Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Keeping His Vows

Friday at the doctor, when the appointment was all over but the bloodletting, I stood at the nurse's counter waiting for my prescriptions. I cracked a joke, and she laughed and said it was good to see me smiling. It's comforting to see the same nurse and receptionist at every appointment for nearly a decade. Safe. Known.

"Things are better than they were," I said. "Still not pain-free, but better. We're trying one more medication change. It would be really nice if that took me the rest of the way, but..." I shrugged. "Rest is good, too."

"Plus, God has blessed me with a husband who is committed to taking care of me, even when that means doing the things I can't."

She noticed the smile wobbling, looked into my eyes, and quietly said, "He's keeping his vows, Christina. That's what he's doing; he's keeping his vows."

Yes. Yes, he is. That's the kind of man he is, the kind of family which raised him.

It is humbling to receive such faithful love. I neither take it for granted nor deserve it. That's how grace is.

My closest friend from high school has a different chronic illness from mine. Years before I had even met Allen, I stood beside her at her wedding. The vows I witnessed, the "in sickness and in health," grew burdensome on her husband's shoulders. Now she carries the burden of earning a living in addition to that of her health problems. It is humbling to remember that Allen's faithfulness is a choice, a daily decision, and not always the easy one.

There is humility in the keeping of the vows, as well, in the placing of God's will before self, in the living sacrifice of "as You wish"--as the Lord wishes, first; as the beloved wishes, second. I recognize humility in the way Allen helps with the laundry, the errands, the dishes; the accepting extra weekend duties without complaint; the submission of his vocational dreams to my need for stability and health insurance; the relinquishing of vacations and peregrinations until I can go, too. He hasn't yet been required literally to wash my feet, yet he does so every day through his service to me.

He will shrug off these words, echo the nurse, "Just keeping my vows," but that "just" reminds me of Jesus.

Considering the practice of humility today with the community at Ann's...
P.S. You might like this post on the place of love in living your best life.

...and redemption with the community at Emily's...


  1. yes, i'm sure the many and varied things Allen does in faithfulness to you are a genuine burden for him. i'm also sure they are a deep comfort to him. the most difficut thing for Allen is seeing his beloved have to endure the sufferings and hardships that come with chronic illness, and he counts it a great blessing to be able to do something to make things less hard for you.

    i'm thankful, not just for Allen's humble faithfulness, but also for your humble gratitude.
    when someone makes a sacrifice for me, i have a baleful tendency to move from 'what a difficult and wonderful thing s/he did for me' to 'i wish s/he hadn't had to do such a difficult and wonderful thing to me'--moving out of (humble and other-focused) gratitude, into (self-focused and futile) wishing away of the occasion of gratitude. your remaining in gratitude, rather than becoming distracted by regret, is a real gift to Allen, that makes the burden he willingly carries more joyful.

    blessings on you both!

  2. @chris Thank you for this perspective. I had not thought of his service as a comfort or my gratitude as a gift to him.

    Lest you think too highly of me, I do have my share of "distracted by regret," too. If it were otherwise, I wouldn't be as motivated to cultivate gratitude, I suppose.

    All's grace, as Ann V. says.

    Blessings back to you and yours!

  3. This makes me pause. Thinking of all the ways my husband keeps his vows to me too because of my weak spots—physically, emotionally, spiritually… It goes on and on how we receive. And are humbled. Yes, all’s grace.

  4. @Lisa notes... And you to him as well, no doubt. Thanks for coming by, friend. See you tomorrow on Challies for the Machen discussion.

  5. I'm thankful we don't know the weight of those vows when we make them... A beautiful tribute to the one who promised himself to you.

  6. Yes, it is good to have a husband who cares for you and keeps his vows in the midst of chronic illness. Tell him we all said "Thanks" for the example.

  7. Husband love your wives as Christ loves the church. You've found yourself one of those! I'm sure you are grateful.

  8. Lovely story. And what an amazing gift to have a husband who reminds you of Jesus!

  9. Stacie~
    We wouldn't be as likely to make those vows if we knew, would we? At least, I wouldn't.

    Susan and journeytoepiphany~
    I am grateful. It is good to have a husband like this. I'll pass on your kind words to A.

    Glad you liked it. Yes, such a husband is an amazing gift.

    The Lord bless and keep you today. Thank you for spending time with me here.

  10. big smiles. sounds like you have a great man there doing what he should but also what he wants....

  11. @Brian Miller Yes, he is great. I hope so (doing what he should but also what he wants). Thank you.

  12. Thank you for reminding me what I have.

  13. Oh, I feel your concern in being a burden, but think of how you would love, too, in return for him. Thankful you were blessed with a man who knows what love truly is. Rest in his love which is a gift from the other One that loves you, too. Peace to you, friend :)

  14. Mama Zen~
    I thank God with you for His gifts.

    Commenter chris above said much the same. "Rest in his love" - your words remind me of Zephaniah 3:17. Thanks for that. The peace of Christ to you, too.

  15. Loved how simply "just keeping vows" speaks to the incredible complexities of marriage...

    Thanks for sharing this so poetically!

  16. @Cindy You're welcome, friend. I'm glad you liked it.

  17. there is Jesus in the just... oh friend. you are so beautiful.

  18. I'm in EXACTLY the kind of mood to say I really just want your complete healing.

  19. @emily wierenga that turn of phrase is better! might have to go back and tweak. :) thank you, friend. happy Canada day!

  20. @Brandee Shafer There's my favorite stalker! Thank you, friend. I am truly grateful for you and your prayers on my behalf. May you and yours have a wonderful, safe holiday weekend.

  21. I praise God that he gave you a man so commited to keeping his vows. I'm sorry you have been going through such an illness for so long. This is your first post I've read so am heading down to read more.

  22. @Shanda Amen to your praise! Thank you for the kind words. I'm thankful you stopped by and pray you find something here you needed to read. God bless you!

  23. My email is
    Did your husband go to RVA? All my friends did but my parents kept us home. I envied them but now am greatful as they are dealing with so many issues from that time. My best friend married a guy with SBIMB and I was just with her in Texas last week. Would love to hear more of your husband and your life in Bankoc should you feel like emailing.
    Blessings, Shanda

  24. @Shanda His siblings did, but the family moved back to the US about a year before he would have. Thanks for your e-mail address; I might take you up on your offer. God bless you.

  25. In the keeping of those vows is love. Yes, there's commitment but there's also love. And grace from the Lord to hold it all together. And it will last throughout your lifetime.
    While we were dating, my husband told me that he would never divorce his wife because of what he went through as a child in his own family. He has kept that promise with love and kindness in the joys and the trials. He has put up with me for 35 years. Christ is the center that keeps us together.
    God bless you and your husband,

  26. Beautiful, friend, rejoicing with you in His gifts of "just". So much in that "just".

  27. Janis and Anna, thank you for your kind words. Janis, thank you for your encouraging marriage testimony. Yes, "Christ is the center that keeps us together."

    May God bless y'all and yours also!


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.