Chris and Emily Norton’s wedding was watched by millions of people. An image of them walking down the aisle together became PEOPLE Magazine’s best performing Instagram post. They captured people’s hearts around the world in an inspiring moment showing that true love overcomes any obstacle.
Chris was paralyzed from the neck down from a football injury during his first year of college. Doctors said he’d never walk again, but Chris beat the odds, walking across the platform in an inspiring moment receiving his college degree.
Emily and Chris met in college after his accident. During their engagement they were determined to walk down the aisle together. Chris left his wheelchair behind and step by step with Emily they walked up to the altar. It was an endearing moment that still has many people in awe.
But what many don’t know, is that before this timeless photo, Emily was battling depression. Not knowing what to do, where to turn or how to address her emotions, it looked like a losing battle to her.
She said, “I did all the wrong things for way too long. I tried doing it myself, which did not work at all…I did not think I was going to get out of it…I felt like I was gone and that I was never going to be me again.”
Emily says, “I lost my faith completely. Going through this time I really went away from God and I think the reason is because I did not want to be vulnerable and face what was happening. And when I went to God and prayed, that vulnerability came out.”
But then God intervened! Emily attended a church service where she heard a message stating how people go through hard times because God wants to get our attention and then completely depend on Him through it.
Jonathon Seidle of The Courage wrote, “Emily said, “I was like, ‘Uh oh, that is me. I have to learn this lesson,’” she explained. She was able to give her struggle to God and that’s when he showed her exactly what she needed to do: admit her weakness and seek help from people he had put in place to do that. And what that was, was making an appointment with a mental health therapist and I was put on medication and everything turned around within a few weeks.”
She continued saying, “After, I was like, ‘Man, I should have done this way sooner!’ But I had to learn to depend on God…You can’t put the weight of what’s out of your control on your own shoulders. You got to give it to him and get to work doing what your part is.”
Emily has written her story of her life with Chris, but also of battling depression, losing her faith and how God intervened bringing healing. Her book The Seven Longest Yards was recently published. Her husband Chris was named one of, “The Hottest Keynote Speakers for 2018,” and together they’ve fostered 11 children in their home.
Listen to Author Emily Norton’s podcast interview with The Courage: