One of my best friends is a writer. I love what she does with words and I love her heart and she loves me so very well, that I asked her to write something (and then read it) for my wedding.  This is what she said. Needless to say, tears flowed.  I’m beyond grateful for her friendship, and the love of the friends she is talking about here.  Thank you, sweet Sheli.

I’ve written this letter a thousand times in my head, for years now.  A letter filled with hope and prayers. A letter filled with pleas and petitions. What I never dreamed was that the letter would be read to more than one of you someday. That I would be standing at your wedding telling the story.

I, we.

We have all prayed that one day you would wake up with hope in your heart. That you would believe for the first time that the God who says He makes all things new really was doing that.

That you would see evidence of what redemption looks like before you saw Jesus face-to-face. We have prayed for years that you would go through your day and your heart would know what joy felt like again.

That you would believe for the first time that second chances were not just for everyone else but for you as well. We prayed that you would encounter a love so deep that you would know it was a gift that came only from the One who breathes life into you.

That when you lay your head down at night that you would still have a smile on your face from the laughter that filled your life that day. We prayed that you would not only feel safe alone but that you would feel protected by another.

We have prayed that you would one day feel the love that you so lavishly pour on all of us. That you would believe that you deserve it and you are cherished.

We have prayed that you would be wise in every decision you make. That you would know when someone is who they say they are. We have prayed that you would know peace in your soul. That you would open your arms to one who wanted to be there with you.

We have prayed and pleaded all of this for you.

You and I, we have had this promise or understanding now for years. That whenever one of us needed help or protection, when one of us felt we couldn’t handle things or people on our own, that we would send the message, “I’m putting my boots on”.

Well, today I think it’s time to hand over my boots. img0394

The one who will protect you is here.

We know without a doubt that Jesus himself has answered all of our prayers. He has answered them abundantly and exceedingly more than we could have ever hoped for.

Richard, we are grateful. We are grateful that you are a man of God who will lead her, protect her, love her and cherish her. We are grateful that you make her smile like we have never seen before. We are blessed that you are a man of your word and that you value what she speaks and writes. We are grateful that you are standing beside her now and never could have dreamed a more beautiful story of redemption.

We love you.

P.S. I told her she didn’t need to actually give the boots to Richard…that she and I would always, always have each other’s backs, that we would all always need each other.

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