Today marks mine and my husband’s 5 year wedding anniversary. Five years seems to have come and gone so quickly, and yet five years seems far too short of a time to have experienced all that we have experienced in our marriage. I have to wonder sometimes if we will live long enough to see all the pieces come together…probably not…but even so, one day it will all make perfect sense.
Each year, on our anniversary, I like to watch our wedding video…it’s a fun recount of that beautiful day. We get to see friends and family who have since passed on…we get to see friends and family who we may not get to see very often…everyone having a great time, celebrating. And we get to see us…pre-sickness, pre-infertility, pre-pregnancy losses, pre-foster care…young and in love with not a care in the world. Our dreams, our plans, our life out ahead of us…ready for the taking.
My youth pastor growing up, Pastor Scott, married us that day. During our ceremony, he shared about William Borden, a Christian Missionary in China. Pastor Scott’s message was centered around the phrase found in the back of William Borden’s Bible – “No reservations, No retreats, No regrets.” William Borden was making a commitment to God and to the people of China, and Pastor Scott challenged us to make that same commitment to each other.
No reservations. He said, “When you say ‘I take you Lisa to be my wife,’ and you say ‘I take you JJ to be my husband,’ you are saying ‘I take you without reservation.’ You are willingly entering into a marriage covenant where every area of your life will be joined together. Your lives legally, physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually will be joined together. The scriptures say that two shall become one. No holding back. No reservations.”
No retreats. “When you say in ‘plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health’ you are saying ‘No retreats.’ You are saying, ‘I choose to love this person regardless of what the future holds.'”
No regrets. “Do not look back. Don’t look over your shoulder and wonder what if? Only look ahead as you walk through life arm-in-arm together. Enjoy life together, every moment. Enjoy each other.”
He then shared the Message version of 1 Corinthians 13…
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
“This is unfailing love. It’s about contribution…it’s deciding together – no reservations, no retreats, no regrets.”
Each year, I hear his message clearer and clearer. Each year, the weight of his message hangs heavier on my heart. Each year brings another trial, another struggle…but I am reminded – no reservations, no retreats, no regrets. Scott told us on our wedding day that he prepared that message just for us…little did he know that God truly put that on his heart for us because it would greatly and deeply encourage us through our early marriage years.
Marriage is hard. Life is hard. But with Jesus at the center of it, an unfailing love like the love described above is possible! He shared, “You can have this kind of home if you continue to recognize God as the source of romance, love, and affection…for these are His gifts.”
My husband, my love, my supporter and encourager. God purposefully brought JJ and I together…He knew we would make a great team. He knew what was in store for us. He knew the loss we would experience, the trials that would come our way…and He knew that we would walk faithfully through it, hand-in-hand, our eyes set on Jesus, with no reservations, no retreats, and no regrets.
What a life we’ve lived together so far…what a path He chose…what a husband He brought me. I am filled with gratitude today.
His will, His way…