Six years ago today the weather forcast for Ottawa was 26, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and zero precipitation was expected.
It was a perfect setting
A perfect day for our family to be expanded.
She walked the aisle alone, save for her cell phone tucked in her bouquet. On the other end of the cell phone was her dear mother...laying in a hospital bed some 389 miles away.
My heart both ached and beat with pride for this beautiful brave girl who would honour her Mom with every fiber of her being that day.
She and her sister were raised by their dedicated single mother from the ages of 2 years and 2 months.
As she reached the front of the church and our boy got the first chance to take in the fullness of his Bride I felt the first tear escape.
Our Pastor had prepared the congreation before the ceremony with an update on Joanne and asked us to please allow James and Jen to keep the focus on what this day was for all the while keeping Joanne in our prayers.
But many more tears would fall before too long. We bowed in prayer before beginning.
"Who give this woman to be married to this man?" These were the words from the gentle but deep bass voice of Pastor Randy
"I do"...a voice from nowhere came across the sound system.
Gasps and more tears.
Nothing could have prepared us to hear the voice of the woman who was lying in a hospital bed so far away. The phone had been transfered to Randy during the prayer and Joanne's voice could be heard through his microphone.
Her voice was weak but there was no doubt that she knew she was commiting her daughter's future and heart into good hands.
I felt so guilty for being there when she couldn't be, but more than that I felt and immense amount of gratitude to this incredibly strong and brave woman for pouring her entire life into raising her girls. For raisig the perfect Bride for our Boy.
Later that day my husband and gave a speech and one fo the things I said was that we couldn't have picked a better girl for our boy if we tried and I still say the same.
In the months after their wedding they would weather some of the most incredibly difficult life experiences that even seasoned married couples would find hard, but they came through with grace, diginity and integrity most could only dream of conguring.
In the years that have followed they have only deepened the love they have for each other and more so for their Saviour as they have dilligently sought to serve Him.
They have accepted each challenge wiht reverence, joy and excitement to see what God will do in and through them.
It was a beautiful, bitter-sweet celebration 6 years ago. She couldn't know how soon she would be walking with her mom for the last time in just a few short months. But she bravely walked her home to her Saviour...this time holding her hand instead of a bouquet...and for Joanne, she knew she was leaving her girl with the boy would love her for ever and a day!