This week the husband and I renewed our vows. And by renew I mean wrote all new words. Because after seventeen years you need to say new words. The words you say when you are a young bride with no idea how to keep a promise to yourself, much less promises to another person for the rest of your life, well words need to be said again.
When you are walking down the aisle more concerned about the size of your waist and if your nursing bra is leaking more than the person at the end of the aisle it is perhaps not the picture of matrimonial bliss.
Writing vows again after seventeen years looks less like a Pinterest dream and more like a masterpiece of redemption.
It looks like late night arguing and late morning swollen eyes.
It looks like crayon drawings on the wall and Band-Aid covered knees.
It looks like pasta again for dinner with thirty dollars left in the checking account.
It looks like trips to the in-laws and silent anger the way home.
It looks like catching her passed out on the bathroom floor when she promised to stop.
It looks like spending the savings account again on a car they couldn’t afford in the first place.
It looks like soccer families meaning more than ones you left at home.
It looks like littles in pj’s crying behind closed doors as parents open the suitcases of resentment on each other.
It looks like buying your first house in a neighborhood friends never came to.
It looks like sleeping on the couch for nights turned into weeks.
It looks like a Bible opened for the first time.
It looks like you first before me.
It looks like midnight calls to ones you pour your secrets to.
It looks like college funds turned into therapy bills.
It looks like a home with a door revolving to those who need a place to stay.
It looks like forgiveness when she realizes she is the one she needs to forgive.
It looks like catching fireflies with smore’s still on their faces.
It looks like driving to the treatment center because this time has to be the last.
It looks like your knees bruised from pleading with God.
It looks like admitting the ugliness you’ve hid for years.
It looks like Saturday mornings on the porch before anyone else is awake.
It looks like telling the truth that no one wants to hear.
It looks like catching him praying over her before he goes to school.
It looks like finding friends who help you clean up the pieces.
It looks like falling on your face with the brokenness that you have become.
It looks like saying out loud that change needs to happen.
It looks like restoration.
And so we gathered our people. Our marriage warriors. And we stood in our backyard, in the neighborhood we claimed as our home and put a stake in the ground for the legacy of our family.
One of the most precious moment in the ceremony was when our good friend and pastor gathered us around our children and prayed the blood of Jesus over our family. That the chains of relationships would be broken and for the future spouses and callings of our sweet babes. I may have ugly cried my way through this.
And instead of promises. We made choices.
I choose to fight for you. To fight for us. I choose to daily lay your life before Jesus and ask that he guard your heart and mind to only His will. I choose to be present. To focus on what makes us a family not what makes others happy. I choose to put you first before our children. Because I know that is what is best for them. I choose to break the cycle of relationships gone before us by choosing healthy over happy. I choose to let you be the spiritual leader in our home and believing that God will equip you to do so. I choose to love you even when I am so unlovable.
But most of all. I choose this. I choose to pursue Jesus with all of my heart and passion. Because if we have learned anything these past 17 years it is this….He is our healer and redeemer.
And only He can restore.