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Wedding Vows

From Stephen:

melanie, my beloved, as i stand opposite of you, i know very well that you are my woman, my bride, my wife. love is a loyalty sworn not burning for a moment, come what may i will be standing right here by your side. early in this relationship you received my rib, within six days (let’s be real, day one) you stole my heart and today, i give you my life. you are worth more than this pen can write. just like Jesus love for his bride, you’re that way to me.

melanie, as a man after God’s own heart, full of courage and the truest affirmation i have these vows for you:

i remember telling you EARLY in this relationship that i wanted to marry you, before i said i love you. well here we are, we’re getting married today and i love you. melanie, i am so ready to love you like Jesus does.

that is sacrificial,
i vow to die to myself daily, to love you as Christ loves the church.
that is service,
i vow to join my dream with yours, to be a foster parent, to some day see the willow tree and to be a part the retreat center and to build his kingdom here for the furtherance of the gospel.
that is leading,
i vow to love Jesus always and to never walk away from Him. to be submit, live in humility, and to lead you wherever the Lord decides to take us on this adventure of life.
that is shepherding,
i vow to shepherd our home, whether that is with the youth, our children, our families.
that is being THE MAN.
today, i am giving you who i am. my weaknesses, my strengths, my family,
i have the greatest affection for you my beloved and i intend on loving you well every single day of my life. i am so proud to carry the title of being your husband.


it’s when i pull you close
i feel you the most
and it’s not just because
articles of clothing have
met there stitches
and dyes have proven their colors
but it’s transcending beyond the skin
it’s the little words
that have bigger connotations
and if you believe Jesus
still does miracles
i’m looking at one of them
every time i see
that light hit your eye
it’s that shooting star
september 6th
that broke in half
a piece of me
in the parts of you
one adam
one eve
one atom
one evening
that was just the beginning
and this is just me
telling you
three words
that will never separate even if
you tried
because i love you
is heavens language
given to speak on earth
man to woman
woman to man
bind us together
like ropes for a sturdy hand
all hands on deck
anchor in the chaos
constant in shalom
best friend and lover
they say smooth waters never made
skilled sailors
but we aren’t slaves to the sea
we like dust
have found our purpose to
a piece of you
in the parts of me
this is why i draw you close
and i want to feel you the most
because we were never meant to be alone

so thankful 1 peter three four reminds me of what a godly wife should looks like and when i read this it says everything that you are melanie: her adorning is hidden in her heart with an imperishable beauty and she has gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

melanie: you’re my best friend.

you are my cursive, my shoes, my rhythm, my song.
brand new and flying every day with you.
i love you.

From Melanie:

When I write prayers on your heart I do not include my name.  You said it speaks to my selflessness and intentionality to pray for you, as well as to the fact that I’m a writer too.  Today, is an open letter.  From the first thoughts and words to these following words, these I know to represent my coming to the altar with you, beside you, willing and eager to serve and dance the dance of life with you.

With marriage comes so much more than the physical.  I know it is your love language and do intend to continue loving you well through it, but let’s face it, physical touch and me is a very new concept. I’m only 9 months in.
I never want to get bored of you. So my promise to you, Stephen Goetz is a promise to seek to know Him more personally, to seek Christ in you, and to grow in a way that is always open to you for exploration.  May we step into togetherness in this new way, fully together with Him, trusting in each other as we adventure into what has been shown and into the unknowns of this life.  I am with you, my leader, my friend, my beloved man.

Days before we met you wrote:
“I only know one thing
To protect what’s behind me
One man’s trash is another’s treasure
So this heart
Has already been broken
Do you still want it if it’s busted?”

My “I do” is my forever answer to you.  I vow to love you as you are, as I continue to pray for the growth of your tomorrows.  Each day, I vow to see you, Stephen Joseph Goetz, as the man whom God continues to mold as His own. I love you and will always surrender to Christ, submit with you unto Christ, and work together as we grow in who He has called each of us to be individually and united as man and wife. Beloved, today marks our togetherness.  A subject we talk about often. Hand in hand, each giving 100%, but today more than ever before their is a war and we are winning because with His force as we join together hard times will come but the strength we have as we lean into each other, longing to honor and point to Christ with our words– those said and left unsaid–and our deeds–those done and left undone–directly implode upon the enemy’s plan to wreck each of His heirs.

Just as you thought of, prayed for, wrote to, and pictured the possibility of me before my meeting you, I too have considered what this, that is marked by today.

May we affirm one another each day in considering the worth we are as His son and daughter.  A worth far beyond rubies.

Words of affirmation.  Your second preferred love language.  In this too, I commit to love you well.

As you feel safe in my arms and I in yours, might you and I always know our hearts are to be trusted with one another.

I commit to be mindful of doing good and not evil towards you.

I love that we work side by side to create a welcoming and comforting home.

Alright, I know my eating limits your daily options. BUT, I commit to cooking you your favorite foods on occasion.

I commit to continue planning in advance how to meet your needs.

I commit to watch my own health in honoring you with my body.

I commit to be mindful with purchases.

I commit to grow and learn new skills to keep our home, our ministries, our relationships in good health.

I commit, WITH GLADNESS (trace his tattoos), to extend a helping hand to the poor and open my arms to the needy, alongside of you.

I commit to walking into any storm in life, prepared and faithful, as your partner, your wife.

