The Generosity of People.

Dear friends, 

        It is challenging to figure out where to pick back up. 

        I disappeared a little while ago in December, as we began to pick up speed leading up to our wedding day. There are many things to process about the past year, and the first thing I am attempting to process is the generosity of the people around me. In the past few months, the love poured out upon us has been breathtaking, the support has been overwhelming, and the grace has been surreal. 

        It is truly unbelievable to think of all the love that I have felt throughout all of 2015 - I have been left without words, utterly speechless. 

        There will never be enough words to thank so many people for all that they did to support Daniël and I in 2015. My parents walked with me every step of the way and gave selflessly and supportively at every turn. I will never have the proper words to express my love and gratitude for them. My sisters, brother, and brother-in-law keep me laughing and dancing the whole way through this life. In the months leading up to the wedding, I received messages of love from dozens and dozens of people - offers from selfless souls wanting to help poured in constantly and I was humbled - the amount of people who wrote or texted saying they were praying for us was beyond compare. 

        About a week before the wedding, I received a package from a parish in Florida. The youth minister and many of the girls had written me little letters of love, and they sent them along with a beautiful medal of the Holy Family. When I opened this package in the midst of a last-minute odds-and-ends frenzy, my gratitude overflowed into many tears. This was the pinnacle of all the love I felt - I have never been so aware that I was breathing, living, and walking in the love and prayers of others. There are no words to describe how humbling it is. I tied the medal these young women gave me into my bouquet and carried it down the aisle as a prayer for young women everywhere. Thank you to this youth minister and the young women who wrote to me. What a gift. 

        In 2015, I was blessed by the support of many priests as we walked through engagement - and we were blessed by one priest in particular. Daniël and I were prepared for our marriage by Fr. Dan Beeman, a priest from Norfolk, Virginia. Fr. Dan flew across America to celebrate our wedding - a huge gift in and of itself. Not only did he celebrate our wedding he valiantly led our 2-day extravaganza to be something very holy and very sacred. The day before our wedding, he celebrated a private Mass for Daniël and I - our last Mass as single people. He guided everyone through the rehearsal, and celebrated our wedding Mass, which was an absolute explosion of joy. The love and generosity Fr. Dan showed us over the past few months - in the midst of an extremely busy schedule running a parish - has left us in absolute awe. 

        The amount of people who attended our wedding Mass was beyond my wildest dreams. When we opened our Mass to all, I did not know who would come. I saw people from all walks of my life - many teens from my years as a campus minister, former colleagues, friends in ministry, my elementary school teacher. We had friends drive across the country to be a part of our day - truly, truly humbling. Thank you to all who came to worship with us, and for praising your hearts out with us. We are grateful to have spent the most important Mass of our lives with you. 

        Daniël and I are embarking on our new normal, and I have quite a bit to say about all that has transpired in the past few months. I look forward to sharing my heart with you, and I am thrilled about all that 2016 will hold and sharing in even more of God's love and grace in this one wild and precious life.