wedding vows

Posted: August 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

I find the usual, traditional wedding vows to be beautiful.  Still, it can be easy when we hear something with familiar words and cadences to tune out the depth of meaning and nuance.  Easy for it to become a form without power, you know?

So I was really pleased when Gary wanted us to do our own vows.  I was excited.  I couldn’t wait to write my vows.

And then I got stuck. Every time I would try, no words would come.  I poked around at it all summer but got precisely nowhere.

But in this, like in so many wedding-related matters, God kept me in perfect peace.  All of the trying and failing did not worry me at all.  Every time I hit the wall, I would just do something else and trust:  the words would come when the time was HIS time.  

The wedding was Saturday; I woke up on Friday about an hour before the alarm, knowing I had arrived at His time.  For about an hour and a half I prayed, listened, wrote – and was wrecked at what I was given to say.  There were a lot of happy tears and a great welling of awe, amazement, wonder.  I could hardly wait to say these things to Gary before God and all of those witnesses. 

That was MY version of trusting the Holy Spirit.

Gary, too, had decided to trust the Holy Spirit – but he went one degree further than me.  No pre-writing.  No script.  No notes.  Just:  pray.  Trust God.  Open mouth on altar and say whatever He supplied.  I know Gary well-enough to now:  this was not just a failure to care enough to prepare.  He was ACTUALLY DEPENDING ON GOD.  This is yet another way that Gary leads, instructs, and inspires me – I’m still small enough and so attached to my need to feel “in control” that I cannot find the courage to work without a net.  My husband does so and tosses in a cartwheel, just ’cause God feels like showing off. 

God is good and gracious, merciful and patient – He did not penalize me for needing to type it all out ahead.  He still spoke to my heart.  Still gave me the words.  They are at the bottom of this page.

I don’t have what Gary said.  We webcast the ceremony, but it did not record.  I cannot tell you what the words were.  I can only say:  he opened his mouth and eloquent, humble words straight from the Spirit came out.  There was symmetry and depth and beauty and nothing at all was missed by his words – by HIS words.

It was an awe-inspiring thing, experiencing God at work in the creation of our wedding vows.  His presence, His gladness, His blessing – I am not the only one who felt them bountifully in the sanctuary that day.

Makes me wonder where else I might see Him move in such power and beauty, if only I would lay down my striving and look to Him.



I Karen take you Gary to be my husband in the eyes of God and all people.

I pledge and promise to always love God first and most.  I pledge and promise that my first priority in our relationship is and will be honoring, supporting, and encouraging you as you love God first and most, whatever may come.  I pledge and promise that I will not try to take God’s place in your life, nor put you before God in mine.

Within that holy framework I give you all that I have and all that I am, holding nothing back, and I joyfully receive and embrace all that you have and all that you are, turning none of it away.  I mark this day in my life as a point of no return, joining myself to you in unbroken unity from now until forever.  Harmony with you in Jesus is my touchstone, from this day forward.

Today and forever we are connected in all ways, in all things, at all times, and I will honor that connection with my thoughts, words and deeds, placing you first in my life before all other people.

I promise to embrace both joy and pain with you and not to retreat or withdraw from you, whatever life may bring.  In triumph or defeat, in ease or in frustration, amidst great peace or great fear, in laughter, in tears, and even in anger, I am yours, beloved, and you are mine.

I promise that no matter the battle, I am and forevermore will be on your side – that I will hold your hand and trust in Jesus and let nothing divide us. 

I promise to pray with you daily and for you in all things, both great and small.

I promise to serve you and to let you serve me. From here forward I renounce my stubborn independence and I declare that I am neither alone nor in charge. Serve me, my love, and I will rejoice.

I promise you kisses and affection when all is well and when nothing is going right, when I’m crazy about you and when I want to wring your neck.

On this day i gratefully and completely place myself under your protection and leadership.  My gifts, talents, and resources are now not only mine but also yours to use as you will in obedient and joyous service to our Father.

Today I give myself to you, my husband. Today I acknowledge that I can do none of these things by my own might nor by my own understanding, but only by His Spirit. Today I surrender myself into this union, trusting in Jesus to keep every promise I make to you in this, our marriage covenant.

  1. I don’t know that I would describe you as being small enough to feel in control. I think best at a keyboard – it’s how God has wired me. No, I won’t always have a keyboard in front of me, but that is how God spoke through you- nothing wrong with that. I understand admiring the way Gary was able to do it – but wouldn’t say you are in any way smaller for the way God led you. We are all different, we don’t all think and process the same way. Your words are beautiful and I couldn’t hear all of Gary’s but could tell they were beautiful and heartfelt as well. Congrats again friend! I couldn’t be happier for you!

  2. karen says:

    Reblogged this on clumsy beautiful life and commented:

    Anniversary! Today is our first. In honor of that, today is a re-blog…and let me say…I STILL DO!

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