A life lived by faith is often filled with surprises. As we journeyed through the wilderness, we saw God lay out before us many unusual encounters. These special times encouraged us to press through the homelessness to see His faithfulness. In this podcast we discuss the time when God introduced into our world the TV show Say Yes to the Dress and its wonderful host, Randy Fenoli.
The clothing of 'self'
Many years ago, God had Wanda and I renew our wedding vows. This special time was prophetic as God was giving us a picture of the Bride of Christ. God made it clear to us at the time that bridal preparation was keenly important to Him and our wedding was a testimony for others. We wouldn’t know just how important this wedding would be until we entered the wilderness.
Remember how Adam and Eve sewed leaves together to clothe themselves and hide from God? As people we have been clothing ourselves ever since, hiding in our own ‘self’-righteousness, thinking God cannot see us. To become one with the Son, this clothing of ‘self’ must be torn off so we can be clothed with Him. When we descended into the valley of despair God stripped us down to the very basics of life. This was crucial for in order for the Bride to say yes to the dress she must first have nothing on.
Being stripped of everything you own and then paraded before the world for all to see is quite unnerving. To say we were humiliated would be an understatement. No one likes to be abased before their fellow man, but this process is necessary if we are to be emptied of ‘self’ with its prideful ‘self’-reliance. Only when we understand what it means to be despised by the world will we understand how Jesus felt on earth. This experience gives us empathy and understanding for our Beloved.
If Jesus were to abandon us in this place, it would be unimaginably cruel, but He doesn’t. Instead, at the lowest point of our journey, Jesus brings to us hope and understanding so we have strength to continue. Because bridal preparation is intensely difficult, our God knows we need help, and He provides it in the perfect way at just the right time. In our case it was a beautiful, unexpected encounter with the host of Say Yes To The Dress, Randy Fenoli.
God set the stage for this encounter by ensconcing us in a motel after 2 months of living outdoors. Enjoying the warmth and with little to do, Wanda and our daughters watched television. The one show that caught their attention was Say Yes To The Dress. This show was all about bridal preparation and, as we would discover, God was preparing us for what was coming next.
After we left the motel on a frosty January morning in 2012, we had no shelter and no place to go. We ended up in Borden-Carleton trying desperately to leave the prison of P.E.I. Our hopes of escape were dashed. Every door before us was barred shut. Falling deep into despair, with the bitter cold chilling our bodies, Wanda took the last of our funds to buy a little to eat.
Once inside the store she overheard some locals gossiping about the crazy homeless family that wouldn’t take social services. The dagger of hate drove deep into her spirit. Then in through the door walked Randy Fenoli. His smiling face and warm greeting of “Hello beautiful,” was exactly what Wanda needed to hear. Had Wanda not watched Say Yes To The Dress, she never would have recognized him nor gleaned this important lesson from the Father.
The lesson God gave was how serious He is about preparing the Bride to be like His Son. We needed to be stripped so we would empathize with those with nothing. He also taught us how He weaves the silver thread of His lead through different means, including television. His perfect timing was the end of this trifecta of learning.
We often think of the Bride of Christ in spiritual terms but make no mistake, the preparation is very real. The cost is significant, but the reward of Jesus is even greater. As you listen to our story, may you be encouraged to pursue Jesus and become the Bride.
Homer and Wanda