Friday, July 15, 2016

5 Years Since Our Wedding Vows

It has been 5 years since we said "I do," 5 years since we promised to love and cherish one another for the rest of our lives. As we celebrate our anniversary, I can't help but feel like our wedding vows have been put to the test countless times in these 5 short years. It makes me wonder what the next 55 years will hold, but I pray we have that many years together, because I wouldn't want to face any of it with anyone else.

I have our vows hanging in our bedroom, so we are daily reminded of the promises we made to one another and before the Lord. But I thought our 5th anniversary would be a good time to reflect on them...

I, Erin, take you Mike to be my husband, my constant friend and my love. I promise to be your faithful partner,

in sickness and in health,
...My sweet husband has most definitely received the raw end of this deal. I managed to wipe out his entire health savings account {something he had saved over a period of years} in a matter of months, and I carve out a large part of our budget every month to stay as healthy as one can with an incurable autoimmune disease. While the Lord has granted grace and remission, it is still a constant hardship for both of us. Living with a chronic illness is always difficult, and it was something my husband had to learn how to deal with so early in our marriage. And something he will continue to have to deal with for the rest of my life. And yet he walks alongside with with grace and love and gentle care.

...And then there's infertility. It was an incredible loss for both of us, and we never realized the toll it would take on our hearts. But the Lord is good. No one ever wants to walk through infertility and loss, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. But we are thankful for the story the Lord crafted for us, and I am so thankful for my husband who has been my constant rock and encouragement. 

in plenty and in want,
...There have definitely been some lean times. With health expenses, infertility/adoption expenses, and times of unstable income, it has definitely made my budgeting/saver brain crazy at times. It's hard to tighten your budget, and then tighten it again, and then get that pesky hospital bill, and then lose your main source of income. And it has often been scary for my Type A {control-freak} brain. But when I look back at the past 5 years, the Lord has always provided everything we needed, and then some. While things may have been lean at times, we have never really been in true want, especially by a global standard. And I am thankful for a husband who pushes me to trust the Lord with our finances, to give generously even when things are tight, and to see that everything we have belongs to Jesus.

in times of joy and sorrow.
...There was joy and excitement in moving to McKinney and starting Redeemer Church. There was joy in seeing the Lord move in the lives of our people, joy in walking out our faith in such a tangible way. But there was also sorrow and hardship when the Lord asked us to let go of our dreams and our plans in McKinney. There was sorrow in saying goodbye and walking away from everything we had worked and hoped for. 

...There was some sorrow in our financial situation and how our roles as income earners seemed {in my mind} skewed. I struggled with finding joy in my role, and struggled with finding a balance with my health. And I know my husband struggled with wanting to follow God's call to plant a church and provide for his family. And there was sorrow when income didn't come or was taken from us. But there was joy in our service, and there was joy when the Lord offered a change and a reversal of roles. And there is joy in how the Lord has abundantly provided in this new season.

...I mentioned infertility in the "sickness and health" section, but it fits here too. From the sorrow of finding out that we would not be able to have genetic children, to the sorrow of losing our babies, infertility stripped so much of our temporal joy. There has been sorrow in the waiting and sorrow in the continued "no" to our prayers for a family of our own. But there has been joy in the Lord's unique plan to grow our family, joy in watching our babies grow, and there has been an even deeper joy in trusting the heart of a good and gracious Father.

I promise to love you unconditionally, to encourage and support you, and to willfully submit to you as the church submits to Christ.
...I have not always done a great job at this, but I strive every day to be a good wife. I have never done it perfectly, but I wanted so much to encourage and support Mike's desire to lead and grow a church. I believed in his gifting and his call so much, that I was ready to follow him wherever the Lord might send him {even crazy cold Michigan}. And I was heartbroken when he had to walk away from pastoral ministry for a season. But I have seen a side of my husband that makes me so proud and humbled to be his wife. He has worked hard and made incredible sacrifices to take care of me and our little ones. He presses into Jesus when the call to ministry makes the daily grind at work difficult, and he patiently waits on the Lord's perfect timing for that. And I pray daily that the waiting would be short for him. I cannot wait to see where the Lord leads him next, and I am most excited about seeing him rock dad life :)

Before God, our family and our friends, I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.
...Babe, I love you more every day, and I still cannot believe you are mine. When I think back over the last 5 years, my eyes can't help but fill with tears just thinking about the precious gift you are to me. You have loved me more than I could ever deserve, served me in countless ways, and led our family in a way that honors Jesus. I am so blessed to be your wife. Thank you for constantly pointing me to Jesus, for being my "constant friend and my love," and for loving me "sacrificially as Christ loves the church." You absolutely have my hand, my heart, and my love for my whole life. 

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