Just tuning in? Please start at the Original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises.
Written October 2011
Our counselors told us months ago, in a word from the Lord, that when it was time for a renewal of our vows, and trading old rings for new, I would be hungry for it. At the time I sorta scoffed at it like, “Hungry for it? Whatever, it’ll be all I can do to SURVIVE this!”
Well, the Lord is taking me to that place this week: I crave the renewal of our vows, the new covenant with Christ, like a starving person. I know God is preparing us for this, and unless He says differently, we’d like to do this the weekend of our 10th anniversary, which is May 24th. He also has spoken to us that the time to share this story is coming……sooner than we thought, as I had a mom call me this week with stories of 2 more marriages torn apart in my circle of friends through infidelity. That hit really close to home for me, and I know for such a time as this.
I am so nervous about putting it out there, yet have peace that I can trust it will all be used for HIS glory.
The Lord spoke to my fearful heart this weekend, as I tearfully sent Dale to the very Men’s Encounter that shattered my world. He showed me, that the last encounter was to get the ugly out, to empty the broken vessel. This one? To fill the restored vessel up again! PTL!
Dale called me from Men’s Encounter weeping, saying that I mean the world to him, and that God was making him the man who I’ve deserved from the start. That he can’t wait to come home and share with me what the Lord was doing in his heart, as he found his TRUE worth in Christ Jesus. I am so thankful for the continued changes I see in Dale, as the Lord molds and shapes him into the man He has wanted him to be all along.
Written January 2012
We are starting to work more fervently on the Vow Renewal Ceremony, how exciting! I found “The Dress”……
(the pockets were my favorite part!)
My little stud muffins will be wearing these from The Baxter Boy, for both Easter and the renewal.
The girls will wear their Christmas dresses from a few years ago. Thank the Lord they still fit, because they go perfectly!
I bawled the day I heard this song by Francesca Battistelli. I knew, I KNEW, it was “THE ONE”. This is the song I will walk down the aisle to, this is the song that speaks the truth of what we have been through….”Love’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”
Dale and I have been working on our vows to each other, our hopes and desires for our special day. It’s all so bitter-sweet.
I had a well-meaning friend say, “Wow, it must be nice to get to plan a wedding all over again.” I swallowed my tears, along with the lump in my throat, and reminded her that this opportunity for a second ceremony came at a VERY high price. That, I would trade it all in a heartbeat for my husbands faithfulness many years ago, but I cannot live in The Land of If Only’s or I will drive myself mad. Instead, I chose to live in the here and now, moving forward as best I know how, to rebuild my marriage with the man my soul loves.
I LONG to hear him speak those vows to me, I LONG for a standing Covenant before Christ, a new ring of faithfully forever promises on my left hand, a circle unbroken. I have missed my wedding band on my finger all these months, and I am ready to say “I Do”, again, this time to a barn full of witnesses.
Yes, I said barn.
We are renewing our vows in a GORGEOUS horse barn, with wide open-beam rafters and 3 large sets barn doors to throw open and let the natural light shine in.
I’d love to have my wedding dress on display, as well as our wedding photo.
I am thinking Ball jars with strips of lace around the rim, old barn gates with painted signs to lead people to the location of our renewal, a big glass pitcher of fresh farm milk to go with cookies and sweets.
Thankfully, I have everything I want to decorate with in my home already! And the wonderful people that are allowing us to use their barn, are providing the seating as well. This has to be affordable and still accomplish what we have set out to achieve that day:
Celebrating God’s faithfulness in making Beauty from Ashes!
My friend Whitney, of Whitney Hamilton Photography, will be our photographer. She is the one that took the photo for our Invitations, which we emailed out.
I have a feeling this ceremony will be a really big turning point in our path to healing!!!!! Praise God!
Written Monday, January 23, 2012
Today I completed a chapter, closed a book and put it away for good, then I wept bitter, bitter tears at what had been lost.
Today, 1/23/12, Dale and I went to the ring store, and turned in our two wedding bands in exchange for Dale’s new band. For nearly 10 years those bands have resided on our fingers, but for the past 6 months, those same bands have caused me nothing but sadness. Sadness for what was lost that day of betrayal, anger that Dale’s ring stopped nothing it should have stopped from occurring.
I haven’t worn my band since July, so I didn’t think I’d be sad to see it go today, but as I tried it one last time, remembering how happy I was the day Dale slid it on my finger and promised me his faithfully forever promises, tears began to well up in my eyes, blurring the ring from my sight. Dale could hardly hold the tears in, as he too, experienced the stabbing pain of what had been lost. He told me later, with tears running down his face, that it took everything he had not to have to excuse himself from that ring store to pull it together.
We drove home in silence, tightly holding hands, weeping bitter tears, as we both quietly processed what had just occurred. Both of us shocked that the rings were gone I think, as it happened all in a few moments time, just as we prepared to leave the ring shop.
The owner said:
“Here take the new ring in exchange for the old, you have paid for it with your trade.”
We wanted to wait for Dale to wear his ring in May at the Renewal ceremony, but also knew him not wearing a ring for the next few months was not an option either. So this evening, as we put it on his finger, we prayed over it, asking God’s blessing on the new vows and covenant to come. We cried again, over the rings we left behind today and the lost dreams of 2 young kids in love.
Fresh, with no scratches or blemishes.
This one stays shiny all its days, this one has will never tarnish or get nicks….
New ring, new promise, new start.
Dale is a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away…..he is like this ring, unblemished in the eyes of Christ forever more.
But we also have peace, the kind that comes from taking another step in the right direction on the road to healing, one weary step at a time.
Next Weekend, along with our 10th Anniversary, we will celebrate a new covenant with Christ. We will re-commit our lives to each other and exchange new bands and new promises of faithfully forever. We will re-sign our Marriage Covenant, and it will once again hang proudly in our home.
(This is a page from our wedding book, but it shows a photo of the signed covenant, as well as gives explanation for the meaning of it all.)It hurt me to take that Covenant down last summer, but I could no longer stand to look at it and see such a bold reminder of all that was lost. Someday soon, I plan on hanging the Covenant and our original wedding photo back up, as well as a picture of us from the ceremony this weekend.
And I can’t forget these:
A reminder of the Cross I nailed my un-forgiveness to at Women’s Encounter this past fall, but most importantly, a reminder of the ultimate Healer, the Ultimate Giver of Forgiveness…Jesus Christ our Lord, who died on the cross for all sins. ALL of them.
To Him be ALL the glory, for it is HE alone who can make Beauty from a pile of ugly Ashes…….