{My oldest little brother got married this weekend. In South Africa. I wasn’t there. But I was. Because words have wings and love can span oceans.}

Joshua, I don’t know if you’ve ever been my little brother.

You’ve always been the rock, the hug, the guy that knows how to comfort his sister when her mom died, when her boyfriend broke up with her, when she was surviving her good-byes in a hundred different airport departure lounges.

The guy who has lived in both my South African and American worlds.

We have lived the life of the in between together.

And when I talk about being homesick, I know you can understand.

I am homesick for you today, Joshua.

But I am also the happiest I have ever been for you. Can you see me? Can you see me standing right there next to Luke grinning and hugging myself with the happiness of this moment? Because little brother who always felt like my big brother I have watched you do the hard work of growing up into the man you are today.

And it has been my deep honor to have been able to hold your hand a little bit on that journey.

I measure how long it’s been by the age of my second born son, Micah. Because when I sat in the yellow rocker in Michigan, holding that newborn to my heart I was also whispering prayers for you and Megan through the dark watches of the night.

She is the gift and I have loved her from those snowy nights in Michigan all the way to Washington DC when Micah was 2 and Megan came to visit us.

And Megan, I can still feel how my heart ached when you told me right there in front of the US Capitol, “But I just LOVE Josh, so much!”

And we kept praying and Micah turned three and Joshua drove to Cape Town and we all held our breath.

And God said that it was good and he redeemed and restored and sealed in love the happiness you all get to witness today. Take a photo for me will you? Take a deep heart photo and carry it in your memory because this is the hard love. This is the love that goes to the faithful.

This is the love that tastes the sweetest for being the the most hard won.

Marriage is an act of courage and commitment the likes of which the world cannot comprehend.

It is the upside down love that puts someone else first.

And it is the most rewarding.

“Many waters cannot quench love,

Nor will rivers overflow it;

If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,

It would be utterly despised.” Song of Solomon 8:7

I don’t need to be there today to know what you both look like. Because I can see it all the way over here – how love is reflected in your faces, your vows, your first dance, the way he puts his hand on the small of her back and how she leans into him.

I love you.

I love you guys so much.

Megan, you are my sister.

And Joshua, you are the big brother I could not be more proud of.

::

{All photos by uber talented South African photographer Laura Jane.}

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