When You're a Runaway Bride
"I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." Psalm 116:14 (NIV)
As soon as the opening prayer ended, I knew I had to leave my wedding. Whispering a quick apology, I turned and ran.
My patent leather shoes burned rubber, leaving my soon-to-be groom in a cloud of confusion at the altar. Fast down the aisle where my father and I had just walked. Past the curious wedding guests. Straight to the powder room where my purse and coat were waiting.
I breathed a sigh of relief. There they were, my written vows, forgotten in the excitement of preparations.
I hurried back to Joshua waiting patiently for me at the altar. Facing the man I loved, we exchanged our vows.
It's not every day that a girl makes a lifelong commitment like that. But it is every day I get to carry one out. Not just to my husband, but to my God.
Sadly, although I made a vow to follow God years ago, there've been times when I've left my vows behind. I've been a run-away bride, leaving Jesus and my commitment to Him in the dust as I took off for what I thought were greener pastures.
The whole time, He waited patiently. Waited for me to return and say, "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people" (Psalm 116:14).
We can run all our lives, but we're never truly settled until we make and keep a lifelong pledge to the One to whom our heart truly belongs. In Him, we have all good things, including the gift of love—God's love.
As I read my marriage vows out loud at my wedding, I realized they were vows my heart needed to make to Christ as well. So I took the promises I made to my earthly husband, and re-addressed them to Jesus, as a covenant with my Savior, to record my heart's vows to Him:
There really is no place like home. I've come to know this with great certainty as my love for You, Jesus, has grown. You're my favorite place to be. That's because You are where I am most at home ... You are where my heart is settled, comforted and loved.
I vow to always keep You as my home base. To never stray emotionally, physically, or in my thoughts.
I vow to keep You as the center of my home. To seek You every day with all my heart, mind and soul, and to serve You with all that's within me.
I vow to keep my home clean from doubt, strife and unnecessary cares, and will fill it with believing the best about You, humility, and prayerfulness.
I vow to willingly submit to You as head of my life, to lean on You, and not be stubborn. And to allow You to serve me.
I vow to stay healthy and keep active, inviting You into my everyday activities.
I vow to dream and plan and pray for my future with You.
I vow to love mercy, act justly, and to walk humbly with You.
I vow to let You know every day just how very much I love and honor You. And to thank You for all the wonderful things about You that make You ... YOU!
If home is where the heart is, then my heart will always be with You.
I don't know where you stand with God right now ... how near or far you are. But I know from experience, the further away you are, the more lost you will feel. Today, let's run to Christ—and make or renew our vows to Him.
Lord, You alone are worthy of all my heart, soul, mind. Please help me keep my vows to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Consider your relationship with God. Do you take it as seriously as a marriage covenant? Write your vows to Him today.
Joel 2:12-13, "'Yet even now,' declares the LORD, 'Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.' Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil." (NAS)
Ephesian 5:25-27, "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (ESV)