I commit to build up your confidence and speak kindly of you, as you hold honor and respect in your roles as husband, youth pastor, leader, friend, brother, shepherd, teacher, student, and coach.

I commit to hear and to also see you as “clothed with strength and dignity, and to laugh without fear of the future.”

When I give instruction, I commit to being increasingly mindful of doing so with kindness and wisdom.

I commit to watching over our household with you, and not growing lazy.

Your youth already stand to praise you, they look upon us and see Christ.  Our children too, will stand to honor both you and I.  By God’s lead in our lives.

Thank you for loving me and for coming under this arbor with me. Today, I read Proverbs 31 and know today you make the decision to pursue only me for all of our days: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

Praise be to God.

Stephen. Crown.  Heir.  Months ago you asked for your name in hieroglyphics.  Today I’d like to pray with you over the meaning of each character in our shared name.

There are two final gifts, physical gifts, I have to offer you before we join together in every which way.  These are my final gifts of “my money” rather than “our money” and I must say I’m pretty proud of them.  So the first. Your brother and father have partnered together to frame a piece my parents and brothers helped me purchase in Cairo. Already, our families have ties represented in our home. And I’ve delighted in this since January and will continue to as time grows the bonds between our Goetz and Demlinger clans.  Not separate, but together. United by the bonds of our marriage.

G- symbol of happiness
O- symbol of charity
E- symbol of justice
T- symbol of beauty
Z- symbol of unification

With a commitment to:
Surrender. Submit. Together.

A model to lean into one another as we are founded in Christ and glorify God together

And a home we seek to stand for:
Harmony | Holiness
Openness | Otherness
Ministry | Missions
Enriching | Empowering

I am ready to affirm my new name in unity with you by signing these vows before God, our families, and close friends here on your heart for the very first time.


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Eh Chu….Bless you.

The origin of sneeze salutations:

Is there more integrity when “bless you” is stated from one who believes in an abundance of blessings poured upon God’s people, or has it become a polite use of words?

Some choose to say an arrangement of words meaning “good health to you” instead.

But for those who do say, regularly, “Bless you” or “God bless you,” I ask, “Are you truly speaking blessings from God over the individual?

Stories suggest that when one sneezes it opens the body to ‘evil’ entering the body.  For this, it makes much sense to ask God to bless the individual in fighting of the evil presence.  For those who do not know or believe the story to be true, why bless someone after sneezing?

I would like to consider a sneeze as an invitation to bring the good name of God into conversation.  An invitation to make His presence known by all people in our environment.  For disciples, this can be true.  For those who say it and may not know God or even hate the concept of god(s), I praise God that despite their contempt, praise is being lifted high.

We can delight in every salutation given after one sneezes.  Whether they believe or not, we can lift praise Heavenward and worship Him in our hearts.  Allow each sneeze you hear today to bring you in a state of worship.

Consider God to be your near Friend, a Healer to the sick, and a Father to the wounded at heart.  If a sneeze is an open door to ‘evil’ or ‘sickness’ then it too is an invitation for God’s victorious hand to be known.  May He bring comfort in the salutation following a sneeze.

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13 July 2012

Although I have not always had fond memories with my parents, my mother warned me to be surprised by the car that awaited me this past return to the states.  For, parallel to my first experience, my father had my car waiting, unexpectedly, in the parking lot.  Therefore, luggage in hand, I did not know the immediate destination for transportation home.  He did it again! I was surprised, but this time it was different.  The first time, I was 16 1/2 and wanting my license finally.  This time, I was nearly 21 years old, and after a full year without driving behind a steering wheel, I was not trusted to drive what they pronounced my own. 

Needless to say, when I finally started driving, I noticed a change in me.  I was no longer the fastest driver on the road, but I did love distance just as much.  In my month home, I have filled my 12-gallon tank between one and three times a week (due to school, work, and social commitments).

Although gas prices dropped since I last filled my tank, I was discouraged in the road conduct of California.

I was unable to fill my own tank with the handy automatic release trigger–rather I had to manually hold the gas gun in my car the whole time it took to fill… because I didn’t remember the right angle for the device.

Upon leaving Europe, I knew all would be okay while I had the California coastal sunsets to experience.  However, my work and school schedule has prohibited my dream summer schedule, distracting my priority of spending evenings on the beach.  Rather I observe the color change higher in the sky, while loading the last crowds of families at Legoland, or am driving around in traffic up north.

Oh well…

However,  in my attempt to relax ASAP after work, I tend to take the route home where I never stop at lights.  And in doing so, I have found many new additions of stop signs.  WHY? The best route–all my life–was blocked off this past week for construction.  And on Friday, they replaced the stop sign with a lighted intersection.  WHY?

I know California has a reputation for “The California stop” and all, but is this any better?  Weren’t we merging and practicing polite drivers’ etiquette?

Will this prevent us from aggressive driving?  Will this prevent us from speeding? From driving through a stop signal?  Will this prevent anything?  Or is it more an annoyance?  Did someone report too many incidents of speeding or running stop signs, and this is their response?

What drives the government to create such policies?  What makes the people obey such demands? Is there a global language in terms of driving?

Imagine if every time we sped through a day, an authority figure enforced boundaries.  Would you adhere?  Is driving any different?

Driving: the metaphor of life, as we drive right past the majority of it…

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