Everyone knows a wedding is about the love between a bride a groom, but the love between Kristin and her flower girl was an experience I'll remember forever.
It only took a moment for me to realize how special Kristin was and once we got to talking at her trial, I truly got a glimpse of what an amazing person she really is. Here is Kristin's story of how she and Jana, her flower girl, met and became life long friends.
In the fall of 2012, I went off to college at Liberty University in Lynchburg. Having a heart for special needs children, I was searching for a way to volunteer and help someone who was physically unable. I volunteered with the special needs program at Thomas Road Baptist church on Wednesday nights and that is where I met Jana Moon. Jana instantly became one of the most special people I have ever met. Jana was a 10-year-old girl who had cerebral palsy. She was in a wheel chair and no way to talk or move. Her smile and sweet spirit was something I was so blessed to experience every time I was with her.
A year had gone by and I had spent every Wednesday night as her aide at church. I will never forget the night Jana was able to tell me something for the first time. I knew Jana was bright; I just needed a way to find out what she was thinking. I wrote down the alphabet in her journal during a Wednesday night session. Jana took her fingers and traced over the letters for the first time to tell me what she wanted to say. Jana pointed to these letters in this order, I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U. Tears streamed down my face, as I could not believe me what I had just saw. We then had a way of communicating to each other. (Needless to say, talking to each other became a huge distraction during the sermon.) For my entire 4 years at Liberty, every Wednesday night I was there with her and even some weekends I would go see her. I watched Jana experience so many changes, surgeries, and physical challenges throughout the years. We had a bond that was like nothing I had ever experienced.
I became engaged the summer of my junior year of college. Moving forward with wedding plans I knew I would get married the summer after I graduated. I decided that there’s no one I would rather have to walk the aisle before me in white than sweet Jana. The ceremony would be outside and with Jana’s condition I was unsure if it was possible for her. I asked her mom and she was thrilled at the thought. So, I got a gift and a card and asked Jana to be my flower girl and explained to her what she would do. She was so excited to wear a dress and be at my wedding! I also asked her younger sister, Aleah to help assist Jana throw flowers out of the basket. That semester, we looked for the perfect white dress for Jana. Jana has her own style and would let me know if it was ‘the dress.’ Eventually we found the perfect dress for Jana and she was smiling from ear to ear and dancing in her chair. It is one of those moments, I will never forget.
Her whole family traveled three hours back to my hometown to make it for this special occasion. The day of the wedding, Jana was all dolled up, which she loves to be. Her hair was fixed up just like she wanted by the wedding hair dressers and her make up was flawless. Her dress was stunning and she was wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen. Jana was strolled down the aisle by her mother and sister by her side to help her toss the flowers. Though I was not able to see this moment, I have heard this moment had grown men in tears. Though we didn’t think Jana would be able to toss flowers, she managed to pick up flowers and toss the flowers down the aisle.
The rest of the night she danced and danced with so many people. She even was pushed into the middle of the dance floor for a dance off. Nearing to the end of the reception, her mother put her in the van because she knew seeing my new husband and I leave would be too much for Jana to bear. I knew my wedding would be a farewell in a way for us, because I had graduated from Liberty moved away from Lynchburg. Seeing her having the time of her life and walk before me is one of my favorite parts of my wedding day! She lit up that day with her smile and the same sweet spirit that I saw from the first time I met her.
Jana is truly a remarkable child. Though her body may be limited, Jana’s strength is through her personality and her willingness to never give up makes her one of the strongest people I have met. Four years ago, I went to help a special need child when she is the one who helped me. She helps me to in so many ways and she is one of my lifelong friends.
Written by Kristin Lyles.
Check out the beautiful video from Kristin and Jordan's wedding at Rose Hill Plantation