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As Tanner and I began to shop for our new home once we got engaged, we were suddenly blessed with an extraordinary amount of gifts – from kitchen items and furniture, to decorations and more. One particularly special gift was our kitchen table. Here is the story of its life, and how it fits into ours!
My mom is originally from Venezuela, so when she and her family moved to the United States when she was in her 20s, they bought new furniture for their house here. One of those items was a kitchen table. Several years later, after my parents got married, my grandparents gave the table to my parents since they were both in college and had a tight budget.
I grew up at that table. I have so many pictures from my childhood sitting at the table – eating in my high chair, learning to color, learning to read, celebrating every year of birthdays, and so much more. During my engagement, my parents decided it was time to for a new kitchen table, so I jumped on the opportunity to take this special piece of furniture.
Here is a picture of it in my parents’ apartment in the 1980s…
…and here it is in our apartment today.
It is a constant reminder of beautiful memories and the love of family.
P.S. It is a complete coincidence that our apartments have a similar layout and that my mom and I decorated the table in the exact same way (doily+vase combo)!
As Tanner and I planned our wedding , we both agreed that our vows were the most important part of the ceremony. For this reason, we decided to write our own (we read from the books pictured above for the ceremony).
First, we both researched wedding vows individually and collected our favorite lines and added some of our own. Then we shared with each other the words we had recorded. (This was probably the most interesting phase of the process, since Tanner’s closing line was “You are the droid I am looking for.”) Next, we decided on the major themes – yes, I am an English teacher – that we found in both of our vows. Because we still wanted to share the words through our own communication styles, we each worded our vows a little differently, while still expressing the same ideas.
Through his research Tanner had come across couples who intermingled their vows by each reading a phrase at a time, instead of the complete vows separately. We both loved the idea, so here are the final words we spoke to each other as the promise that marked the beginning of our life together:
I, Tanner, in the presence of God, our family, and our friends, take you, Meagan, to be my wife, my bride, and my best friend.
I, Meagan, in the presence of God, our family, and our friends, take you, Tanner, to be my husband, my partner, and my best friend.
You are a gift - a gift that I receive from God and your family. And I acknowledge all of your strengths and weaknesses, just as you acknowledge mine.
I am so excited to receive you as a gift from God, acknowledging your faults and your strengths, as you do mine.
I vow to give you the absolute best of myself in poverty and wealth and in sickness and in health. I will seek God humbly and be led by Him as I lead our family.
I commit myself to you from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, and I vow to seek God by your side in each of these circumstances.
I will lay down everything for you, to serve you.
I will try in every way to be worthy of your love and to serve you with grace and humility.
While today I dedicate myself to you formally, every day in the future I choose to dedicate myself to you in every act, every word, and every thought. I will fight for our marriage until the day we meet our Savior.
Today I dedicate myself to you formally. For every day of our future, I choose to dedicate myself to you in each act, each word, and each thought, and to fight for our marriage until the day we meet our Savior.
As I reread these words, I am reminded of what a challenge marriage is and will be, but also how beautiful a gift it is that God created and has given me to experience.
Today’s post is a throwback to something I wrote in June of 2010…
“All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return… the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 3:20, 12:7)
There is a phenomenal distinction here. “The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Dust and spirit…
Our bodies are dust…literally. When we die, dust is all that remains. But our bodies are not the culmination of our being. Upon our death, our spirit returns to God who gave it. In Genesis 2:7 we learn that “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” God formed Adam’s shape with dust. That dust became alive only after God breathed His spirit into him.
““There’s this paradox at the heart of what it means to be a human being. We’re fragile and vulnerable. We come from the dust…And yet, at the same time we’ve been breathed into by the Creator of the Universe.” (Rob Bell, “Breathe”)
Our physical bodies, merely dust, are consumed by the reality of this earth. However, God’s breath inside of us embodies the purpose of our existence. God tells us in Psalm 103:14 that He remembers that we are simply dust. He understands the limitations we face as a result of our transient composition. He understands because He intentionally formed us that way. However, He also remembers that His breath, His Spirit, resides inside us.
“As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” (1 Peter 1:15, The Message)
Just as God remembers, so should we. Remember that you are dust – temporary, fragile, mortal, dust.
But also remember that there is a powerful and raging Spirit within you, calling you to be holy.