Honest Love

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[Pastor Bill Schlonecker and Mindy Ferraioli were recently united in marriage by Bill’s brother, Pastor Dave Schlonecker, at the BFC of Newark, DE. Having lost their respective spouses within three weeks of each other nearly five years ago, the Lord’s perfect plan included leading them together in the last year. These comments to his and Mindy’s families were shared by Pastor Bill at the ceremony. They reflect an honest acknowledgement of the ongoing loss amid the joy of a new relationship.]

My Personal Comments for the Wedding Ceremony . . .

Mindy and I are deeply grateful for your presence with us today … a day that carries a myriad of emotions. We are mindful of God’s faithfulness to us as individuals and families. Jeremiah wrote, The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Indeed, Mindy and I have experienced God’s steadfast love, mercies, and faithfulness in our wonderful marriages­—my 42 years with my beloved Pat and Mindy’s 34 years with her beloved Steve. That love will always remain in our hearts even as we begin a new journey of love together. I am who I am today and Mindy is who she is today in large part through the love we have shared together with our spouses. In one sense, we bring them with us into our new union by their precious memory and influence upon us. We were blessed to have experienced such deep love for many years.

Neither of us expected to be widowed when we were; each of us were shocked at the sudden loss of our spouse. Both of us expected to grow old with our spouse … indeed til death do us part … yet thinking that death would be in a ripe old age. While we would have never chosen this path, it was chosen for us. We have experienced the loneliness of grief’s journey as well as the steadfast love of an altogether good and gracious God. We had many praying for us independently, seeking God’s favor on our behalf. In God’s grace and timing, He led us together through our friend and colleague, Pastor Dan Allen. To have wonderful love once is a blessing for sure. For God to open our hearts to love again is an immeasurable blessing. We stand here before God today, doubly blessed!

At the same time, we are deeply mindful of the loss and void that you, our dear children, continue to experience without your beloved Dad and Mom with you as you thought they would be. You and your spouses have walked the deep grief journey together. So, Mindy and I want to express our deep gratitude for your loving support through the dark days of our journey … and then as you witnessed your Dad and Mom begin a new relationship and watched that relationship develop … and arrive at this threshold today.

We are absolutely convinced that our gracious God has led us together. We will always honor the memory of your beloved Dad and Mom … and be sensitive to the challenges that will inevitably arise as we learn to navigate a new experience for all of us. We are deeply united in our commitments to our families – you children, your spouses, and our precious grandchildren. Our marriage will not ever change or waver that commitment. We pray that the expanding of these familial relationships – me in the Ferraioli family and Mindy in the Schlonecker family … along with our children and grandchildren – will become a source of blessing as we get to know one another better in the days, months, and years to come.

We ask for your grace, patience, and understanding as we adjust to a new life together. We are grateful to God … and to each of you, our dear family members and friends.

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