(AN: Thank you to everyone who read and reviewed this story... you all are awesome. This is the final chapter for this story and I will have another story up soon. ~Krista!)
6 Months Later…
"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak:
A time for love, and a time for hate;
A time for war, and a time for peace.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8" The minister stated.
Everyone was then seated and the ceremony could begin.
"Now is a time for a wedding. Friends, Matthew and Stephanie have invited us here today to share in the celebration of their wedding. We come together, not to mark the start of a relationship but to recognize a bond that already exists." The minister stated.
"Amen" the guests stated.
"This marriage is one expression of the many varieties of love. Love is one, though its expressions are infinite. It is fitting to speak briefly about love. We live in a world of joy and fear and search for meaning and strength in the seeming disorder. We discover the truest guideline to our quest when we realize love in all its magnitudes. Love is the eternal force of life. Love is the force that allows us to face fear and uncertainty with courage. But, you must "be of love a little more careful than of anything." For the giving of yourself in love is difficult: you must learn to give of your love without total submission of yourself. Therefore, in your giving, give your joy, your sadness, your interest, your understanding, and your knowledge–all expressions that make up life. But in this giving, remember to preserve yourself–your integrity, your individuality. This is the challenge of love within marriage." The minister stated.
"Amen." the guests responded.
"Matthew, do you come before this gathering of friends and family to proclaim your love and devotion for Stephanie? Do you promise to respect her, and to care for her during times of joy and hardship? Do you commit yourself to share your feelings of happiness and sadness? Do you pledge to remain faithful to her?" The minister asked.
"I do." Matt answered.
"Stephanie, do you come before this gathering of friends and family to proclaim your love and devotion for Matthew? Do you promise to respect him, and care for him during times of joy and hardship? Do you commit yourself to share your feelings of happiness and sadness? Do you pledge to remain faithful to him?" The minister asked.
"I do." Stephanie answered.
"May I have the rings please? Bless, O Lord, this ring, to be a sign of the vows by which this man and this woman have bound themselves to each other; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." the minister stated.
"Amen." Everyone repeated.
"Creator, Savior, Loving Spirit, bless this couple who have committed themselves to each other in marriage and have come seeking your blessing. Surrounded by their families and friends, may they feel encircled by your love as well as theirs. Assure them of your presence in days of joy like this one and in days of sorrow, pain, and bereavement. Strengthen their relationship through all the tests of adversity and brighten it with a generous measure of happiness." the minister stated. "Help them make their home a place where they love children and welcome friends. Spare them from interference by those who, through wanting to help, may intrude in what are the proper responsibilities of husband and wife, father and mother, and children. Make them good neighbors, doing for others what they would have others do for them. Teach us all to love each other as we love ourselves."
"I offer you this ring to wear as a symbol of our unity." Matt stated as he placed the ring on Stephanie's finger.
"I offer you this ring to wear as a symbol of our unity." Stephanie stated as she placed the ring on Matt's finger.
"May these two find happiness in their matrimony. May they live faithfully together, may they ever remain compassionate. May years be rich in the joys of life, and their days be long upon the earth. I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride." The minister stated.
Matt and Stephanie then shared their first kiss as husband and wife. After the ceremony, everyone headed to the reception. Matt and Stephanie had decided not to take a honeymoon at that time as the babies were too young to leave behind for more than a night. Matt and Stephanie couldn't have been any happier with their family and the way things turned out.
Amy was eventually arrested for conspiracy in Stephanie's accident a year ago. It turned out that Amy had looked up Stephanie's past history and found her most recent ex who had a grudge against her. Amy wanted Matt back and after seeing Matt and Stephanie so happy together and having a family, it drove her over the edge to do what she did. Once she was put in jail, the Hardy's were able to enjoy their new family life.