This day is forever etched in my mind……
Second chances at a beautiful love story.
A pivotal moment on the road to healing.
Beauty from the devastating Ashes.
And so begins, our I Do: Part 2.
*A BIG thank you to my blog friend, Mary for making the AWESOME vintage banners that you see on the barn doors!
When people first came up to the barn, we had a Blessing Table in lieu of a guest book.
We had so much fun reading through them later!
My best friend, Kasey opened the ceremony with these beautiful words.
Good Evening and Welcome! There is no greater way to start this evening than with prayer! Please bow with me as we invite the Holy Spirit in this place tonight.
She asked our Heavenly Father to have His way and be present in the hearts and minds of our guests, as they surround us while we commit our love and lives in this evening of “I Do …Part 2”. Then went on to say…….
As a married women I have gained a greater understanding what it means to be here today. On this day, you are here to gather around Dale and Tonya, to stand witness to the vows and recommitments that will be spoken, so that when satan attacks and the load looks too heavy to carry….you will walk along side them and remind them of their covenant.
I Cor. 13 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…………Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Dale and Tonya choose love and forgiveness. Today is a pivotal point in their journey to total healing. What a blessing for Tonya to stay with Dale for all the wonderful things he has done right, instead of leaving him for the thing he did wrong. I hope you too, can chose that path, because as it says in John 8:36 “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Praise His name!
Shelby sang me down the aisle to this song by Francesca Battistelli:
I originally got this CD because I LOVED her song “This Is The Stuff”. I had been praying for the Lord to show me what song I should walk down the aisle to, and as soon as this one came on, I froze at the kitchen sink, mid-dish and began to cry. I KNEW this was “The One”.
“Love’s not easy, but its worth it. Whatcha gonna do when the bottom falls out and your left with nothing but your fear and your doubt to hold you? Who will hold you?
……..Love can heal you, if you let it inside. Oh remember now, love’s not easy, but its worth it.”
Then Dale’s long time friend, Tim spoke:
“Dale and Tonya had a fairy tale courtship and wedding. They asked the Author of Love Himself to script them a beautiful love story, and He did. Even in the recent tragedy, the pen never left His mighty hand, and He is still writing that story.
Dale and Tonya went through a violation of a sacred boundary in their marriage. But Hope is not lost—they experienced God’s wonderful gift of restoration, allowing Him to take them through a rebuilding season. They are still growing, learning, and rebuilding. They are letting Him refocus and re-establish the foundation of success at the core of their romantic relationship. Jesus washed them clean and gave them a fresh start. God is in the business of offering beautiful new beginnings, which you are witnessing here today.
Dale, jealously protect every expression of physical intimacy as a sacred treasure for your lifetime love, Tonya. Guard your heart and mind from the devil’s sneaky attacks. Sharpen your sword daily by digging into God’s word. Cloak yourself in the full armor of God, in essence, JESUS, so that everything coming and going from you must first filter through HIM. Today, commit to give her the gift of faithfulness by guarding your heart, eyes, and mind from the temptations of this world.
Tonya, lavishly love Dale with all you have. God wants to build lovers who love as He does—with abandon. They give everything, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They sacrifice and face the most challenging difficulties for the “joy set before them” (Hebrews 12:2). Remember forgiveness is a choice and choose it daily. Trust is hard to build and easy to break, but rely on Jesus to strengthen you and give you peace as you and Dale rebuild your house of trust together each and every day for the rest of your lives.
A poetic love is rare these days, but it is not out of reach. It will cost you everything, but what you receive in return is worth more than everything you possess now and everything you could possess for a thousand lifetimes.
Remember, God doesn’t need to imitate our culture’s style of love and romance. God has His own version of love—a poetic love that far surpasses anything Hollywood could ever create.
A day like today, marked by poetic love, is a day that shows the nature of God Himself—the original Author of true and lasting love.”
Next, our Counselor, Dan spoke, then did the Vow and ring ceremony with us:
“I have had a God-ordained privilege of coming to know and grow with Dale and Tonya Ferguson these past few months. I met two broken hearts many months ago and have watched God continue to hold true to His word. They came with a sincere desire to repair a shattered dream. They have both walked through much pain and joy in the process, and I can say with all my heart, that any couple that puts their trust in God as these have, and continue to, they WILL taste success. I have been encouraged by their commitment to God’s word and His restoration to their lives and marriage.”
Here are the vows we wrote to each other. We neither one knew what the other had planned to say:
Dale went first.
C.S. Lewis once said “A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you forget the words.”
Tonya, I forgot the words to our song, I lost my way. I made terrible mistakes and broke your trust and your heart. But when I turned around, there you where singing my song, standing faithfully by my side just like you promised.
