Every year, I look forward to celebrating with the man I love on the anniversary of our marriage. This year was no different as far as that goes, but it was different. It was amazingly sweet and special, and one to be cherished. There was a sheer joy of promising again.
In case you missed my post on what we have been through the last year and a half. The short version is that my husband, a minister of the Gospel, confessed his addiction to pornography. I felt such a deep betrayal. I honestly didn’t know how we could overcome the brokenness. But God is the healer of broken hearts, mender of shattered lives. And he did an amazing work in our lives and our marriage. I can never tell you how thankful I am that he (God) brought us to the end of ourselves and drew us to him.
Deciding to renew our vows
I remember as a young wife wanting to have a vow renewal just so we could do something fun again. But as I grew older, I decided that once was enough–Thankyouverymuch!–and I would be happy with the original vows we shared. What I didn’t know then was the story that would unfold last January.
After we had worked through a great deal of the hurt, we began to talk about possibly renewing our vows. Chris wanted to. He felt that he had broken his vows, and I had a desire to start fresh. Our pastor was very excited to be witness to God’s work and to be a part, and he encouraged us each step of the way.
All we wanted were these things:
- Our kids to be a part
- Promise to each other again (obviously)
- Somehow include our original wedding song, “Long As I Live” by John Michael Montgomery
- Have Communion
- Somehow integrate the song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music
Our pastor encouraged us to do two things…. First, he wanted us to consider writing our own vows, and secondly, he encouraged us to include our closest friends and family. We really hadn’t considered that people would want to be bothered with it all, but he couldn’t have been more right! Not only were those closest to us not at all bothered or put out by the whole thing, they wanted to join us and serve. It really was amazing to see God’s people being his hands and feet, ministering to a couple of broken people, loving us anyway.
We decided to write, or at least find and tweak, vows that spoke our hearts.
On our wedding day,
I pledged to love you in sickness and in health,
and for better or worse.
The past year has tested those vows,
but the unrelenting love and redeeming grace
of our Lord Jesus has prevailed.
I stand here today to make a fresh start,
to renew our vows of love, honor, and faithfulness,
and to reaffirm my commitment to you,
to love and to cherish you as long as I live.
I love you.
You are my best friend.
Today I recommit myself to you and our marriage.
I promise to encourage and stand by you,
to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
when life is easy and when it’s hard,
I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in highest regard.
These things I give to you today, and all the days of our life.
It was so special, so touching. So simple, yet so real. We delighted to be promising again our lives to each other!
Following our vows, we observed communion with our friends and family while Mr. J sang “No Longer Slaves.”
We couldn’t have asked for it to be more perfect. Ultimately, we wanted God to be the center, and I believe he was. Likewise, we wanted to praise the Lord for what he has done in our lives both in the way of salvation and also in healing the hurts of the last year or so, and I believe we did. Finally, we wanted our children to be a part and see what a loving Father will do for His children, and I believe they do.
And that’s mostly why I am sharing this. Yes, I want to always remember the sweet aroma of that day and all that led up to that day, but mostly, I want you to know without a doubt that God is…. He is able to fix your junk, and heal your heart. Above all, he is a loving Father, the center of everything.
**Local people (or those willing to travel a little), if you liked our renewal photos, check out Shutterly Perfect Photography. I can’t say enough about what a great job they did!