Updated: Dec 17, 2022
33 years ago yesterday I made a covenant commitment to my husband, Kyle. We were two kids, getting married. Holding hands, giddy. We got married a week before Christmas, evergreen and twinkling lights for decorations. It was a church wedding with a reception in the basement. We served Christmas cookies, and Swedish almond cake. Things were pretty simple back then. Kyle and I wrote our own vows, but we also repeated the traditional promises:
…to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part…
We may not have known what we were doing then, but we were making a covenant promise.
When I wrote my very first manuscript of The Covenant Story, well over a decade ago, I imagined giving a published book to a (far in the future) engaged-to-be-married son and his bride-to-be. And I imagined their covenant-story wedding. They would speak the vows of the covenant oath. They would exchange rings as symbols of the enduring promise. And they would receive communion—the bread and the cup—reminding them of the New Covenant bought in Jesus’ blood. Jesus doing for them (in life and in marriage) what they could never hope to accomplish themselves.
By the time the first of my sons got married The Covenant Story was a familiar family text. Read aloud during a season of Advent; variations in 3-ring-binders scattered throughout our house. Our faithful friend, Pastor Mike Howard, officiated the weddings of our oldest two. He was one of the first to read and critique my manuscript; later he’d write the forward for my published book. Mike understood the significance of the covenant oath and he wove its language into the ceremonies of our sons’ weddings. This ring is a symbol of my covenant pledge…
And then, earlier this fall, in mid-September, our youngest Anderson niece got married. I sat through her wedding, somewhat awestruck. It was a fairytale of sorts. I felt like I was seeing a decade-old dream of my own coming true. From beginning to end Tessah’s and Jack’s was an intentional Covenant Ceremony.
I’d given Tessah her own hot-off-the-press published version of The Covenant Story as a bridal shower gift, a month or so before the wedding. Aunts and cousins, friends and mamas, circled the bride-to-be, showering her with prenuptial blessings, and I’d been chosen to share a bit of inspiration, the perfect excuse for a mini-lecture on covenant love.
I talked about the creation story and what it means that God created the woman as the Ezer-Helper. This Hebrew word is often used for God Himself. God is our Help—our ally and rescuer—someone who comes running to save us, when we cry out for help. An EZER is a hero of sorts.
And this is the God-given role of the woman.
(Lately Kyle has taken to calling me his Ezer as a sort of nickname. He’s never been one for mushy endearments, but he likes the idea of this warrior-esque moniker. A name I gladly embrace.)
“You’ll be Jack’s Ezer.” I told Tessah back in August, reminding her of the essence of covenant love. “Hesed is love that always fights FOR and never against.”
…to an exquisite Sunday morning in mid-September. Friends and family gathered in an Eden-like garden, standing as witnesses to covenant vows. The pastor’s sermon revisited the promises—Abraham, Moses, David—and Jesus, our Ultimate Covenant Partner.
Jack and Tessah exchanged rings, symbols of their covenant commitment. They ate the bread and they drank the cup.
And a few rows back, just off the aisle, grinning from ear to ear—were an Uncle and Auntie, standing as witness to the vows and commitment of so many lifetimes of covenant love…
To have and to hold from this day forward…to love and to cherish, till death us do part.