Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vow Renewal

We renewed our vows! We had a very small ceremony at Christ Cove with a very small group of friends and family. There was not a lot of space, so we only invited our immediate families and some friends who were present during some very transitional times in our lives (a marriage retreat, a marriage bible study and Patrick's trip to Mexico). It was great! Pastor Greg "officiated". Before we came out he sort of explained why we were renewing our vows (it was not an anniversary) and let everyone know that we wanted this to be a time of worship and welcomed them to worship with us.

We walked into Rita Springer's "You Are Still Holy". Kelsi and Josh (my 22 yr. old step-son) were first, then Keeli and Mason and then us. Pastor Greg prayed and then we began.

Here is a copy of the wording of the ceremony:

Patrick and Kristie, God has established marriage as the symbol of Christ’s perfect relationship to His Body, the Church.

Ephesians 5: 22-33 says: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church—His ‘body’ of which He is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy; cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain, wrinkle, or any other blemish—but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body but he feeds and cares for it just as Christ does the church—for we are members of His ‘body’. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery—I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Patrick, God has ordained the man as the spiritual head, as the responsible provider, and as the initiator of love in this marriage. By His enablement, your strength must be Kristie’s protection, your character her boast and pride, and you must live so that she will find in you the love for which the heart of a woman truly longs.

Kristie, it is God’s purpose that you be a loving wife, that you respond to Patrick’s love in tenderness with a deep sense of understanding, through great faith in Christ who brought you together. By His enablement you will bring Patrick good and not harm all the days of His life and be a beautiful crown upon his head.

Christian marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve God. Seek His kingdom first, and His righteousness, and He will add all other things to you. Do not expect perfection from each other, perfection belongs solely to God. You need not minimize each other’s weaknesses, but always be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths and see each other through kind and patient eyes.

God will lead you into such situations as will bless you and develop your characters as you walk together. He will give you enough tears to keep you tender, enough hurts to keep you compassionate, enough of failure to keep your hands clenched tightly in His, and enough success to make you sure you walk with Him. May you never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that wonder that exclaims “Out of all this world you have chosen me.” When life is done, may you be found, then as now, hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May you ever serve Him happily, faithfully, together until you return to glory or until at last one shall lay the other into His arms.

Will you please, as an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, join hands.

Pastor Greg (to Patrick) – Patrick, this woman whom you hold by the hand is your wife. She has given you one of the most sacred things under Heavan: a woman’s life, and a woman’s love. You may bring her great joy or cause her deep sorrow. It is not what you bring her in a material way that will make true happiness – riches without love are nothing. The gift without the giver is bare. The practice of those virtues as husband that you have shown her in love, will keep her heart won to yours.

Would you repeat after me: (to Patrick)
I promise, before God who brought us together, to love and cherish you, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it, to lead you, and share all of life’s experiences with you, by following God through them. That through His grace we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Pastor Greg (to Kristie) Kristie, this man whom you hold by the hand is your husband. Upon your life, your love, and your devotion he will lean for strength and inspiration. He is going to look to you for encouragement, for cheerfulness, and for confidence. No matter what the world may say or think, people may forget him, lose confidence in him or turn their backs upon him, but you must not. May your life and love be the inspiration that will constantly lead him to greater dependence upon our Lord.

Would you repeat after me:
I promise, before God who brought us together, to love you and to cherish you, to submit myself to you in all things, to honor your goals and dreams and help you to fulfill them and to follow you through all of life’s experiences as you follow God, that through His grace we might grow together into the likeness of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

You both stand before us as children of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ through your trust in Him, and His substitutionary death for your sin. You have recognized that your love for each other is a gift from God. Have you asked God to be the center of your home?

Patrick and Kristie – We have.

Is it your purpose to maintain a home that is truly Christ-centered, where the Word of God is read and obeyed; a home that is welded together by prayer, in which the Holy Spirit is your guide?

Patrick and Kristie – It is.

1 Corinthians 13 says: If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth, but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move---without love, I would be no good to anybody! If I gave everything I have to the poor, and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear. It's like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now. There are three things that will endure--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.

Pastor Greg –(to Patrick and Kristie) Do you pledge that you will work to make your house a home full of love, not only for yourselves but also for others; a place where Christian love is shared?

Patrick and Kristie – We do.

At this point we had Pastor Greg thank each of the people who were present that have poured into us and helped to facilitate the change that has taken place.

After that Patrick stopped him and totally surprised me with a beautiful diamond ring. I was completely speechless.

At the end Pastor Gretchen came up and prayed over me and the wives and Pastor Greg prayed over Patrick. We walked out to Rita Springer's "When I Think About the Lord".

Everyone joined us inside for a super yummy supper of soups and desserts. My sister-in-law and a friend surprised us with a wedding cake (they are sooo sweet).

Then Pastor Greg's son Spencer lead us in an awesome time of worship. Boy is he talented. It was AMAZING!

I will post pictures soon. A super sweet young lady came and took our pics and I don't think I will have the disk until the end of next week.

So, you may be wondering why we renewed our vows, and I would love to tell you. When we married we were truly not living for the Lord and honestly I'm not sure either one of us knew exactly what that meant. We both called ourselves saved because we had both walked down an aisle and been baptized and we both believed that Jesus was our Savior and occasionaly prayed, but we didn't go to church an certainly didn't live lives that were pleasing to the Father. When our girls were born we really had to lean on the Lord and His provision during that time was unbelievable and undeniable. So, we began going to church while they were babies and have been in church ever since, for most of the last 9-10 years. During the first 9 years I dealt with a tremendous amount of bitterness and anxiety. My family truly paid the price for that. Patrick was a good husband, but definitely not a Godly one. About 4 years ago the Lord delivered me from anxiety. Many things lead up to that point, many people planted many seeds that were watered and growing. At that point I really began to yearn for Him and started working really hard a getting to know Him, at living for Him and allowing Him to live through me. I began to work at finding out what a Godly wife really was and what did submission really mean and I began to walk it out. Little by little, baby step by baby step and as I did, the Lord began to do a work in Patrick. Coming to The Rock has really changed everything. The Lord has become so much more tangible to us. Largely because we are seeing Him alive in the people around us. These people are so real. So willing to be honest about their weaknesses, but share with you their victories. We have been taught so much and God has truly changed our household. We just began to really feel that this was something the Lord wanted us to do. To make a vow to each other that was authentic, that expressed what whe truly felt about the kinds of spouses we are called to be. We also felt strongly that we needed to make a covenant with the Lord, vowing to Him to walk out what He has called us to. So that is just what we did and I am so thankful. I hope some of this inspires somebody in some way. We have an awesome Father and if we just trust Him and do what He asks of us, we may go through some tough things, but we will experience that peace that passes all understanding and a joy that is truly unspeakable!

Be Blessed!!!

2 comments:

Laurie said...

How wonderful!!!
We're planning to renew our vows as well...for our 20th anniversary. Two years to go... :)

What a neat way to show how you've grown, as individuals and as a couple. What a story for your children....

Thanks for sharing! I'd love to see photos when you get them!!!

~*Lisa*~ said...

I am so happy for you two! I think it is just awesome that you renewed your vows and how cool that Bo and I will be doing the same thing in June! Thank you for sharing the ceremony with us all. Like your friend said what a wonderful example and story for your children. Blessings.
P.S You have been tagged, see my blog!