The Vows We Make

Matt and I said some truly amazing things to each other about seven years ago, on the alter of a sweet little stained glass windowed church. We stood toe to toe and eye to eye and made extravagant and beautiful promises. Promises about who we would be to each other and for each other. We were imagining the very best version of ourselves.

I was looking back on those promises the other day. Those extravagant and beautiful promises. And I was so unbelievably aware of how very high we set the bar for ourselves. And how very far away that bar looked. I was imagining and promising the very best version of myself... and can I just be honest and say that is not what I brought to the breakfast table this morning?

But it's what I want to bring. To the chaos of the morning rush. To the stillness after the kids are in bed. Those extravagant and beautiful promises. They help chart the course for who and how I want to be with Matt. And I will be striving toward the perfection of them for the rest of my life. Ya'll, the bar is high.

It occurred to me, this afternoon, in the calm of nap time, as I was putting away pom pom balls, and dinosaurs, and superhero capes and matchbox cars... those signs of  toddler and preschool life that touch every corner of our house... that we have never made those extravagant and beautiful promises to our children. Those big, overreaching, bold promises about who and how we want to be for them. The ones that set the bar incredibly high, that humble us and send us running for grace.

I wouldn't dare to share them publicly, for fear I will have most certainly forgotten the most important thing. And I imagine myself writing and rewriting them for the next lifetime, as the boys grow and change and how who I want to be for them and with is reshaped. 

But as I collect into boxes and baskets so many of the tokens that mean they are here, tucked within the four walls of our home, I am wondering about those vows. What they need the most and what they need the least. What bold promises we should be making that will guide who and how we are with them.

I've been reading in the Bible lately, the book of Deuteronomy. Over and over and over Moses emphasizes this siren call to Remember everything the Lord has done for this group of people. Remember. Remember. Remember.  Remember what you saw, remember what you heard, remember the miracles, remember the impossible things that you thought would never happen... and then they did. Remember how very loved and very carried you have been. Remember.

And in painstaking detail, Moses spells out their history.

And truly. It really is something to remember. They saw and experienced some incredible things that I just cannot even.

And after all that history- he says this...

 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.

And in may ways and at various times, he repeats this instruction. 

Love. and Obey.

Love. and Obey.

First, Remember.

and then...

Love and Obey.

I think what Matt and I want most from our kids is their affection. Their unabashed, unashamed, fly through the air, straight into our arms kind of affection. And heavens knows we want them to obey.  Glory of glories will be the day we are able to buckle everyone in the car without arguing, delaying, tears and screaming. Let alone, this very long and big goal we are working towards of helping them to be men of character who love God and love people so thoroughly and so well.

All that love and affection, and all that obedience the Lord was so deeply desired with the Israelites, it started with their remembrance of WHO He was and WHAT He had done.

May it be so with us.

May we give our kids something to remember.

May we be kind and consistent in our discipline.

But may we be just as kind and consistent with our fun and with all the things that build memories in the hearts and minds of three and one year olds. With our pretending, with our game nights, and our mommy-dates, with our "I love you's." With our matchbox car crashes, and our letting-you-help-in-the-kitchen-messes. With our belly laughs and our marker hands and yes, you can call me Hallie and I will call you Doc McStuffins. With our cuddles and stories on the couch and answers to the one millionth question. With our tiny adventures and our lengthy examinations of bugs and worms and rocks.

And may God, the author of their story and the breath of life inside their souls give them an abundance of things to remember. May we bear witness with them to the glory of God at work in their lives, teaching, protecting, growing, redeeming, revealing, convicting and rescuing.

May their minds be stirred to remember.

May their affections be stirred to love.

May their whole beings be stirred obey.