“Oh, man,” Michael said, a little choked up. “This is going to be harder than I thought.” He wiped away a tear with his left hand, as he held our vows in his right, the same ones we’d written and recited seven years earlier. At the tender ages of twenty-one and twenty-two. In the packed foyer of our church. Filled with family from all over the country, friends from all throughout our life and all the optimism in the world. Michael continued reading. We continued holding hands. High near our chests. Near our hearts. As if our subconsciouses were getting our bodies as close to our souls as they could. Just like we’d done 2,555 days before.
Except this time we weren’t standing inside or under a steeple, we were standing outside and under a singular tree, old and tall; and we weren’t surrounded by hundreds of people that we could see, but hundreds rows of lavender, purple flower after purple flower, so many that we couldn’t even begin to count them all; and we weren’t anywhere close to home, but far, far away, in the South of France, in what looked like a fairytale and didn’t feel like a real day.
Jordan held Amy’s hands tight, his thumbs running over her knuckles one at a time, reaffirming them, reassuring her; and, with three squeezes, reminding them of the only three words that mattered or ever did: I love you. She tilted her head and smiled back at him, with quivering lips that said, I love you, too, and eyes that said, I’m so happy and barely holding it together, all at the same time. Then, we exchanged our rings, as much as two college kids could afford back then on summer part-time jobs. They weren’t much, but they meant everything. Still do. And always will.
reminding them of the only three words that mattered or ever did: I love you
Marriage is awesome. We really want people to know that. It’s not the ball-and-chain that’s portrayed in popular culture, and we believe the seven-year-itch is myth. In fact, we’d argue that seven years in, is seven times better.
The timing couldn’t have been better since we were vacationing in France with two of our greatest friends, Katelyn and Michael, who just happen to be world-class photographers — and Michael’s a former youth pastor, too! — we were all photographing other jobs in Europe within days of each other, so it felt like all the stars had lined up. We knew it was going to be a memorable moment, but we didn’t know just how special it was going to be.
Katelyn and Michael, there aren’t enough words in the English language that could be combined in an order that would thank you adequately for the gift of that moment and the way it will keep giving for years — and generations — to come. We love, cherish and adore you both, and are eternally grateful that God blessed us with you a few years ago. Our lives have not and never will be the same.
Lastly, there’s no audio or video recording of our ceremony. It didn’t get Snapped. It wasn’t on Facebook live. Not because we don’t value audio or video. We do. But because since we live so much of our life out loud and online, we wanted something just for us. A little moment that we could keep in our hearts and imprint in our minds and hold onto forever. Something that would just be, well, ours. A time and place to be present without having a time and place to present.
And do you know what’s funny? In that stillness. In that quiet. In that abandoned field halfway around the world under a tall, old tree with deep roots that reminded us of the ones our parents and grandparents planted for us, we felt their love; and as the glowing sun broke through the overcast clouds and cast the tree’s oversized shadow on us, we felt it more… and His warmth, too. Because walking in our parents’ and grandparents’ shadow, riding in their wake, and running in their wind, isn’t a weak thing — it’s the best thing — when those people have walked, do walk, and forever will walk with the Lord. We just feel thankful that they paved the way, because it’s made our path straighter and easier, which is why we’ve made it our mission to impact as many other marriages as we can. To keep carrying the torch for the couples who sacrificed before us.
And during our vow renewal, in the middle of the lavender fields, we were reminded, in such a naturally supernatural way, that He is loudest when we are most still, He is strongest when we are most small, and that a life and marriage rooted in Him has the power to grow into something far better and greater than our human eyes could ever see.
Katelyn shared a ton of her favorite images on her blog, so make sure to click over there to see a whole lot more! We just wanted to share a few of our many favorites! Thank you Katelyn and Michael for making our dreams come true!! We love you!!