There is a verse that says, he who is forgiven much, loves much. Tonya, I have never loved you more than I do now. Thank you for singing my song when I forgot the words, thank you for loving me at my best and my worst. I will be the man you have always wanted me to be, and I Promise to be faithfully yours, to never let satan sneak up on me again. It is my greatest desire to be faithful to you and to love you. Always seeking to meet your needs, desiring to help you in every way as you heal, listening to you when you want to talk, holding you when you want to cry, wiping away all your tears, encouraging you in your walk with Christ, and standing faithfully by your side from this day forward.
I give you all of me today; a new man, forgiven by grace and made new by the blood of Jesus. You are my best friend, my first love, my soul mate, and you make my world complete. If you let me, I’d like to earn your trust again. Tonya, never stop singing our song.
Today I give you my love without any limits. I promise to accept the things you believe in, and always try to understand you, to be near you whenever you need my presence, to trust in your love for me and pray it grows stronger every day. I promise to keep no record of wrong, and to remember that our love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures ALL things.
I promise to stand faithfully by your side in this journey called life, to fill your days with sunshine, to comfort you and encourage you, to make you Custard Pie :), to be your best friend and to love you all my life with all my heart, not holding back anything in fear, but moving forward with total abandon, leaping again into the arms of love even though I’m scared at times.
Through this tragedy my love for you has only grown stronger. The Lord has given us a second chance at our beautiful love story, so I come today to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I promise to never forgot how Jesus gave us Beauty from the Ashes of our lives.
Dale, today I choose forgiveness. I choose you. I choose us. I don’t know how to be ME without YOU by my side. What God has joined together, satan will never separate, because a true love story has no ending, and I’d choose real with you, over a “happily ever after” fairytale…every single time, because I love you! ……I’m crazy about you.
There were many tears shed during our vows to each other. In the car, several days later, Avery pipes up: “I cwied during your wedding, Momma.” Why, honey? “I don’t know, but they were happy tears.”
A few days later I got an email from a friend that said, “I don’t know if you were aware of this, but Destiny cried and cried during the ceremony. Swiping at tears that never stopped flowing. She finally used the bottom of her dress to wipe her eyes.”
I, of course, immediately went to her to make sure she was ok. She said, “Yeah, mom, I am fine. I was just so happy that you guys weren’t getting a divorce and that God was healing your marriage.”
And now for the ring ceremony:
Dale and Tonya’s future is a circle unbroken, much like these rings, with which they renew their pledge to one another in an act of never-ending love, faithfulness and devotion to each other.
Do you, Dale, continue to take Tonya, as your loving wife? Will you continue to love her, honor her, comfort and treasure her, be faithful to her and honest with her, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?
Then repeat after me:
Tonya, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and re-commitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ, and my pledge of faithfulness before God and these witnesses.
Then repeat after me:
Dale, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and recommitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ and to remember Beauty from Ashes.
Our lifetime friends, Lynn and Ann, whom I used to nanny for, came from Oklahoma to sing the duet that they sang at our wedding, “Pour My Love On You” by Phillips, Craig and Dean.
During this time, we re-signed our Marriage Covenant, lit our special shattered candle from Joy of Simply Bloom and had a foot washing ceremony.
I was so sad to have to take this down last summer, I am so blessed to have it once again grace the walls of our home.
I was wondering what we were going to do in place of a unity candle, since we were already one. It was such a cool God-thing, that Joy sent us this just in time for the ceremony!
And then, the foot washing.
Jesus washed the disciples feet in an act of service to them, showing his servants heart despite their later betrayal of him. While we washed each others feet, love letters played across the screen:
Here is Dales letter to me:
Today, I wash your feet as a symbol of my desire to honor you, care for you and be true to you. This is a symbol of my commitment to die to self as I seek to love you as Christ loved the church. Today, as you trust your heart to me yet again, I wash your feet as a sign of my desire to serve you, cherish you and remain faithfully yours all the days of our lives.
My dearest Dale,
I am washing your feet because true love forgives. When Jesus forgave those closest to him, he served them. He washed their feet. This act illustrates to you how deeply I forgive you and how much I love you.
This act of servanthood is a token of my undying love for you and my desire to honor you as the head of our home.
I love you more than I thought possible….
After closing in prayer, Dan says:
Dale, you may kiss your bride……………
Dale got on the mike to thank everyone for coming, and for showing their loving support of us this past year. Then the kids got to talk too. :)
Jamie Grace’s “I Love the Way You Hold Me” cued and down the aisle we went, arm in arm…with the kids walking ahead of us.
We were a family again, a whole unit before Christ, and all was as it should be.
God is so good.
The rest of evening was spent eating, laughing, hugging and talking to the amazing friends that came to show their support.
I posted those in the next post, because this one is already LOOOONG! :)
More to come….