After meeting through mutual friends, wheelchair-bound couple Perneita Farrar and Troy Fitzgerald found true love and acceptance in each other. The best friends got engaged just eight months after dating, and they recently tied the knot at the University of Maryland Chapel.
Farrar was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 26. She was shocked and devastated by the news. For many years, she only had flare ups of inflammation and begun taking steroids and adjusted to the fatigue. Then, five years after her diagnosis, Lupus attacked her spine and her vital organs began to shut down. She suffered through 17 surgeries, 12 of which were emergency procedures.
Mom to 22-year-old son Brian, Farrar was only 31 and had just earned her bachelors degree when the disease crippled her body. It tested her faith. “A lot of my friends were getting married and having babies,” she says. “I’d been a bridesmaid a couple of times. I figured those things would never happen to me.”
"Even in the midst of trouble, God still had control," says Farrar. "I held on to that." She met her future husband through mutual friends who insisted the pair reconnect after meeting in passing at a friend's wedding years before.
Farrar puts the finishing touchs on her wedding day look. Wasn't she a beautful bride?
Farrar began preparing her body to make it down the aisle the minute she and Fitzgerald became engaged. On her big day, her father held her up on the left side, and her son Brian held on tightly to her right arm.
“When I redeveloped my relationship with God, I was still feeling pretty hopeless,” Farrar admits. “But I started reading my Bible again, and was very much able to relate to the story of Job. In the midst of all his troubles, he saw that God still had the control. God had the outcome already mapped out, even though everyone around Job was saying this is bad; this is the worst of the worst. Job stayed faithful.”
“I feel like I’ve blossomed,” says Farrar of her life since meeting Fitzgerald. “I’m able to live freely without looking in the mirror and thinking I’m not entitled to be happy.”
Looking back at the tough times in her life before meeting Fitzgerald, Farrar gives all glory to God: “Now I believe it was divinely orchestrated. If I had been able to lean on any one person, or if someone came to rescue me … I believe God isolated me to the point that I could only rely on him, so that only he could get glory. My testimony was by his design. God provided everything so that I didn’t need to depend on people.”
Farrar and Fitzgerald pose with their bridal party outside of the church. What a glorious day. To read more of their beautiful and inspiring story, check out the December issue of ESSENCE now. In the meantime, leave your well wishes for the happy couple below.