Right after Christmas I had the opportunity to attend Emily Wilson’s wedding. It all kind of came together in an interesting way. I truly didn’t know Emily that well. She had come and played music for My Saint My Hero at our mass right before our company Christmas party. She and I had talked, but nothing deeper than a casual conversation. I had seen her around, I admitted to being obsessed with her song “Joy Will Be Yours” but that’s about it. The next thing I knew I was attending her wedding ceremony, and all I can say is… God had a plan.
I asked Emily to share her love story on our blog, because I think it is a great reminder that finding a man to meet you where you are and to allow you to be a holier person is possible now. I think it is quite ironic that I am giving the women’s session talk shortly after attending her wedding, and Valentines Day weekend, the weekend that always tends to remind those who are praying and longing for their future spouse to come into their lives tends to sting a little bit more. So here is Emily’s Love story…
There’s one truth that stands from the beginning of my love story…If God designed it to happen, He will make a way. God always makes a way.
In April of 2013, I traveled to the Netherlands to sing and speak at a conference for youth and music ministers. Upon my arrival (on my first ever international trip), the other presenters and I were picked up at the airport by one of the conference presenters named Daniël.
On the first day of the trip, while the others in the group had meetings to attend, Daniël was given the job of taking me to sightsee around Holland. The first place he wanted to show me was his favorite basilica in a nearby city. If you have not been to Europe, you must know…the churches will take your breath away every single time. We walked into Mary, Star of the Sea Basilica and I was totally floored by its beauty. We walked in and Daniël asked me if I wanted to pray in their chapel. We prayed together for the first time that day, and unbeknownst to me in that moment, we would end up praying together every single day after that.
Daniël and I spent time getting to know one another throughout the weekend of the conference, and I was incredibly moved by how strong, generous, faithful, giving, and kind of man he was. When I returned home to America, I knew God was doing something big but I was clueless as to the extent of the adventure that was beginning. Daniël sent me a letter expressing the same things I was feeling – that somehow, He knew that God was calling him to pursue me rightly, even if from 6,000 miles away.
A man in the Netherlands pursuing a woman in California…a scenario only possible for God. He always makes a way.
We began calling one another on Skype, getting to know one another, and praying about what God was calling us to, and discerned that it was best for me to return to Europe to explore what God was doing. I returned in June of 2013 and after taking me on a few dates, even though the prospect of dating across an ocean was overwhelming, we decided to begin formally dating.
Daniël pursued me from half a world away, on a 9-hour time difference, for 2 years. Our relationship was beautifully blessed, but a very challenging road. We had to learn to show the other love with only words and prayer – date “nights” on weekends meant spending time on Skype on my Saturday morning and his Saturday night, always finding new things to talk about. God’s hand made way for every visit (about every 2 months), and our dedication to keeping Christ at the center of everything was what carried us on with hope and deep purpose in our relationship. We committed to walking the road together daily.
God continued to make a way.
Daniël secured a graduate school internship in Laguna Beach, California, so that we could discern marriage in the same city together. We continued to fall in love, and Daniël continued to show me his heart of deep goodness and his firm foundation of faith and virtue. He never ceased to impress me by the core of who he was and the way he honored me. Daniël proposed in February 2015, and were married on December 30th, 2015.
I now look at my sweet husband across the dinner table from me, and reflect on how we are a living, breathing sacrament together. We are living in the center of God’s promise that nothing is impossible for Him. We are living the fulfillment that comes with dedicating our life and love to God – living the fulfillment that comes with our waiting for one another – living the fulfillment that comes from professing a vow and trusting Christ to give you the strength to fulfill it.
God made a way for us, and He makes everything beautiful in His perfect timing and perfect power. True love is possible, and it is alive and well in this world. May we celebrate this Valentine’s day believing in the goodness of true love and the power that it has to change this world.
I hope that you enjoyed this story, I am off to join over 100 teens in prayer this weekend, I will carry each and everyone of you with me. I ask you to say a prayer for me, the other leaders and the teens that the Holy Spirit is truly present this weekend.