Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Anniversary

May 28th is the anniversary of our wedding. It was twenty-seven years ago this week that Tammy and I entered into the covenant of marriage. Even when the now fading pictures were bright with color and newness, they could tell only a small part of the story. Young faces, luminous in their garments of hope, laced with fear of the unknown.

I was an idealist and she was the pragmatist. We began with little but the best of intentions. I believe we meant it when we said the words, "Till death do us part," yet in my heart my fingers where crossed as I refused to grasp the weight of those words. I know there was no way to fully embrace the reality of those words on that warm evening in May of 1982.

Now I often stand at the altar with young couples, many of them as idealistic as I was the night of my own wedding. I lead them to repeat the same vows, and I know they have no more clue of their reality than Tammy or I did years ago; nonetheless, vows matter. We make vows not just for those warm, clear nights when stars twinkle with hope. We make vows that are weighted with truth and value for a thousand dark storms that threaten to blot out those stars. We make vows to love, honor, and cherish. We make vows to endure because enduring is essential in this, the one human relationship that challenges our self-centeredness to its core. We make vows that sustain commitment through sickness, poverty, and worse.

Everyone needs ideals that guide them through reality. We all need to take them seriously and think of them more often than we do. We ought never to forget what we pledge on that day. I’m blessed to officiate for many couples who make such vows, and thus I’m reminded more often than most. As they repeat these solemn words I wonder how little they truly understand what they are pledging themselves to. Yet I’m happy to repeat them over and again. These vows remind me that God adores the serious commitment as much as the celebration of that commitment. He officiates our wedding days, knowing full well the storms that await us. He smiles, knowing that those who take him seriously he greatly helps. He is my help, and today I remember and celebrate that it was with Him that Tammy and I entered into this covenant. He knew the very moment that covenant would be completed and yet remained utterly silent about it so as not to remove the mystery of his ways or to place an impediment to our growing faith. He kept his end of the bargain with great faithfulness. We kept ours by his grace and good favor.

Now I stand on the threshold of making those same vows again. This time the repetition of these words will be tempered by a better sense of how they’re often lived out. Sorrow and pain have informed my intellect but have not stolen my passion, for by his grace I stand on the other side of that covenant with the ideal intact and passion undiminished. That is a miracle.

Happy Anniversary!
Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed! First of all, thank you so much for your transparency through your dark times as well as the new life you are about to embark upon.

Secondly, thank you so much for officiating mine and Steve's ceremony. You have no idea how many people you touched when you made us promise to never get divorced. While my brother-in-law was so in awe at that commitment, my dad, who is not the most churched individual in the world, said that it was refreshing that such value was placed on the sanctity of marriage. In a society where it is all too easy to just go and throw a marriage down the drain, no truer words have ever been said. Marriage is by no means easy, but true love "always, protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres."

We love you and miss you!
Steve and Jackie Parks

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Litton
We've never met, but I was introduced to your blog by a mutual friend. Your writing are inspiring and thought provoking.
I wish you all God's graces as you continue to do His work.
I also wish you and your new bride all God's blessings and many years of happiness together.
A Friend in NJ

Anonymous said...

Another example of God given wisdom to you. It blessed me so much to read your blogs from time to time. This afternoon, I just took a minute from work to go to this website to find encouragement. Thank you for your leadership of FBNM ... thank you for this sweet testimony to your marriage to Tammy. Best wishes for many happy years with your new love.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed,
I just wanted you to know what a difference you and the church family at North Mobile made in my life. I was a college student at U/M when NOMO was still a young church. I will never forget the sermon series you did that year on "God's Dream For Your Life". You know, life has not always gone the way I planned, but I think I've ended up where I'm supposed to be. I know the same is true for you. May God's richest blessings be upon you.

Alisa Brittingham said...

Wow! What an awesome picture from "back in the day"!! Terry and I are in awe sometimes when we here you tell a story of you and Tammy. From your dating years, early marriage and your romance sounds like us!! We are high school sweethearts, married May 21, 1982. We just celebrated our 27th anniversary. We often find that our life stories collide.
On a different note, I want to tell you what an awesome service you provided for Paul. I have listened to it many times since September. It brings comfort and peace to my heart. We know where he is. God has allowed us several dreams that confirm he is in heaven! Thank you for your comforting words and your continued prayers for our family. We are so happy for you and Kathy and pray you have many happy anniversaries together!
We love you!
Alisa Brittingham

AmberG said...

"We make vows to endure because enduring is essential in this, the one human relationship that challenges our self-centeredness to its core."

I agree and beleive that marriage/family are Satan's number one enemy. I have felt them torn apart within my own family growing up and around me throughout my life. I have also experienced God sustaining my marriage to Landon and healing the wounds from my past over the last eight years. Your commitment to your marriage has impacted my family so strongly. I am still learning and growing everyday but blessed and held within the power of God in my life! It is an honor. Thanks for always sharing your story. God Bless you and your new bride as you commit to one another!

MessickMom said...

Me, Amy and Beth were just talking about Tammy last night as we ate at The Cheesecake Factory here in Kentucky. We all sure miss her! But, we know that God somehow had and has a plan in all He does. Even though tears still well up in our eyes when we talk of Tammy, we are thankful for God's grace and sovereign plan. We are thankful for how He worked in the past, how He is working in the present and how He holds all of our tomorrows in His hand!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Ed.

Do you have a personal e-mail that I could get from you.