For My Sister...

Dear Jennie,

It's Friday, almost 11:30 pm. One week from tonight, we'll all be home again, but this time without you. You'll be married by then and off with your new husband, on your wedding night. Mom and Dad will be relieved, exhausted, emotional, happy, and at'll be a married woman! Travis, Jesse, Stacie, and I will also be all of those things, but we'll probably be laughing too! We'll be sitting around in our dresses and tuxes, playing with the dogs and talking about the "big day." We'll be quickly uploading all our photos, so we can see shots from the day and talk about each will be well past midnight I'm sure. We'll notice things we didn't before. We'll comment on your dress, your pretty hair, Dave's big grin, your sweet smile. We imagine how great the professional pictures are going to be and we'll talk about all the highlights from the ceremony. We'll all be yawning and saying we need to go to bed, but no one will move because we all know we won't be able to fall asleep. Our make-up will be worn off by then and our fancy hair-do's, falling out. This long-anticipated event will be officially over, but the real adventure will be just beginning.

Married life. You've waited a long time to be Dave's wife and by this time next week, we can finally welcome you into the "wives club." Jennie, you've been a funny bride-to-be these last few months! I know this is a day you've been dreaming about for years and I'm praying that it will not disappoint. We love Dave very much and we know you've found the one your heart loves. This marriage is a big deal, and one worth celebrating! It feels like Dave has been a part of our family for so long now, but it will be good to make it official. We're all so grateful to see the Lord working in your lives and answering your prayers. What a blessing to have all these big pieces finally falling into place. The "love shack" sounds like the perfect house for newlyweds; your job this Fall is going to be great for you; and Dave will finally be back in the 'Loo, no more trips to Coralville!! Isn't God faithful?

Your marriage is going to always be a marker of that faithfulness...don't take it for granted. Dave is a gift from the Lord, hand-delivered to you. I know you've spent many nights over the years, wondering what God's plans for you would be. Jennie, you've walked a hard road to get to where you are today. Even though you are my younger sister, there is much that I admire about you. You've never been the quiet one in the family and let's face it, you've defined the word "Drama-Queen!" I have so many memories of your crazy antics, most involving stories that never ended and faces that make Dad cry with laughter! But you've also developed a tender side, one that's been shaped through many challenges and tears.

There are several things that have happened to you Jen, things that I've wished wouldn't have. You've endured an illness that shouldn't have taken over your life at such a young age and you've learned to live with joy, despite some very obvious pain. You've had your heart broken, in a way no one your age should. I'll never forget two specific days in your life, because they were days I cried out to the Lord on your behalf and days I wished so badly I could take your place. The first day, is the day you learned of David's cancer diagnosis while we were in Colorado and the second day, is the day Mom and Dad told you that his fight on earth had finally ended. Jennie, you handled that first big loss in your life with so much grace and strength, but we never forgot that you also walked away with your first broken heart. No 15 year old should have to bury a friend, but you trusted in a plan you couldn't see and you grieved not as this world grieves, but with hope. That time in your life was so hard and yet so significant. Your character was being shaped at such a young age and Jennie, you were given the gift of compassion and mercy as a result. You've been such a good friend Jennie and when God would once again bring loss into your life, you stepped in with a wounded heart and ministered to Cady, in a way that only you could. Jennie, God will use those hard days and those tears for His glory all of your life, if you'll continue to let Him. Just as He bears scars that represent what He did for you, so now you bear scars for Him too. Don't be afraid to face difficult things in life and in marriage. Your God is mighty to save and faithful to the end. Draw from these hard times when you feel alone or frustrated. He has been very good to you.

I am so glad you and Stacie are my sisters. We've not always seen eye to eye (probably because we're a lot alike) but I've always loved you and I always will. For all those times we fought over barbies, clothes, and shoes, we've also bonded over many sweet times too. You were with me when I became Travis' wife 5 years ago, and just last year, when we watched Stacie become Jesse's wife. Now it's our turn to stand with you and to watch you become Dave's wife. I pray that you'll cherish this last week and all that it brings with it. You're going to be overwhelmed, stressed, very tired, incredibly happy and sometimes a little bit sad. Life is changing for you Jennie and things are going to be different from this point on. You have a wonderful road waiting for you. Marriage is going to be the wildest ride you've been on yet! I hope you know you're making the right decision... Dave is definitely "the one" for you. We are all thrilled over this occasion and we are very ready to finally "complete" our family. We love you both so much.

So, happy wedding week Jennie! Enjoy it, all of it. You are a wonderful sister and you're going to be a beautiful bride. I can't wait to get to Iowa and see you! Mrs. Jennifer Knapp... it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

All my love,


Faith said...

Oh my goodness...this is just precious! I am sitting here in tears, and I don't even know them! What a sweet, sweet tribute to your beautiful sister. I will be praying for you all as you prepare for this big day, and for the happy couple...that God would bless them with many wonderful years of marriage. Congratulations!!

MiMi said...

Thank you for popping over from Faith's blog to visit my blog. I am all new to this, but I think I am really going to enjoy it. I look forward to getting to know you better!

What a beautiful tribute to your sister! She is so fortunate to have you for her sister. I know this will be a very exciting week for your entire family. I pray that your sister will have a wonderful married life. Congratulations!


You made me cry too. My first real babysitter for my boys is now getting married. The other one got married last year!

Sarah said...

What?! All this lead up to the wedding and now only one picture? j/k I'm sure there are more to come! LOVE her dress!

amy said...

what a sweet note to your sister! i loved reading it! :) hope all is well with you and travis! we miss you guys!!!

Faith said...

Stephanie, how are you?? I have missed hearing from you...hope everything is well with you and Travis!
Come back soon!