The week leading up to my wedding to Trent, I wanted to really focus on the promises I was about to make and their meaning, so I decided to journal my thoughts about my vows and the significance of the upcoming wedding…
Elisabeth Elliot always reaches into my heart with her words. This excerpt about submission from her book Keep a Quiet Heart was no exception,
“A Christian woman, then, in submission to God, recognizes the divinely assigned authority of her husband (he didn’t earn it, remember, he received it by appointment). She then sets about lending her full strength to helping him to do what he’s supposed to do, be what he’s supposed to be- her head. She’s not always trying to get her own way. She’s trying to make it easier for him to do his job. She seeks to contribute to his purpose, hot to scheme how to accomplish her own.”
I have been thinking over the vows that I am preparing to recite at the wedding. I have them printed out and leaning against my bedside lamp. After reading this excerpt, I looked at that paper and these words jumped out at me, “…I will, with God’s help, submit to you…”
I am promising Trent that I will be his #1 supporter. I won’t be the one in charge of the household; he will. It is my job to “lend my full strength” in encouraging him to be my head. I am also called to encourage him to follow the Lord, Who is his ultimate Head. Trent has a hard job ahead, and I need to make that easier, not harder, for him.
I will, with God’s help, submit to you.
Christian marriage is not about hearts and roses. It is, however, about a Divinely arranged union that has the potential to show the world God’s faithful love for His people. That is such a high calling with great potential! We can scream to the world about how God loves them as loud as we want, but really, the more effective route is to show them what this love looks like in an everyday setting.
The extent of God’ faithfulness is spelled out in Genesis 28:15:
“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go… for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
Israel (and us Gentiles, now!) is God’s ugly bride. He loves, she recoils. Sometimes she seems to love for a while and then commits adultery with the world. Her passions come and go with the wind. Sometimes she loves, other times she denies she even knows Him. But what is God’s response throughout this relationship?
He loves. Always. He is always calling her back. It blows my mind. God has been striving with the rebellious human race for so many thousands of years. He is the Ultimate Lover.
I am called to be a picture of Him in my love for Trent. Marriage was made to last. God never cops out, and neither should I.
Trying to mirror this in my marriage seems a little difficult. I know I’m not going to be able to do it all the time. That’s why it’s put this way in our vows, “I will, with God’s help… be faithful to you.”
I will say to Trent as God said to Israel,
I will not leave you.
Recently, I attended a memorial of a dear old man from church. It was a joyful memorial, full of good memories and celebration. I watched his spunky, ageless wife in the front row, head bobbing up and down in agreement with the message. I was awed by her faithfulness to her husband through the years! These last few years, he had dementia and wasn’t really “himself” — but she still took care of him and loved him. What a testimony!
It brought to mind the words from our vows, “…to love and to cherish you always…”
Through raising our kids. Through seeing them go out on their own. Through finding our first gray hairs together. Through holding hands in the nursing home.
We’re together, and we’re together for life. Always, through the ups and through the downs, and all the “whatevers” in between.
It reminds me of the Lord’s words to us, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Trent, I promise,
…to love and cherish you always…
The Bride and The Groom
My favorite part of going to a wedding isn’t seeing the bride’s dress or hearing the music or the cake — it’s the look on the groom’s face as his bride walks up the aisle. I still remember the first wedding when that became my favorite part. It was my pastor’s son’s wedding. As his bride drew near up the aisle, his face was mixed with deep love, deep longing, and deep emotion. It was as if his face said, “Here you are, after all these years. You’re mine. And you are so beautiful.”
Then it hit me. This man represents God, watching His Bride, the Church, approach. No one can judge her, because He has clothed her in pure white righteousness. That doesn’t mean she’s not sinful underneath that dress, but He has covered her up, and she appears blameless before Him, her loving groom.
In a groom’s face, I see no shadow of regret, or thoughts of, I wish you were more beautiful. There is only radiance and joy. I am overwhelmed that the Lord God, Creator of the World, loves me so much! I’m beautiful to Him because He’s made me beautiful. There isn’t a hint of regret in His face as He looks at me.
As I anticipate our wedding, I can’t wait for that moment. Me, standing in my white dress, representing my put-on, God-given righteousness, looking steadfastly into Trent’s face. He will be my groom, my love, a reflection of God’s eyes for me… unbridled love, no regret.
Photography: Brittany Nicole Photography