Forever unfolding.

“I’ve decided God is about the things that come really easy or really, REALLY hard. Everything else is just me believing if I give the right amount of effort, I’ll get the result I want. Life is a lot of me pretending I have my act together.”

After a year in seminary, it’s good to know I’ve developed a really robust theology to share with friends when we talk about life.

But laughter aside, what if it’s true? What if we know God best because in a life where pain feels like it might snap us in half, journeys come full circle to yield beauty? And in a life flooded with hard work and doubt, we’re given moments where everything unfolds without striving?  God gives us the really, really hard, and he gives us the shockingly easy.

Three years ago, I wrote about dahlias. I wrote about life unfolding, and I wrote about the first man who forever loved me, just as he was starting to sweep me off my feet.

Today is also about dahlias, about life still unfolding, about a heart finding it’s way to be swept up in forever love again.

I’ve learned that every woman has a season when weddings make her sad. Each of us has faced or will face a grief that makes other people’s forever joy feel too overwhelming—prolonged singleness, infidelity, divorce, death, broken relationship.

Weddings are where Ecclesiastes gets real—those who weep and those who dance draw together along a single aisle—all to bear witness to a living metaphor of how deeply Jesus loves us. Some come to that aisle to celebrate love; some come to that aisle desperately fighting to believe in it. We gather, we cry, and we dance in the presence of one another for the sake of two souls. It may be life’s most moving image of the human condition.

When you’re grieving, you’re not sure which wedding will be the one when dancing begins again. You’re not sure which ceremony will keep you fully present rather than eager to dissociate. You just keep buying coffee makers and shiny white wrapping paper—waiting, hoping, believing it isn’t meaningless.

Till one day, it’s this wedding. For the girl who loves dahlias, and the man who loves her.

I didn’t know for sure it would be this wedding. But I hoped. And counting down the moments, I decided to say yes as much as I could. Yes to my dress—flowey and blue and everything I love. Yes to the gift of pinned up curls. Yes to all the late night dancing with a glow-stick crown.

And this time, walking down her aisle—carrying my purple-y, unfolding blooms—my smile came easy. A season of mourning is over.

I’m here; I made it, and I’m sure that this story is good.

As the writer of Ecclesiastes marks life’s seasons, he says, “God has set eternity within [our] hearts” (Eccl. 3:11). I believe that eternity, that “forever love,” finds expression here on this earth over and over and over again.

What if today, we all remember that forever love is always sacred—regardless of the way life shapes it?

Because forever love tastes like Jesus. It is our best selves reaching out for one another. It’s a chance to experience God, and a chance to extend God through the earth. Forever love draws us ever deeper towards God’s heart and purpose. It’s good, and it matters, every single ounce of it.

So we say thank you. Thank you for my forever love and thank you for my taste of your forever love.

Then, we look to the horizon and, when we can, we dance, because we know more forever love is coming.  And we’re ready for it.

Katy Johnson lives, dreams, writes, and edits in a messy, watercolored world.  She’s a 28 year old seminary student, discovering her hope, her longings, and the wild spaces in her own heart. Her favorite creative project right now is called Will I Break?, and someday, that manuscript may see the light of day. For now, she shares her thoughts here.