[The following post is from Rebecca Potter who wrote this article about a very special young woman named Crystal Marie Simpson. Crystal had a heart for Christ and for the persecuted church. She was supposed to be married in June of this year. Sadly, she was killed in February. Her zeal is remembered at Project 13:3. The following post honors Crystal’s life and was given to Crystal’s mother today (August 26, 2012), which would have been Crystal’s 20th birthday.]
The creamy white dress gently hugged her slender body, the satin fabric carefully framing her subtle curves. The slightly plunging neckline was a bit too loose, but it didn’t matter; it was a detail easily overlooked, but had been quite bothersome to the bride. The simplicity of the wedding gown perfectly communicated the pure beauty and femininity of the young woman. There was no gathered lace, no puffy sleeves, no layers and layers of fabric to mask imperfections or take the focus away from the bride’s own radiance.
Her blond hair fell in soft waves around her shoulders left bare by her sleeveless bridal gown. Her young face showed peace and beauty. The angles of her jaw line were hard and strong, but made soft by her long, dark lashes and pink lips. The exquisite features of her face communicated youth, kindness, elegance, and warmth.
Beside the classically beautiful bride stood her groom. And close behind him was her mother. The trio was surrounded by friends and family who had gathered for the occasion—the room was filled to capacity. Quiet voices in separate conversations created a low murmur as guests filled the spaces of time with talk of how lovely the flowers were, how wonderful the bride looked, how great the turnout was. Some conversations moved to empty talk of work or weekend plans, but quickly came back to the bride and groom.
The bride’s father chatted with the many guests, seeming genuinely grateful for their attendance but exhausted at the same time. The mother said over and over, “Isn’t she beautiful,” then grinned knowing the answer already. This young bride had been responsible for the marriage of her own parents. Years before, they, as teenagers, had found themselves expecting a child, still children themselves. And so they married—because of this now bride.
A few years later, their little girl led them to church and then to a relationship with Jesus. She had begged them to take her to church as a young child. They did, to pacify her constant nagging. They did it for her, without realizing what she was doing for them. Through this sweet, humble girl, God had established a relationship with this family and glorified Himself through their lives and their unity. And now, because of her, family and friends were united on this day.
But this was no wedding.
Weeks of anticipation, months of planning, years of dreaming, and here they all were. Instead of walking his little girl down the aisle, the father would walk by her casket. Instead of a rehearsal dinner there was a visitation. Instead of planning a reception and ordering a cake, the mother would make funeral arrangements and pick out a tombstone. And instead of seeing his beautiful bride walk down the aisle in her flowing satin dress, eyes wide and intoxicating and a shy smile meant only for him, this groom stood over her casket, looking into her beautiful but empty face, longing for what could no longer be.
Her body has been in the ground for a few months now. The shock has worn off and the real grief has set in. The hearts of her loved ones remain broken and the image of her face is a painful comfort to those who loved her. Even amid the heartache and agony, this would-be bride is still bringing people to the Lord. The place where she sat during worship service is not empty; it is filled with family members who were out of church before who now hear the Gospel and understand it with new awareness. Her witness, her beautiful spirit, still resonates strongly with us all. And we all look forward to the day we are reunited with her at a marriage feast that will last into eternity.
For Crystal, to live was Christ and to die was gain. For this bride, it was not death to die. And now, she rejoices with the Bridegroom, singing praises around His throne. She is indeed alive.