, and my pain. In the freedom of the healing I found I was able to date again. This dating was different however, as it came without weighed down history and carried an intoxicating level of freedom and joy.
I remember exactly where I was when God interrupted my zeal, which in that in that season often came without wisdom (we need both - zeal and wisdom. Thank you Jesus I’ve grown and am forever growing in this!). I was sitting on the other side of the world in a hotel room on the border of Cambodia and Thailand, staring at the one I had been joyously, and in some ways, carelessly dating for a number of months. As I stared at him across the table I heard the still, small voice of God speak,
“I will take him from you.”
I’ve felt this a few times in my life: a real fear of God and a true, all consuming peace simultaneously. It’s a juxtaposition and it’s not. It’s God. He is peace and He is power. He is gentle and He is fire. He is the lion and the lamb.
That was this moment. My heart knew the magnitude of God and the quiet prayers I had prayed committing my steps to Him, regardless of the cost. My heart also knew the ways I had been running, and honestly, in some ways a part of me was waiting to experience the sovereignty of God and His fiery ways that would chase me down (don’t we all sort of daydream about that, as women? It’s what we’re created for!) The kind of Love that would put His foot down because He knows sometimes whats truly great comes at the cost of whats just good. I knew He was about to teach, or perhaps demand, I exchange my “Good” for His “Great.” That’s not to speak poorly of anyone, the man I was dating was a good guy, but it wasn’t Gods best. We were living for our flesh rather than dying to it. Real love was saying no more.
I’ll never forget that moment, a true smile from somewhere deep within my soul began to rise. Like this was it. This was the day His love would begin to unravel. This was the day He would rescue me in all the ways I longed for but never had the words to say.
I whispered nothing back to Him. I simply rested in His presence and smiled inside thinking of the journey to come, knowing whatever it was, it would finally be authored by Heavens hand. The kind of stories we’re created for.
It was maybe a month later that relationship dissipated overnight, gone in a moment.
In was sometime in that season (or perhaps the entire season…) I hit the floor and spent a significant amount of time on my knees in prayer. I repeatedly told God, “I want the full story. Whatever you have, I want it.”
I remember the fear of God hitting me once more as I heard God speak,
“Kristie, do you know what you’re asking?”
I remember naively crying out, “Yes! I know what I’m asking! I’m ready, I want Your story!”
I look back with such affection for my abandon for Jesus in those wild, first love moments of deep surrender. My heart meant and wanted it. My heart also had no idea the weight of what I was requesting before the Creator of the universe.
Not long after I was sitting at a red light in my car and that sovereign voice whispered once more,
“Kristie, the next man you’ll be with will be on your wedding night.”
(Jesus was referring to physical intimacy).
I remember how confounded and simultaneously at peace I was. His jealous love for me soaked every inch of me at that red light. It was the invitation I’d been craving my whole life but had never heard. So I want to just pause for a moment right here and say this: physical intimacy is a gift and God is a God of pleasure. It’s His specialty. He created it. He did not create it for outside of covenant, however, and it’s not a “No” to sex, it’s a “Yes” to the fullness of what our heart and souls were created for and what we innately crave and long for. Intimacy outside of marriage is damaging to our souls; a weight we were never created to bear. Our Father is protective of us and our Lover Jesus is jealous for us (a love demanding as the grave - gah! It’s intoxicating, guys) and you have an invitation to wait. It’s the invitation you were created for.
It was through this invitation, perhaps for the first time ever, I felt the weight of who I was as daughter being cared for by my all powerful, all protective Father. His love was without compromise and His nature is to author a story that’s just the same. That word “Compromise” means to lower standards or receive less than whats desired. This is exactly contrary to who I knew God to be or how He would fight for and prepare me for covenant relationship with the son He’s preparing. God is a God of promise, and this would mark the beginning of what I’d come to learn - there is no promise truly rich without process.
God continued on,
“Kristie, I am veiling you. Just as a bride is veiled on her wedding day, you will be hidden and I am the veil. No man can access you until He comes to me.”
In that moment I felt the presence of God blanket my spirit, soul, and body. In a moment I was washed white, veiled, and wrapped up in the arms of the Father beneath that veil dripping in bridal glory. I’ve never felt anything like it. I sat with the Father and He showed me He sent Jesus to stand as my veil - a lover to drape Himself over every inch of me, His bride and lover. For years I’ve basked in this and envisioned Jesus standing before me, with His back to mine, standing guard and protecting all parts of my heart and soul.
Just recently Jesus came to me, declaring,
“Kristie, my back is not to you! How could I turn my back to you? I am captivated by your beauty, I’m looking right at you.”
In that moment I felt the essence of Jesus - face to face, nose to nose. And just as a veil drapes the face of the bride, Jesus was standing intimately near to me with His breath over my every inch. I broke. The magnitude of His love and the level of intimacy was overwhelming. Nearly crushing beneath its power, honestly.
II’ve stood romanced and draped beneath the veil of Jesus for years. Never feeling single, but experiencing covenant with Lover Jesus first. He’s stripped me bare, taught me the weight of standing naked and unashamed before Love Himself, and dressed me in royal garments I’ve yet to find on the earth (extravagance is also a specialty of His may I add…!)
Beneath the veil I have been formed and forgiven. I have been prepared and transformed. I have been purified and have surrendered. I’ve laughed and I’ve sobbed. I’ve prayed and I’ve pleaded.
I’ve heard the whisper of the enemy come in time and time again,
“You’re alone. You’re forgotten. You’re set aside.”
I’ve heard the vengeance of God come in more powerfully,
“You are mine. You are marked for my glory. You’re set apart.”
I’ve held to His promise, learning to live a life completely free of compromise. I’ve fought and I’ve rested. I’ve been formed and intimately held. I’ve learned the intoxicating intimacy of a life spent face to face with Jesus, an intimacy I pray I never lose. I’ve prayed courage into the heart of the man filled with love and conviction enough to walk through the surely refining process of the veil that gloriously surrounds me. I’ve found the best stories demand a brave yes to the narrow, refining process of choosing Jesus. And I love that, because it’s romance and forms the set apart son.
Aside from Jesus Himself, the veiling of my very being, its hiddenness, and this intimate process is the greatest gift I’ve ever received. It’s the process that’s made the promise rich. It’s the hidden place I’ve learned of my real beauty and immeasurable worth. It’s the intimate place I’ve learned covenant relationship with Jesus and what it means to live as once flesh, the foundation I’ll stand upon as one flesh with man. It’s the intimacy that’s formed me, the very fabric that’s protected me.
I breathe in deep beneath its white extravagance. I smile and I laugh with deep joy at the thought of the day it is lifted, and I’ve mourned and cried deep tears over it too. With joy the Father will someday lift it to make way for me to become one flesh with man, yet a sliver of sorrow pierces the thought of saying goodbye to the veiled season. Never again will it be just Jesus and I. This is glorious, I revere the day I will become a wife, but there’s something to mourn too. Because I will spend the rest of my life thanking Jesus for the years spent intimately with Him, just Him. Beneath the veil He deemed me worthy of and extravagantly draped over me; His breath over every inch of my being.
There could never be words strong enough to hold the weight of gratitude within my beating heart beneath its fabric.
The veil is a love story, an extravagant romance. And I pray you too let Him have you. All of you, beautiful one.