To Have and To Hold

        "I, Terrie, take you, David, for my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, from this day forward until death do us part. I hereby promise to love, honor, and obey you all the days of my life.

With this ring I thee wed, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow. In sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, till death do us part."

On the eve of my 21st birthday I quoted those very words before God, our family, and friends to you.  On that day, the ceremony was a means to an end…I got to be your wife.  I was very serious about being a good wife to you and loving you with all that was in me – but I can’t say that I was exactly “serious” as I said them.

Now that we’ve been married just about 36 years – I understand these vows from the experiences we’ve lived.  If we were to “renew” our vows – this is how I would say them today.

I, Terrie, have had the privilege of being your wife for these past 36 years.  I am thankful for every moment we’ve had each other to hold  - during our times of riches and being poor -our riches, not necessarily financial – but a far greater richness as we’ve shared in God’s blessings;  and in our poor times when having and holding each other was all that we had. 
Having you to hold made the worse times better, and the better times the best times. 
I am thankful that we’ve had each other to hold on to as we enjoyed great health, and when we were faced with sickness; I’m thankful that I’ve had you to hold me during these past couple years of sick times. 
I promised to love you till death do us part when I already loved you as much as I thought possible at the time – but now I realize that the love I felt then could not touch the depths of the love that we share today. 
I promise to continue loving you, honoring you, and yes, even obeying you all the days I have left on this earth – for I know that each day that I live my love for you will only grow stronger.
During the month of October our pastor (my husband) has been preaching on the subject of "Being Faithful in Marriage."  The theme for the year has been " thou faithful unto death."  Revelation 2:10.  The verse for the month of October has been, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."  Ephesians 5:32
I gave the "vows" posted above to my husband on Saturday, October 11 for our 36th anniversary which is today, October 14, 2014.  The Lord had burned in my heart the meaning of the words "to have and to hold" that we said in our wedding vows.  On Sunday, October 12, we were having "Marriage Day" at church and I wanted my husband to know what was on my heart.  After my husband received my vows the Lord impressed on his heart that we could share our vow renewal before our church as he taught on the subject of marriage and its meaning.  As we renewed our vows before our church family -  I read the vows that are posted here today.  It was a very tender moment in our service as my husband then in turn also renewed his vows to me.
Marriage is a picture of our relationship with Christ after salvation.  Ephesians 5:21-28 teaches, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself."
With that in mind, the Lord brought to my attention that the very idea of "to have and to hold" is exactly what He does for us. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one."  John 10:28-30
Do you see the connection?  When we get saved, we are in the Lord's hand and no one can undo that!  When we get married, we have each other to hold on to during every facet of our lives, and with God's love in the center it will not be undone.  Marriage, as God designed it, is a beautiful picture of two being one - because on our own we are not complete.
Perhaps you are not married and may feel that this has no application to your life today - but you can be the bride of Christ, and have the beauty of a full and loving relationship with Christ - the relationship with Christ is what carries through every step of our life.  This is what the Lord desires for you - He wants you to be His bride; He gave Himself so that you could have eternal life with Him.
Won't you receive His gift of salvation today? 
 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."  Revelation 22:17
Have a wonderful day!


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