Keeping Your Vows

This weekend, my wonderful husband and I celebrated our 5th-year anniversary, but it was a unique anniversary this year because my grandfather was dying.

On our wedding anniversary, my husband and I sat around Papa Jack's bed, holding his hand, touching his feet, and witnessing the grief of loved ones.  While there was evident grief and pain and suffering, there was also so much peace.  We felt God's presence.

I experienced a beautiful gift on our 5th wedding anniversary.  My grandmother held her husband's hand for days, confessing her love, telling him she had no regrets, thanking him for his faithfulness to her all these years.

She embraced her dying husband, weeping over him, and said "we kept all our promises."  They had kept their vows for 52 years, until his very last breath.  And I had the privilege of witnessing those vows fulfilled.

On our 5th anniversary, I experienced a fresh reminder to treasure my husband.  I received a legacy of kept promises and vows unbroken.  I want to have the same testimony.  I'm thankful for our 5 years together - they've been beautiful and full of adventure - and I want to press forward, by God's grace, toward many more decades of faithful and purposeful marriage, keeping our vows until the very last breath.

After spending a couple of days with our family, we decided to go ahead with our plans to visit the place where we were married 5 years ago - Mt. Magazine State Park Lodge.  We stayed two nights and spent a day hiking and taking in the scenery with our sweet toddler and baby on the way.  It was a special time of remembrance and looking forward to things to come.  And thanks to Papa Jack and Grammy, it was a special time to treasure life and each other.

Tuesday night we got the call that Papa Jack's suffering had finally ended.  We have faith that he is with the Lord of all Creation.  I'm so thankful for all the memories I have of my sweet PJ and for his legacy in my life.

Here is an excerpt about Papa Jack from a blog post I wrote a couple years ago...
He grew up in the country in Arkansas and tells about his first beehive he caught in a brown paper bag when he was just a kid.  I remember the time he snuck up on an armadillo and grabbed it by its hind legs, leaving my brother & me with our mouths wide-open in awe.  

He's an encyclopedia when it comes to nature.  He's the consummate gardener, raises bees in his back yard, and had a farm for years as I was growing up, so my new boots make me think about his muddy black boots sitting by the back door at my grandparents' house.  Then that makes me think of cow patties, and summer nights, picnics, and porch swings by my grandparents' pond.  Then I think of the smell of my Papa Jack's minty chewing tobacco, his big bear hugs, and the sound of his voice when he leads the prayer at family get-togethers...

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