Love never ends.

From Michelle.  25 June, 2011.

Dear friends and family,

Breathe.  I look back over that last entry and am reminded again and again of the need to stand fast amidst the chaos and simply take in air and push it out.

We have packed up our house and shipped it off to Manila.  Breathe.  We have renewed our vows, celebrated birthdays, helped Steve’s parents renew their vows, traveled to Ohio and New York, house-hunted from a distance and made countless decisions.  Breathe.  For two months we will live out of three suitcases in five cities.  Then we will plant ourselves anew in Manila.  Breathe.

I breathe best when I am looking up.  But I breathe almost as easily when I look at Steve and he looks back at me; such is our story bound up with the One who first breathed into us.  Who can explain the ways that we have become enmeshed?  So that, when I look at him, I am almost looking at a reflection.  So that, when I am with him it is as easy as if I were by myself.  So that, when we are apart for even a few hours, I miss him.  So that, when he was hurt, it was as if it were happening to me.  The old Genesis verse rings true: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen. 2:24)  Ephesians takes it further, adding: This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:31-32)  Indeed, Steve’s spirit does not yet live in me as Christ’s spirit does, and yet with each passing year, it is more deeply entrenched.  Our interests become more deeply entwined, our identities more closely tied.  Just as I want more of Him and less of me, so also my desires for Steve’s well being grow as my desires for myself diminish.  Ten years together have worn one steady path which now only occasionally diverts into two.

Celebrating my 40th birthday in New York.

On Monday, May 23rd, Steve asked me to marry him again.  The amazing photographers who joined us created a sacred space, and decided to tell more than just the moment through the photographs they took.  Through a day, they told the year.  Through a lens, they told a marriage.  This is what they did:

Yesterday, Steve married his parents again, a renewal of vows after fifty years.  I tremble at the thought that we would be allowed to share our lives for that long.  I hope that if we did, we would not only deepen in oneness, but reflect more brilliantly the mystery our union embodies, Christ and the church.  If my love for Steve is but a dim reflection of the love that remains in God, then I will gladly give myself over to it.  The hackneyed verses of 1 Corinthians 13 bear repeating, despite their timeworn familiarity:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love never ends.  I am clear that marriage is an imperfect mirror, a finite image of an infinite truth.  Our lives will end, as will our union.  We will fail one another.  Our paths will diverge.  Nevertheless, when we bear and hope and endure together, we dip our toes into the eternal.  In New York, we watched a film that touched on that truth: “Unless you love, your life will flash by.”

While breathing delivers a moment, love delivers a life.

Today, I give thanks for Love.



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  • Patricia Bentz

    Absolutely lovely . . . absolutely incredible.  What a miracle you are!!

    May God continue to bless you richly both now and forever.

    Sent with love and amazement,


  • Soniamoen

    Michelle and Steve, Congratulations on a most incredibly beautiful love story !  An inspiration to be sure .  God bless you and your family always.  ~Sonia Moen

  • Betty Gutzwiller

    I am filled with joy Michelle.  We are so happy for you and Steve!  Greet everyone at UCM for us!
    Thanks so much for allowing us the privilege of joining you on this journey.  Prayerfully, Betty & Kirk Gutzwiller

  • Harold & Becky Jongeward

    WOW!  We have so thoroughly enjoyed your blogs MichelleSteve! 2 months Harold and I can hardly wait!  

  • Yiayiasu

    Dearest Steve, Michelle and precious family…….Tears are flowing down my cheeks in happiness, awe and unconditional love. What a beautiful story……It makes me feel so grateful to know you and to rejoice in your accomplishments but mostly to “witness” your faith and love………God is so good and I pray for you everyday and know there will be even more paths that you take that will continue to teach us. Continue the journey………….. God Bless you all………love,
                                                                                                                                                   sue and dimitrios economides

  • Jtc_pacc

    Dear Michelle,
    I’m so touched, I’m having goose pimples as I read your post. It makes me look up and praise God for His awesome work on the both of you! I can’t wait to see you live in Manila, so excited to hear Pastor Steve deliver God’s wonderful message to us at UCM!.. thank you.. Julie/UCM

  • Jtc_pacc

    I’m teary-eyed as I watch the video of your marriage vow renewal. It makes me fall in love with Jesus even more! Thank you Pastor Steve, Michelle. Praise God for showing us the power of His love through your endless love for each other!… Julie/UCM

  • Sarahbeuerle

    Dear Michelle and Steve,
    Truely, your story of recovery is an astounding miracle but more importantly your love endures and grows stronger.  You both bear witness to just how amazing God can be.  I am overjoyed you are returning to Manila!
    God bless,
    Sarah Beuerle

  • Davisjudya

    Tears … to God be the glory for what he has done and is yet to do!   What good memories this brought back to me.   Fred asked me to marry him “again” when he was in ICU and we renewed our vows on our 25th anniversery when he was in rehab.     I’ve wondered if when you face the possibility of loosing the one you love, the love you have for each other becomes even more intense.  Love to you and your family.

  • Ammiarmas

    Thank you for blessing me with this video, Pastor Steve and Michelle, wish to see you when you are back in Manila and i will visit your church.

  • Joanna Smith

    Very very cool. We loved the vid! Thanks for sharing it with us! 

  • Len Cabili

    Michelle, thank you for always sharing with all of us. I am in awe at how God has been faithfully working in your life and the life of Pastor Steve – together it gives a very powerful message. Indeed all glory to God! You are an inspiration and I thank God for you! Thank you!

  • Barry

    We continue to ask God’s blessing and direction on your ministry, marriage, kids and lives.  God will do as wonderful things for you in the future as God has in the past.  God is indeed faithful.  Bless you, Barry DeShetler, Christ U.M.C.

  • jennibell

    Beautiful video.  Thanks for sharing.  Steve’s parents did a marriage series with our Sunday School class at Fairhaven when we were considered “new marrieds”. . .their wisdom has always stuck with us. . .they are an example to their children. . .their children (Steve & Michele in this forum) and example to us.  TO GOD BE THE GLORY IN ALL THINGS!!!

  • Mary Braden

    Your story contiues to inspire me.  Only one year ago we did not know if Steve was going to live, and now you are once again preparing to live in Manilla.  So long, and yet so short, has this passage of  time been.  Miracle after miracle has been bestowed upon you – giving those of us who have followed your story reason to hope even in the most difficult moments of life.  Thank you for your courage, your perseverance, what you were willing to endure, and most of all, your love and devotion for one another.  I do believe that God is well-pleased with His son, and with his daughter.  It’s true, love never ends.               

  • Amelita

    Your not renewal but re-marriage vows event is so touching. Couldn’t believe how two people can really go through so much and remain steadfast in their love for one another. You are truly a great example to all of us, but especially to the young couples, who are just starting their marriage… how they can conquer whatever difficulties in life they will encounter. You are God’s gift to the whole of mankind.
    Cards and Amelita Guevara
    Looking forward to your coming “home” to Manila.

  • Annekles

    Dear Steve & family , thank you for sharing your remarkable story & miracle in your sermon with us @ UPC on May 1, 2011.  Although I am happy that you are able to resume your lives in Manila ,I am sad that you are living UPC & Seattle.  I hope that your ministry grows and goes worldwide.  I also hope that someday you will write and publish a book about your story.  I continue to pray for you and to praise God for your healing.