Here is the story I shared with you almost one month ago--while we both sobbed. I know that day felt like 20 years packed into one moment, so I'm sending this story off to you now as a moment to keep for 20 years and longer. I hope that as you read it you are filled with all the joy and love with which I wrote it.
This is a story about two little girls who spent the first nine months of their lives with their sister’s elbows in each other’s faces. Both they and their Mama were incredibly relieved when they finally got out into the great spacious world.
The girls loved each other more than anything. They always dressed to match and were never far apart. When the younger girl learned to ride a bike, she proved to the older one that it was indeed humanly possible, and so the older one kept climbing on the bike and falling until she could ride next to her sister with glorious ease.
The older sister may have been born first, but the younger sister was always the leader in fashion among the two girls. When they were about seven, they were reading Little House on the Prairie, and the younger sister figured out how to do Laura’s two braids on herself. The older sister was insanely jealous, not only of the younger one’s amazing braids, but also of her Afro that she achieved the day after she braided her hair. The frizz was astounding.
But no matter how hard she practiced, the older sister always ended up with Pippi Longstocking braids instead of Laura Ingalls braids. When she asked the younger sister for help, the younger sister would only give the sage comment: “Well, sister, you just need to practice more. I braid my hair every night to practice, and if you tried that, you too could learn to braid.”
Yes—the younger sister was always quick with a solution to any problem. For instance, there was the time that she was sucking a lollipop. For some unknown reason, she decided that she didn’t want to be bothered with the inconvenience of a stick poking out of her mouth. Thankfully, she had an easy solution. All that was required was a pair of scissors expertly employed…the stick was gone, but her nose almost went with it! When one of her parents confronted her on the two curious scabs on either side of her nose, she queried innocently, “What scabs?”
“The ones on your nose—where did they come from?”
“Oh…those…um…well I just cut my nose…accidentally…I was cutting with scissors and it um...sort of got in the way.”
Every night from the time the girls were little, they lay awake for hours instead of sleeping. They would talk and talk in the darkness, planning out tree forts and blackberry tunnels, naming baby dolls and book characters. They would tickle each other’s toes and giggle into their sheets so that Mama and Papa wouldn’t interrupt their slumber party. The older sister even sobbed heartbrokenly one night when Mama decided to switch up sleeping partners and moved the younger sister in with the baby sister.
As they got older, the midnight talks changed. But both sisters were inseparable until they were 16 when their lives as they knew them completely changed, and their ways split: you see, they stopped sharing a room. They now had to travel all the way across the hall to see each other. But since it was either that or do Morse code on the wall, they decided their tongues could move faster than their fingers.
So they sat in the older sister’s room until midnight, their knees tucked under their chins, and made castles in the air instead of tree forts. They tunneled through the toughest choices in their lives now instead of through blackberries. They named life goals and theological truths instead of baby dolls and book characters.
They watched BBC period dramas together when no one else in the family would watch with them.
They played violin together, making beautiful music because they knew just how to ebb and flow with each other’s rhythm even when everyone else wondered what on earth they were doing.
They never spent a night apart until they were eighteen, and they loved it that way. Someday, they even promised one another, they were going to live in a duplex, so that they would never be more than a run across the hall or a tap of Morse code away.
But then one day, Prince Charming came, and the younger sister was swept off her feet. Prince Charming and the sister loved one another deeply, but even more importantly, they knew that in the story God was writing for each of their lives, He had written their love story.
The sister and Prince Charming were so joyful in their love, so brave in the face of impassable cliffs, and so strong in their faith in God that the older sister knew without a doubt that they were meant for each other. Yet just as strongly she knew that she would forever miss their midnight talks and rock paper scissors games, and most of all, just having her sister next to her for every adventure.
Which brings us to today. It’s not the end of the story, but the beginning.
For today, as splendid and life-changing and sacred as it is, is not just for today. Today, August 30th, 2014, is for 50 years down the road. It is so that on August 30th 2064 you and Joel can gather with your children and your grandchildren, and look back on the fruit of this day.
And I pray that when you do that you will see the blessing of God’s fingerprint on every moment. I pray that God may bless you with a heritage of many sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters who are warriors for Jesus Christ.
May the storms that beat on you drive you to your knees, and may you find each other there.
May God give you a marriage that, though human and imperfect, is so Christ-centered that all who meet you will see a picture of Jesus and His bride, the church.
May every day that passes multiply your love a hundred-fold.
I love you both.
P.S. All photography is by the amazing Christa Taylor! We'll be posting more photos soon.