Friday, November 15, 2019

Our New Adventure: Part Three

If you haven't read parts one and two of our story yet, you need to. Trust me. Take a minute to do that here: Part One. Part Two. All caught up? Okay, cool! Let's keep going- it gets even better. 

As we kept coming back to the idea of building a chapel, we started searching online for some inspiration. We wanted something modern and timeless, something white and bright that didn't look "too churchy", but also held to tradition. And in the process, we stumbled upon a chapel that offered free weddings. This place happened to be just twenty minutes away from where we had already booked an Airbnb for our trip (coincidence? I think not), and we were at first baffled, and then incredibly impressed by both their business model and their heart: maybe offering free weddings could be an option. Maybe it would be a way to love couples well and to help them invest not only in their wedding, but more importantly in their marriage.

So we went out on a limb, and we fired off an email, telling a bit of our story (which you've already heard- the letter, the land, the extra land, and more) asking if it would be possible to meet while we were in town. We wanted to pick their brains, to learn from their mistakes, and to gain all the knowledge and expertise we could before adventuring down this road. So we emailed their generic email, and then we waited. And we got a response- they would meet with us. We didn't know just how big of a deal this was at the time, or honestly how big of a deal they were with their other endeavors. And yet, I love that, because it kept our hearts in the right place.

We went on our trip. We stuffed ourselves on amazing food, laughed our way through two step lessons, and hoped and prayed on the way to our meeting that God would do something big. I'll never forget jamming to the Passion worship CD that I'd tucked into my carry-on, Aaron's hand on mine, as he told me that he had a feeling something big was going to happen- something much bigger than us. We rounded the winding roads up into hill country and toured the chapel and campus, a magical place, which was nestled on the side of a cliff. Then we sat down at the table with one of the owners, who had dreamed a dream and brought it to life alongside her husband, just like we hoped to do. Her presence was calming, and she exuded grace and kindness. As we starting telling her our story, her husband entered, and then waved over another man- who turned out to be their architect, who had designed their entire campus. An architect: something we didn't have. Without saying a word, Aaron and I both were invigorated by the question we knew we were silently asking - why was he here?

We began telling them more of our story and heart behind it: that we believed marriage matters. That we felt like it was a time to step into people's lives and love them well, pointing them back towards Christ without ever mentioning his name. That we believed in living life full and showing people that a life with Jesus was meant to be immeasurably more than all that we could ask or hope. That we would be so full of His joy and love that we could then overflow into the lives of others in a positive way. And that we could help people avoid spending a fortune on their wedding, while still having a nice day and investing in what matters even more: their marriage.

They said, "Let's go upstairs", and so we followed them step by step up and into another room, hearts racing as the "meeting" became much more than that. Corks were fetched out of wine bottles. Tears were spilled. Laughter and stories were shared. We told them of our hearts and desires- our long term goals to host anniversary dinners and marriage retreats and offer premarital counseling, something that people usually didn't do unless they were a part of a church, or were getting married in a church that offered it. We told them of the name of our business and of our space: The Brim. A nod towards John 10:10 and also towards John 2:7 where the servants filled the vats "to the brim" with water before Jesus turned it into wine. The idea of a life so full and overflowing that every event, not just weddings, would hopefully be meaningful experiences in our space that left people wondering just what was behind our hope and joy.

They gave us wisdom they didn't even know we needed. Direction we had been longing and praying for. Advice that kept us from making stupid decisions. They reminded us of the importance of telling the story and letting people be a part of it with us, rather than doing it all on our own and attempting to bite off way more than we could chew- to avoid just getting it done as quickly as we could. They reminded us that "it takes what it takes, and it costs what it costs." They encouraged us to seek the Lord and to listen for his leading, taking small steps in faith along the way, and then to "jump and let the safety net appear".

When we mentioned that we didn't have anyone crafting architectural plans, and were attempting to do it all ourselves, the architect threw down his business card and told us that we had a designer now. He then proceeded to offer to design the master plan and the chapel. For free. And he did. He flew out to Kansas City, saw our property, shared a meal and heartfelt conversation with us, and dreamed our dream alongside us, while making it all a little more real. He and his beautiful fiance even came to Eli's second birthday party, and met all our friends and family. We were overjoyed. And we had a design. Our vision had become more focused, more clear, and more real. And it continues to become more and more real.

Additionally, at the end of our meeting, we walked away with a check that paid for 10 months of our mortgage on the land. The exact dollar amount that was normally charged by the owner in order to meet with him, our debt, he paid us instead. He and his wife liked our story and our hearts and they believed in us enough to write us a check, to relieve some of our debt and to give us the means to get things going. We were completely blown away, grateful, and overjoyed. And a little bit in shock. God had utterly amazed us in an unbelievable way.

I remember the drive back to town, the meal we shared, just smiling and shaking within the dim headlights of our rental car, completely in awe of the way God was working. Clearly, at this point, He was leading us and calling us to this. There was too much happening, too many big and crazy things, for this to just be coincidence or just "our" idea. At this point, we felt validated and assured. At this point, we would just be disobedient if we didn't do all we could to make this a reality.

So we went back home to KC. And we opened a business account. We deposited our first income for our little LLC. We got an address, a business phone, and an email. We made what felt like a million phone calls and spent every spare second we had pouring ourselves into this. I worked on our website. And we marched on to make The Brim a reality.

This summer, Aaron resurrected a 1951 bulldozer and started leveling out a parking lot with the help of my dad. He brought water up from the road, installed an irrigation system, put in a gravel parking lot, and planted grass seed. And he put poles in the ground in the dimensions of the future chapel, painted them white, and paved an aisle. Now we're inviting people to come and get married. This area is currently called “Founder's Square” (although we aren't set on that name), and it's a powerful space. Come and see for yourself.

There are so many other stories to tell. A million different things we've had to do, a thousand little struggles, and a thousand other glimmers of hope and excitement. Big things are happening, and we are so blessed to be along for the journey. We are excited to talk to brides, to help them have beautiful free and inexpensive weddings, beautiful receptions, and even more beautiful experiences to shape their marriage. We look forward to other special corporate and private events, like showers, parties, and more. We look forward to the fun and special events that we'll throw for families and friends alike to come join us for meaningful, unique experiences. We're hopeful that we'll see some of you there, and get to love you as best we can. But we can't do it alone. And so, that's where you come in.

Again, this would be pretty incredible end to an amazing, unbelievable story. But we know that God is not finished with this story yet. We have already seen people jumping into this adventure with us, purchasing anniversary bricks and sponsoring poles, helping us invest in marriage in our community. The story is continuing to be written as we speak.

Even if we never see you on our property for an event, we'd love for you to be a part of this story with us. Be a piece of this puzzle, a small line in the vast book that is being written by an amazing author. We believe marriage matters, and we believe you believe it too. Please visit our website, and see how you can be a part of building The Brim with us. Help us make marriage matter, and help others to live life full.



  1. Wow. What an incredible story and journey you have been on. Thank you for sharing your heart with others in this way :)

  2. Every ministry starts with a vision. It's so nice when God's hand is in it,and it all lines things up with everything falling into place.

  3. Isn't it amazing to see what God can do? What an incredible testament.

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  5. Wow, a new adventure, for sure. I love the name, The Brim, and the drawings are beautiful. Can't wait to hear how things come along for you guys! :)

  6. This story really inspires me and is awesome to share. You are helping so many others that want to make business moves as well but scared to do it.

  7. Wow what an awesome story! That piece of land looks so perfect too. Can't wait to follow along on your adventure!

  8. Such a beautiful story. I can't wait to see where this journey takes you and how the rest of your story unfolds. best of luck!


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