Emily and Matt are a precious couple. Their love for each other and their love for Jesus shines through in everything they do. When I first met Emily, I was immediately captured by her bright smile that lights up the room, her cheerful and adventurous spirit, and her evident love for Jesus. The way she talked about the Lord was inspiring, and the way she talked about Matt made it so obvious that this was the man of her dreams, and she couldn't wait to marry him. We had the absolute best time taking our engagement photos on Sassafras Mountain (view those here!), and I loved getting to know them and how they interact together.
When Emily texted me the day before the wedding and let me know that Matt's brother, Josh, unexpectedly passed away at 25-years-old, I was crushed for them. They are the sweetest couple you will ever meet, and they were so excited for their wedding day. It doesn't seem fair to have such a tragedy happen to them. Sometimes God sends trials that don't make any sense at all. They were left with a decision to make. Should they continue with the wedding as planned? Emily said it herself, "How do you walk forward with this?" To make such a huge choice in the midst of an awful tragedy must have been daunting.
Emily and Matt both went to a Christian university. I, myself, went to another Christian university. We've heard countless sermons on how Christ is sufficient and how He sustains His children in the midst of trials. It's moments like this that allow us to put our faith into reality. Do we really believe that, or is it just a story to us? Christ is the Prince of Peace. He is the God of all comfort. He walks with us in the valley of the shadow of death. I have never seen that more clearly than in Emily and Matt and their families on their wedding day. They were obviously so broken over the death of Josh, but their love for Christ and for each other was so sweet. They were clinging to the promise that God knows all things, He isn't surprised by the calendar, He doesn't change, He doesn't fail. He offers rest. He sustains His children. They were able to have joy even in the midst of tragedy, and their love for each other and for the Lord shined even more brightly.
No one knows exactly why God allowed this to happen. But I am sure that one reason was so that everyone who attended this wedding and was involved in it would see Emily & Matt's love for Christ. That they would hear the gospel message presented in such a real way. Christ died for sins and freely offers rest and peace in a way that nothing else in this world does. Where else can you find hope in darkness?
Emily & Matt, thank you for allowing me into your lives even in such a small way.
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
A big thanks to my second shooter, Devin Hayman.
Dress: David's Bridal
MUAH: Millie Lewis Salon
Dinner: Brett and Natasha Smith
Flowers: Cindy Petit
Reception: Action Concrete Warehouse