From this day forward.
For better or for worse.
In sickness and in health.
Until death do us part.
Jon and Lisa held hands while they repeated vows to one another. Jon’s eyes filled with tears. Lisa’s face beamed.
There was no caterer. No wedding planner. No reception. Just a small gathering to celebrate two people who loved Jesus and chose to serve one another in the most trying season of their lives.
Jon and Lisa’s original wedding date was still six months away, but plans changed when Jon went in for a scheduled surgical procedure.
A sufferer of Crohn’s disease for 13 years, Jon’s medication and clinical trials hadn't proven successful. The last resort was to remove his colon altogether. During the procedure, surgeons discovered appendix cancer that has spread throughout his abdominal cavity.
Jon was 25 years old. Lisa, 23.
“We knew that the best thing for both of us, was to be there for each other. So, about four days after leaving the hospital and talking to our parents, I called Reach Everett pastor Sean Gasperetti, and asked if he’d marry us that Friday.”
A week after discovering Jon had cancer, they were married.
“Since I was living alone we wanted to be together so Lisa would be able to help me through the recovery. On the other hand, it was important to honor God and our relationship, and that meant being married first.”
In the light of that, their wedding day was vibrant. Jon and Lisa stood in front of very close family and a couple of their friends to commit to one another. The simplicity of the service struck a chord; the gospel unfolded vow after vow.
Jon and Lisa’s unbreakable bravery told the greatest truth: suffering doesn’t have the final say. Love does.
“We both got married for the exact same reason: we were committing to God and each other to be together, through sickness and health. It was complete joy that drove me to tears and her to laughter.”
After being a newlywed shy of two months, Jon went in to have the cancer removed. A great deal of it was removed, but not everything. “Now we dive into figuring out what chemotherapy treatment or other options look like.”
Jon and Lisa still look forward to the future with expectancy and plan on having a wedding reception as soon as they can, "We still want to celebrate with all our friends."
But in the meantime, Jon finds great comfort in the story of Jesus’ life. “The story of Christ coming and suffering and always pointing his disciples to the Father and the Kingdom, that’s something that is really helpful for me to see and try to model.” Jon explained.
“His example of pursuing the Lord through hardship, tells me that if I leave this earth, my story and example of trying to follow Christ as best as I can, has the potential to help more people encounter Christ than I would have been able to myself.”