Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keep Us

If you’ve been a bride, a bridesmaid, known a bride, or simply don’t live under a rock you are aware that planning a wedding is difficult work.  There are details after details to be attended to, decisions to be made about food and flowers, and the ultimate task of choosing what to wear, among many other things.  Will we sip champagne, should we hire a band, will the reception be lively enough to keep the guests dancing all night long?  Decisions, choices, and demanding details all run their course as plans for the big day unravel.

When Nate and I began planning our wedding we knew we wanted to dance under the stars and for our closest friends and family to celebrate with us.  We looked forward to a reception filled with sweet laughter and soft candlelight.  But, our main concern was the words we spoke before the celebration.  For us, our ceremony was what was most important.  Of course we wanted a lively reception and a chance to share with our guests the moments of our day- but before the celebration we wanted our hearts to be heard in our ceremony.

The ceremony was our chance to come together, as a couple, and not only commit our lives and love to each other, but devote our relationship and marriage to God.  The vows we spoke softly to each other were also offered to Christ.  As important as it was for each of us to become husband and wife, we had a greater desire to come together, as two instead of one, and offer our marriage to the Lord, in hopes that the sum of our parts would be greater than what either of us would ever have to offer on our own. 

After exchanging rings and speaking words of promise to each other, we wanted our first few moments of married life to be spent in communion.  As we broke bread and drank wine, as symbols of Christ dying on the cross for our sins, we had our dear friend, Alex, sing a beautiful song. 

We chose a song with lyrics that are a prayer.  Nate and I saw this song as a prayer we so desperately wanted the Lord to hear, from our hearts.  The song is called, “Keep Us.”   It is a prayer asking God to keep us from the storm.  That when the rains set in, when the world turns upside down, when the ground shakes, and when we’ve had enough- keep us.  It speaks of two lovers, lying hand in hand, as the world outside rages and they ask that in the safety of their home, that they are kept.

To us, it wasn’t a prayer asking God to keep us from harm, but a prayer that pleaded that when the storms arise, as they certainly will, that in the midst of the struggle, that He would keep us.  Keep us together, hand in hand, and keep us safe, in His arms.

In the bible it says, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4

The Lord is a refuge and a shelter.  When we are poor, needy, broken down, and in severe need of shelter-He is there.  When we feel beaten down and scorched by the sun, He is our shade.  We can retreat to Him and He will “keep us” from being overtaken.

When Nate and I got engaged, after only 6 months of dating, many people questioned us if it was too soon.  But, the people who knew us and who had traveled our journey alongside of us, knew that we had already weathered all the seasons.  We had already encountered storm after storm and surely did not have our head in the clouds about a “happily ever after.”  We already knew of the wind and rain and had prematurely had the chance to stand together in the storms.

Our wedding was my most favorite day.  I found the perfect dress, decided on simple music, fresh flowers, and to sip on sweet champagne.  It was filled with love and hope.  We celebrated being man and wife with all the ones we love most and most importantly committed that our lifetime of marriage would be spent serving God.  On that day, during the most precious moments of our ceremony  and for every day after, it has been our prayer that the Lord would keep us.  No matter what waters rise and rivers overflow that He would hold us and keep us within His grip.  We know that there will be times of pain and times where our own legs shake beneath us, but God is our shelter and our refuge, and He will grasp onto us in His love and hold us steady.

My prayer for you is this:  Wherever you are; if you hear the thunders roll or if you’re looking dead on into the eye of the storm, remember that He has promised to be your refuge and ever-present shelter.  The world may turn wrong, but in the safety of your Home with Him, you will be kept.

These days, while Nate and I lay in bed, the rain seems to be relentless right outside our windows.  And often times we find ourselves thinking that perhaps we’ve had enough.  But, as the waters rise, we lie hand in hand, and whisper a song that He would keep us. 

To hear “Keep Us” click here.

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