The mature Bride has an unwavering faith—toughened by hardship and endured bitterness
Chuck Pierce, vice president of Global Harvest Ministries and affiliated with the World Prayer Center, addresses endured bitterness of the mature bride. He says, “Esther 2:9-13 explains that 12 months of preparation were necessary before a woman could be presented to the king. That preparation consisted of two phases, one in which oil of myrrh was used and one in which beautiful perfumes were applied.
“The myrrh represented endured bitterness that ultimately produced a beautiful fragrance. After six months of wearing oil of myrrh, the woman was then given perfumes and other beautifiers that would enhance her appeal to the king.
“After this extensive preparation, Esther appeared before the king and found favor in his sight. Soon she was exalted to the royal position of queen.” We will be exalted to this position beside Jesus on His throne as queen, the mature bride—if we overcome through endurance. Barbara Watts endured great bitterness.
Barbara Watts as an im mature bride
One of Barbara Watt’s earliest and very special memories is a picture of herself when she was eight years old. She was standing in a beautiful cathedral-like setting with the blessed sacraments of the Lord all around—her first communion. In the front row of children, she was dressed in a beautiful little girl’s bridal outfit, with a matching white veil and little white shoes and socks, with her brown hair cascading around her shoulders.
Even though Barbara was raised in church to know about God, she did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When thirty-three years old, she learned what true communion with the Lord was. She found a church with a women’s group who studied the Bible. The women talked about Jesus as though they knew him. The church soon had revival services which she went to on a Wednesday night. That evening she sensed Jesus coming up behind her and saying, “I AM the One you’ve been looking for.”
Barbara remembers that night as something like an explosion. All the Scriptures, the teachings, and the hymns she learned over the years seemed to suddenly erupt in her heart and mind, and an incredible flood of realization came bursting through—crumbling the wall that kept her from knowing the blessings of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit descended upon her and she knew in a moment’s time that Jesus was real. At the close of the service at invitation time, she bounded to the front and exclaimed what Jesus had just done for her.
The next day, Barbara ran all over town to her friends and family telling them, “Jesus is alive. He is a real Person!” Everywhere she went, she witnessed. She told them, “I will never let go of Jesus’ hand, no matter what happens.” She would soon find out what that meant.
The following year, she led her son and daughter to accept Jesus and many family and friends. The Holy Spirit led her from one divine appointment to another. One day, she stopped at a convenience store and her heart ached when she saw a tall, muscular man with tattoos all over his arms leaning on the building and just staring out into space. When she walked out, he was still there. The Lord spoke to her, “Tell him I love him and that everything’s going to be all right.”
“Lord, are you sure you want me to talk with this man?” Her heart started beating hard.
“Yes,” He replied.
Barbara obeyed, walked up to the man and said, “I know you might think this very strange, but I am a Christian and Jesus just spoke to my heart and told me to tell you that He loves you and everything is going to be okay and to just trust Him.”
All of a sudden, this big, burly man hung his head and cried; then he looked at Barbara and said, “Thank you so much.”
Barbara walked from one divine appointment to another which she told her husband Jerry about; he still did not know the Lord. He saw many changes in her, though, especially when God taught her to treat him “as to the Lord” (Eph. 5:22). She hated to make his lunches for work, but she began to put all his favorite things on them and wrote on a napkin, “I love you.” She continued to praise the Lord and to thank Him daily for Jerry’s salvation.
Barbara’s endured bitterness begins
The day arrived when she ran into opposition to her witness. She and Jerry were at a restaurant for dinner with their friends. As usual, Barbara was witnessing to Jerry’s buddy, when a stroke-type thing hit her. She lost her speech as one hand flew up. She pulled it down with the other hand as tremors racked her body; however, peace consumed her as she knew God was still in her midst.
Her speech eventually returned; then, another stroke-like feeling. Her feet would only let her scoot to the car. Jerry wanted to take her to the hospital, but she wanted to go home first.
By the time they arrived at the house, Jerry had to carry her. While he called the hospital and doctor, Barbara, lying on the couch, heard a voice that filled her with fear, “You are going to die!”
