The Beauty of a Stranger

I feel like I’m hogging the blog this week, but I got home first last night, so I got to write the post and Kyle can wait his turn. Clearly I’m becoming more unselfish in marriage by the day. Ahem.

So last night we got invited to two separate events. I have a feeling that it’s all because of this post, but at this point, we’ll take whatever we can get. Kyle played kickball, I went to a girls night. Now, if you’ve ever walked into a room full of people you barely know, you understand that it can be a little intimidating. These weren’t my friends, they don’t know my struggles, we went to different schools, grew up in different states, it’s just… different. And yet as I was sitting at the table with five almost strangers, the world became a little bit smaller.

I was sitting at a table surrounded by empty plates, glasses of wine, and host of young women I know little about. But as I watched them laugh and interact, they didn’t seem like such strangers after all. They all love Christ, and despite our different careers (or lack thereof) and our different passions, our struggles are all the same.

There’s something beautiful about walking through life in Christian fellowship. Having friends who can call you out on things, who have the same heart, who challenge you in conversation and in life. But there’s almost something more beautiful in knowing that God is so much bigger than my group of friends. He encompasses so much more than we think about on a daily basis. And no matter where we find ourselves, we must remember that it is He who led us here, and He will remain faithful. And we will all glorify Him together.

Today, I am reminded that the body of Christ is much larger than I’ll ever truly know.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Photo Attribution

Till Death (or OSU) Do Us Part…

In lieu of our semi-redneck, somewhat windy, extremely sweltering wedding ceremony we thought a few of you might not have been able to hear (or pay attention to) our vows to each other. Or maybe some of you weren’t there and would just like to read them…

We decided some time ago to write our own vows. The rest of the wedding was homemade, why not the ceremony? Another moment of full disclosure (MOD, if you will) – I wasn’t aware that when you write your own vows you have to read them to each other, I thought you repeated what the pastor said until my brother and sister pointed out how awkward it would be for the pastor to say “Jennifer, I love you.” Thanks guys.

Anyway, we tried our best to write to each other, from deep within where only our love for the Lord resides. Here’s what resulted:

“In centuries gone by men have fought wars over love.
Men have sailed the raging seas over love.
And men have gone to the grave, over love.

So I stand before you today
With a seemingly easy task
To simply profess my love and commit my life to you.
And yet, it is so much more complex.

For in the days and years to come
That profession will become a realization
That through each other
Sanctification in Christ will come to fruition.

Because of this it is my honor to protect and provide
My passion to lead with integrity
My desire to plan and to pray
My duty to pass on wisdom to our kids
And my honor to humbly love.

I know there will be fights
I know there will be struggles
I know what lies ahead.

But I choose you
And I want you to know
Even though I don’t understand how marriage works (what guy does?)
I DO understand the magnitude of it all.
I understand that Christ is enough, for both of us.

So I promise to choose you over OSU games
Promise to love or sons even if they hate sports
Promise to revel in arts and crafts with our daughters
Promise to let you be free and to guide us with wisdom
Promise to always write to you and date you and cherish you.
I promise to always climb through your bedroom widow to kiss you, tell you stories and make you laugh.

I commit myself to you
Mind, body, spirit, and soul
You have all my love, for the rest of time.”

“You make me more of who I already am. By your side, I am more confident, more creative, and more secure in Christ. I know I can fight any battle, but trust you to lead me through them.

Your discipline is something I have never known. It makes me more confident in you than you will ever know, and I will trust you with everything in me until the Lord is finished with me on this earth.

I will strive all my days to make you proud of me, to raise your children as ambassadors for Christ, and to honor you with my words in all situations. While my identity does not hinge on the words you say, you are continually shaping how I perceive this world and where I put my focus. So go forth this day, knowing that my confidence is in Christ, but that every word you say is truth to me.”

For those of you wondering, “when will this ever end?!?” you’re in luck. This is the last wedding post you’ll have to endure. Tomorrow, it’s all about you guys, the readers. We’re having our first giveaway. See you then…

Kickin' Back
Kickin' It
Ignoring usual
(Some of) The Boys
(A lot of) The Girls

As always, pictures taken by Shari Hatfield…we can’t recommend her blog highly enough.