Denise J. Hughes
About the Author

Denise is a lover of words and the Word. She's the author of #DeeperWaters and the Bible study series #WordWriters.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
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Reader Interactions


    • Thanks! There are so many amazing metaphors in Scripture that teach us deep truths about God. One of my favorite metaphors, though, is of Christ as the Bridegroom and His church as His Bride.

  1. Great post! Made me think of two things- I know someone who has recently begun doing exactly what you described above; taking some quiet time alone to pray and set their mind right before ever stepping in the church doors, for the same reasons you did. Church can be a battleground for some, and there are those who feel most alone when they are in the biggest crowd, especially when that crowd is so caught up in their own agendas that they don’t see the one standing alone…..

    Your post also reminded me of a funny story that happened on my wedding day, but this time to my husband, the groom. He and his groomsmen were saying a prayer just before the bells chimed at 11, signaling their entrance to the ceremony. As the prayer was ending, my soon-to-be-husband went to button the jacket of his tux when the button flew off the fabric and onto the floor….all the groomsmen in the prayer circle looked up in astonishment and the best man yelled out with his spur of the moment plan – “Okay….everyone- unbutton your tux!” I cannot remember if they followed through with that or not, but later I understood the reason why, when walking down the aisle, I noticed my groom wouldn’t dare to uncross his arms from in front of him…. This is how memories are made!

  2. Your post contained such a powerful message of grace! I found the wedding analogy particularly emotional as I am preparing for my marriage. The church is the Bride of Christ and He is the one who removes all the ugly that comes out of human beings. It is far too easy to stay locked in the hurt that others cause us when through Christ we are made to live free of the pain through forgiveness. Thank you for sharing this article!

  3. What a great image, Denise! I’m pondering the church bride metaphor a lot lately.

    I’ve been hurt by someone in our past church but had many rallying around me, so it was different but I finally laid it down as we all took communion: it’s the Heavenly Father’s work to keep his kids in line.

    Harder to deal with was pain from Christians who didn’t attend church with me but went to other denominations. Then I yearned for a common pastor. Eventually God showed me not to judge but look to him for what he was doing instead.

  4. What a perfect analogy Denise! The Bride of Christ certainly isn’t perfect, but the grace of God covers us all. Thank you!

  5. Denise,
    I/we think that people within the church should know better…but sinners are found outside and inside the church. It took me a LONG time to be able to go back to the church where a youth leader had hurt and turned my son off from church completely. Sad to say it was several years until that leader left the church that I was able to walk through the door again and many more before my son would set foot inside a church at all. I have to remind myself that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and ALL need forgiveness…including me…or especially me. Thanks for a beautiful reminder that only through Christ is the Bride (the church body) made clean before God.

    • Bev, I’m so sorry you and your son experienced that. I’m afraid those kinds of wounds are more common than we sometimes realize. It’s why we all need grace. I’m so grateful for the mercy He extends to us all!

  6. We need regular reminders of God’s love for His bride, so thank you, but I must say that I’m quite in awe of your gracious, cool-headed response as a bride. Blessings to you!

    • Thanks, Michele. There have been plenty of moments where I haven’t been so “cool-headed,” but the ceremony was about to start, so I don’t think I had time to really process it — just react! 🙂

  7. Ah! Thank you. I have had my struggles in the past with attending church. As you did, I would get up early and spend my morning trying to get in a good place to spend a couple hours with God’s people. Even as I say God’s people it doesn’t seem like it should be so difficult but at time is can be. By God’s grace I am at a much better place right now. I am certain many have experienced this at one time or another. Thanks for being vulnerable! And how wonderful it was that you kept your cool as a bride.
    Blessings, Julie

  8. This is such a powerful metaphor and story Denise. As I walk through some deep hurts of my own, I needed this tender truth-filled reminder. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart with us!!

  9. I need this reminder sometimes even in motherhood. Lord, help me show my children the same grace you show me. What a great example of choosing to love others when they don’t deserve it and to take the annoyances that come when messy, sinful, selfish people do life together.

    • Yes! I want to extend grace to my kids, and model for them what it looks like to extend grace to others. Because we’ve all had moments when we needed grace extended to us. 🙂

  10. This is a wonderful metaphor, we are spotless brides in Jesus. Unfortunately, church people don’t always act the way they should, the alone time is a good idea. Let God defend us. i also saw a video from Manna Fest, the only way cracked vessels could be fix was with the blood from a tick, taken from a sheep. It must have been made into a paste, but the metaphor is there, we’re fixed by the blood of the Lamb and word of our testimony.

  11. Wow. Right where I have been for too long. Left one church because of just those types of things. I went determinedly for a year longer…dreading, making myself go. “Lord, I’m gathering out, in spite of. Prayed up, armor on. Finally went to a different church … Same stuff. Jesus commands us to love as He loved us: unconditionally. And to forgive one another as He forgave us: completely… we don’t. I’ve come to just thank God that He is not like His children. Not what He intended, I know. Hebrews says, ” and hope does not disappoint” … I’m so glad Jesus doesn’t either 🙂

    • Mo, I’m sorry you’ve experienced similar hurts. I, too, am so glad that Jesus never forsakes us or abandons us. He is a steady constant — an ever-present help. We can always look to Him.

  12. Denise,
    Such a beautiful metaphor! I’ve heard it said often that church people hurt you more than outsiders. I was attending a down town church and was told that some people said “I don’t want those people in MY church”.–Those people are the homeless. WOW! Never occurred to me that it was their church! I always thought it was God’s church and He would welcome everyone!! I wonder how they would feel if they were the homeless and heard those words!
    Blessings 🙂

  13. What a comfort! If we had to be perfect to be useful, we’d all be lost. I love your story. The bride’s not perfect, but her friends help her to be shown in her best light. And in her imperfection, she gets married anyway —the groom doesn’t desert her. All of this is true about the Church too…we should help to show her in her best light, but Christ always shows up anyway. He will never abandon His Bride. Thank you for this beautiful story and reminder!! Love your heart, friend!!