She asked their friends, who had followed them home, to get her Bible. It fell open to Psalm 118:7, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”
After many tests and weeks in the hospital, the diagnosis was multiple sclerosis. From there, her condition worsened and would get better. She was in and out of an electric wheelchair, a walker, crutches, and a cane to totally bedridden. The disease, affecting the central nervous system, caused migraines, extreme hot and cold episodes, and pain-like crippling arthritis. It felt as though someone was inside her body—shaking it for all its worth.
One day, Jerry and their children were watching television. Barbara was in bed—numb. She could have called for help but did not feel she wanted to. She wanted to get in there on her own, so she slid out of bed—fell on her belly and scooted down the hallway. When Jerry saw her, he jumped up and ran to her. Shortly after that, he accepted the Lord when he realized he could no longer bear this in his own strength.
Husband and wife become the mature bride together
Together, Jerry and Barbara trusted the Lord for her healing. She discovered 3 John, verse 2 in the Amplified Bible, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” This was confirmation that God wanted her to be healed. They waited, hoped and expected the Lord to intervene (see Ps. 27:13-14).
Finally, one very cold Sunday arrived. The family had not planned to go to church, but to listen to the service instead; cold was Barbara’s enemy. Cold makes multiple sclerosis flare up uncontrollably, but she heard a voice, “Go to church.” Recognizing the Lord’s voice, she called friends to pick her up.
Using her cane, she got to her handicap class in the sanctuary. Within five minutes, the affliction hit her bladder, and she had to go to the restroom. That happened five or six more times until she lost control of her whole body and could not stand. A friend loaned Barbara his own wheelchair as the service was about to begin.
Returning from the restroom the last time, Barbara, with her girlfriend, Jonnie, rolling her in the wheelchair, saw that the sanctuary doors were shut.
“Barbara, what do you want to do? I can get some help and get you to the car.”
War attacked her mind and body: “GO HOME . . . STAY . . . GO HOME . . .!” Tremors grew so strong that the wheelchair shook. A migraine hit her as her throat began to close.
“Open the doors, I’m going through!” Barbara finally said.
While sitting in the back of the church by Jonnie, she sensed the presence of the Lord. Many began to move from their pews to go forward. Barbara felt compelled to “go forth.” She said to Jonnie, “Get me out of this wheelchair.”
“Barbara, you can’t stand up.”
“I don’t care. Get me out of this wheelchair.”
Jonnie lifted her up and set her down on the floor. Barbara lifted her trembling hand and sobbed, “Jesus I love you. Jesus I love you.”
It was as if liquid love poured all over her . . . she heard the Lord’s voice, “My child, stand up.”
“I can’t. You know I can’t?”
“My child, stand up,” the second time.
“Lord, please help me.”
“My child, stand up,” the third time.
Finally, Barbara put faith into action and lifted her shoulders. At that instant, the power of God hit her head, went through her body, and raised her to her feet, healing her instantly. She ran from the back of the church, unclasping the hands of the people who were singing, “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in This Place.” From the pulpit, she declared what had just happened—in a church with a history of not believing in divine healing—and for an incurable disease.
Barbara felt God had a certain date set for manifesting her healing, although Jesus paid for it with His blood so many years ago. During her illness, she had been given drama tapes that she acted out with her fingers. The Lord now brought even more tapes to her. She had told Him that when she could use her feet again, she would use them for His glory.
Barbara as the mature bride
One of the most compelling dramatizations Barbara performs is of the woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years (see Mark 5:25-34). With a dark cloak wrapped around her, she struggles down the isle to the front of the room. The Lord allows her to feel what that woman felt many years ago. More amazingly, her face becomes contorted as though she was the woman herself. When she arrives at the front where Jesus is standing and touches the hem of His garment, she demonstrates how His power rushed through her body, and He transforms her into a beautiful bride, with a pure dazzling white wedding gown on.
Dressed in her wedding garment and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Barbara moves, as the mature bride of Christ, to hurting individuals in the audience who are spiritually or physically bound. She speaks words of God’s wisdom and knowledge to them and prays for them. Before any presentation, she and other women stay the night before to fast, worship, and to pray and praise the Lord before the meeting. The Lord always shows up in His power, for they believe the evil one is overcome by the word of their testimony (Rev. 12: 11) and that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).
 Chuck Pierce, “Women Transforming the World,” SpiritLed Woman, April/May 2000, p. 17.