For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV, ©2010)
This traditional marriage vow is within ours…and there are many more too. My mother-in-law aptly remarked after our wedding, that ‘we said a lot.’ And I know she meant that we ‘vowed’ much to one another…it’s true and by His grace we are keeping those vows and growing in the keeping and those. vows. are. keeping. us. and growing us.
It is as with the words I write here and yet all-the-more hallowed as a covenant between my love and I. Witnessed by many loved ones and said in earnest before a man dedicated to the Word. By His Grace Alone. I do.
I remember little of what my husband said to me when he proposed (right around this time of year, written in white Christmas lights, “Will U Marry Me?” Yes, I can hear your ‘awww’ now). But I do remember this he said ‘By His Grace’…I will be yours and you will be mine and we will live this life together taking each other to Eternity’s Door.
When we met my mother was terminally ill and I was living with her and my Dad assuming many responsibilities and also teaching high school math full-time. I had nothing to give and he was listening, unconditional Grace embodied. Asked nothing in return though it was here that our love was planted on ripe, ready soil.
He, too, was passing through a very difficult time and felt weak and unable to love--especially for a lifetime. ‘By His Grace’ was meant with all of the faith of a desperate soul clinging to Jesus.
I look at what God has done since He gave us each other. How He’s healed both of us. How He is STILL ever healing us. How He is All the Grace that Binds us ‘in sickness and in health.’ I very deeply see how my beloved reflects that Grace and how I’ve learned so much more of it through this Grace-Come-Close…closer than many days I would choose or want. When hiding would be my game and space my balm. He gives me Grace. His Grace.
I think of this weekend how we both passed through sickness. The stomach one. The Bad One. I saw him get sick and he is my rock and Grace is my Rock and oh how I needed His Grace to love ‘in sickness and in health.’ And I still felt I was the recipient of the greater Grace when I was the weak one.
Then how ‘sickness and health’ expands to envelope the little ones that we have been given. And how loving them in this way is loving one another. And I am not alone. He trusts His Grace to love in this too and so we love together in sickness and in health.
‘In Sickness and In Health’ a solemn vow, yes. But also a reminder of His Grace that keeps. The sickness of two desperate souls more pronounced the journey longer and too is the Grace that heals and seals and Alone. Receives. The. Glory.
Thank You Lord of Love and Grace:
- for its reminder of how fragile we are
- for how good healthy feels when sickness passes
- for the reality that these days have been few of sickness
- for the chance to see a love deepened
- for your Grace that deepens in it
- for the more than not that I experience it
- for how every healthy breath is a gift
- for the Grace that makes our marriage healthy
- for a heart that dreams of what healthy me can do
- for precious baby girl preserved from this (and prayers will stay preserved)
- for that day nearly eight years ago when he knelt and said ‘By His Grace’
- for how he had been embodying it and so I gave a full-hearted ‘yes!’
- for the You who has made our marriage a place of healing
- for the way love grows as it is kept by solemn vows
- for your Grace that daily infuses with strength
- for that constant sense that I am the greater recipient
- for an embraced humility that I truly am the greater sinner
- for love’s new life two times over…baby boy and baby girl
- for THE BEST THAT IS YET TO COME!!!!
- for infinite fullness of Your Grace supply…Love Come Down And Makes His Home With Us!
adding this past post to this post from Ann for today 1/26/11...it was too perfect for it not to...