‘Beyond grateful:’ Couple’s professional wedding photos found after gear stolen

Chelsy Holat, Alex Holat

Chelsy Holat, Alex Holat

MILWAUKEE -- A couple's wedding photos were lost when their photographer's gear was stolen. After seven days of stress, newlyweds Chelsy and Alex Holat, are now breathing a sigh of relief.

It all started when the Holat's wedding photographer left their venue in Milwaukee on Friday night, Aug. 9 in a rental car and drove back to Madison with her cameras in the trunk. She returned the vehicle the next morning, and hours later, she realized her gear was missing.

The Holats were heartbroken.

"This is our first hardship," Alex Holat said in an interview with FOX6 News. "It's a horrible situation."

A week later, the Madison photographer -- Erica Diaz -- took to Instagram to share some great news: the photos had been found!

View this post on Instagram

Seven days. Seven days where I felt my heart and soul were being ripped apart. I am still in awe of how these images after being literally lost and then erased... were found. I wish I could tell you that during those time of desperation I was brave and strong because I wasn’t. I wish I could say that I didn’t loose hope because I did. I wish I could tell you that my faith was unshakable because it was broken... ah, but friends what I can tell you is that when I reached my lowest point... He was there. He met me there... faithless, broken, shaken and not once did He reject me, judge me or condemn me. He gently spoke words of redemption, love and mercy through my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends. He gently pulled me close to Him as I felt the tears running down my face and my heart beating so fast. He was there. - I know this situation changed me. It shook me completely out of my comfort zone and taught me things about my self that I didn’t know and now I can do something to change my journey and be better but above all it showed me the core of my heart and where my faith was and for that I am grateful. - I had never felt so carried by The Father as I did this week. I have lived through many horrible situations in life but I don’t think I had ever relied on Him as I did this week, even when I felt like I wasn’t, he was carrying me. I guess, what I’m trying to say here is: No matter how low you think you’re, how faithless and far your feel, how burdened and tired... He IS there and it is okay to feel all those feelings because HE IS BIGGER. He is stronger. He’s love for your is pure. He’s mercy for you is overflowing. He’s not tired of your faithless journey. HE IS THERE. - I just want to take a moment to thank ALL of you. Thank you for being God’s hands and words when we needed encouragement and love. Thank you for helping spread the word. THANK YOU FOR HELPING. I am beyond grateful for this community. - Alex and Chelsy, I love you guys. I will never ever forget your love through this whole thing and how much your beautiful hearts taught me. I am forever honored to have been there with you 🖤

A post shared by WEDDINGS + ELOPEMENTS (@erikadiazphoto) on

Diaz told FOX6 News, she got a call Friday afternoon, Aug. 16 from a man who said he believed he had her stolen belongings. The man stated he was at a Madison gas station on Thursday, Aug. 15 and was approached by an older gentleman with a cart full of stuff. He offered to sell the camera gear for $500.

The man purchased the items and took them home. He then realized the camera was worth a lot more than $500 and was likely stolen. The man found news articles and realized he had Diaz's stuff so he reached out and gave it to her -- including the memory cards containing the precious wedding photos.

Read Diaz's full post:

"Seven days. Seven days where I felt my heart and soul were being ripped apart. I am still in awe of how these images after being literally lost and them erased... were found. I wish I could tell you that during those time of desperation I was brave and strong because I wasn’t. I wish I could say that I didn’t loose hope because I did. I wish I could tell you that my faith was unshakable because it was broken... ah, but friends what I can tell you is that when I reached my lowest point... He was there. He met me there... faithless, broken, shaken and not once did He reject me, judge me or condemn me. He gently spoke words of redemption, love and mercy through my husband, my daughter, my family and my friends. He gently pulled me close to Him as I felt the tears running down my face and my heart beating so fast. He was there. -

I know this situation changed me. It shook me completely out of my comfort zone and taught me things about my self that I didn’t know and now I can do something to change my journey and be better but above all it showed me the core of my heart and where my faith was and for that I am grateful. -
I had never felt so carried by The Father as I did this week. I have lived through many horrible situations in life but I don’t think I had ever relied on Him as I did this week, even when I felt like I wasn’t, he was carrying me. I guess, what I’m trying to say here is: No matter how low you think you’re, how faithless and far your feel, how burdened and tired... He IS there and it is okay to feel all those feelings because HE IS BIGGER. He is stronger. He’s love for your is pure. He’s mercy for you is overflowing. He’s not tired of your faithless journey. HE IS THERE. -

I just want to take a moment to thank ALL of you. Thank you for being God’s hands and words when we needed encouragement and love. Thank you for helping spread the word. THANK YOU FOR HELPING. I am beyond grateful for this community. -

Alex and Chelsy, I love you guys. I will never ever forget your love through this whole thing and how much your beautiful hearts taught me. I am forever honored to have been there with you"

If anyone donated to the photographer's GoFundMe, Diaz says she is working on refunding the money.

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