Looking back now at the weekend of my amazingly perfect wedding, I think there may have been one moment where I felt overwhelmed and nervous about what was happening.
It wasn’t the night before the wedding. It wasn’t as we were driving to the site. It wasn’t at 5:15 when we were a half hour behind schedule and weren’t starting yet.
It was the week before when I was sitting down and trying to write my vows.
There aren’t a lot of times in someone’s life when you publicly make HUGE claims and promises in front of the people you care about the most, especially the person you’re going to live with forever. The thought of me actually following through with everything I was writing in my vows was a very sobering moment. It forced me to re-think what it meant to be in marriage.
As scary as that initial moment was, once I thought about how much I desired to be with Deborah, it became much easier to settle down and write what was in my heart.
If I did not love Deborah, if I did not delight and find my joy in her the way that I do, then creating and saying those vows would have been merely a show.
And the same goes with our relationship with God.
If we truly love and find our joy in Christ, should it not naturally lead to vows? Would offering up our lives in surrender or making huge claims and sacrifices be that outlandish?
When we are not captivated by our Creator, when we are not ravished by our Redeemer - when we aren’t confident enough to make promises to our true first love, that would be a time for us to worry.
God is worthy of our promises. He’s deserving of our dreams. Who else but the Savior of our souls should our boldest claims be made to?
People were requesting that they hear the vow again, so I decided to just post it here. This was as much a reminder for me of the Gospel as it was a promise that Jesus would be the center of our marriage.
"I, Jesse, vow to love you, Deborah, as Christ loves the church.
As Jesus Christ guides and leads the church, so I too will guide and lead you. I will point you to his promises, and sharpen you with his word. I will listen and honor you as my beloved helper. With the pursuit of Christ as my primary passion, I will guide and lead you.
As Jesus Christ is patient with the world, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance, so I too will be patient with you. In your mood swings, in your “times of the month”, in your stubbornness, in your neediness, on your worst day, on your worst week, month, or year - I will be patient with you.
As Jesus Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, so I too will give myself up for you. In every opportunity that I can sacrifice something for your good, whether it be my life, my weekend, or even my USC football games, I will give myself up for you.
And as Jesus Christ will one day present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, so I too will do everything in my power and ability to labor towards presenting you on the last day as blameless.
I will fight for your flourishing.
Pray for your empowerment.
Suffer for your sanctification and
Hope for your holiness.
In word and in deed, in thought and in motive, I vow to love you, Deborah, as Christ loves the church.”
Let it be true that I can be as intentional with God as I was with Deborah on my wedding day.