Sunday, January 5, 2014

All is Well

Sometimes I feel like single ladies out there are heaving a sigh of relief when they see that I'm finally getting married. "If Debbie is getting married, maybe there's hope for me, too." And sometimes I feel like there's a bit of, "Why her...and not me?"

I only say that because, in my experience, I've been on both ends of the spectrum. I remember when a cool, older (but still young-ish) lady who had discipled me for a bit got engaged past the "normal" engagement years...feeling like there was a lot of hope for me. That maybe I didn't have to get married when I was 22 or 23 and life could still be good (even though, at that time in my naivety, part of me had felt sad that she had been single for so long). I also have been in a place, especially around Christmas when it seems like everyone and their mom is announcing engagements or babies or actually tying the knot, that my cynical heart couldn't bear to rejoice with one more person. Those were the moments that I felt like the entire world was passing me by and I wondered if I was ever going to get my turn. 

I'm 29 now. While many friends my age are having baby number 1 or 2 (sometimes even 3!), I'm finally getting married. I remember in high school and college placing bets with my female friends on who we thought would get married first, or the order in which we would 'go'. I was never picked for last... but, here I am...practically last. 

My oldest brother wrote me yesterday and said: 
You've waited a long time - and now you know why.  God's always had [this man] in mind for you, and He had you in mind for [this man].  Just took longer than maybe you would have wanted. But all is well.
All is well, indeed. 
All is perfectly well.
Better than I could have ever anticipated. Take heart, my friends...and keep doing what you are meant to do during this season. Do it wholeheartedly. Do it fully. And be someone who can always rejoice with others during their time of blessing, even when they are getting the very things that you long for. We must trust that the Lord knows what He is doing in all of it, that He is truly a good God (even in our times of deepest agony, loneliness, confusion, jealousy). 

I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself...I haven't even told you about the proposal yet. So, here's Part 2 of this crazy story: 

After a week with his family, we came to hang out with my family for a week. He had been insistent on taking me out for a fancy date while we were in my hometown. There was some speculation around the event (like, why take me out for a date in a place you've never been...why wouldn't we do a fancy date in your hometown??)...but I decided to go with it. After conversations with my mom, I was convinced that he had not brought up the topic of marriage with them again (since that ridiculous phone call) prior to our date, so my expectations were low. 

It was a beautiful Saturday, even somewhat warm-ish. The frost had melted, the skies were clear. He spent a few hours that morning helping my dad outside on some stuff while I helped my mom with a few things and leisurely got ready to go. And off we went.. a late lunch/early dinner (brinner, if you will?) to Les Bourgeois Vineyards, a beautiful place to dine and get an incredible bluff-top view of the Missouri River Valley. We ate, we took pictures of ourselves with the view behind us, we walked around a bit, we bought a bottle of wine as a thank you to my parents. And then we headed home.

I'm kind of a sunset fiend, and was anxious about missing the sunset on our drive home. He assured me that we could watch it when we got back to my house. As soon as we arrived, he walked me down into the backyard and as soon as we turned the corner, I saw a set-up that was quite unusual. Tiki torches, lights, a bonfire, a little table set-up with music, a card and some wine. Could this be what I think it might be?
I got excited about the sun was after a few pictures, he led me over to the table and handed me a card. I opened the wax seal and began to try to read what was written (although I must confess it was hard to focus when I was unsure about everything that was happening). He had written some beautiful words about wanting to spend forever with me, about wanting to spend our lives together glorifying the Lord in all we do. At the the bottom was written, "Turn Over". The moment I did, he was down on one knee.

"Absolutely. Yes, of course I will marry you!"

We hugged, we kissed, we laughed, we cried, we watched the sunset together...blown away by what a perfect day it was.

The Lord is so good, was the whisper on our lips.

Several minutes later (one can't be sure how many), a friend of ours popped up out of the woods with his camera in hand. Stunned, partially because I think of him as a Texas friend and partially because it's weird to see people suddenly emerge from the woods, we engulfed him in hugs. With his family in Kansas City for the holidays, he had offered to drive the two hours to come take pictures of our special day. It was perfect...and he took some incredible pictures!

Once the sun had completely set, we headed back inside to join up with my family. At this point he had told me that from the very first phone call to my family (two weeks into our relationship) he had told my mom about his plan to propose by the pond at sunset when we were home for Christmas. He told me about how my brother and sister-in-law had helped with the set-up, how my dad had gotten the bonfire ready...about how almost everyone I knew had been in on the secret...for a long time. I was astounded. Not only did this man love me so deeply, but he had been planning and preparing for almost our entire relationship (yes, the not even three months of it)...and he had invited my family to be such an important part of this day.

More of my immediate family was waiting for me, a few hours earlier than I had anticipated. Only one brother and sister-in-law couldn't be there for the occasion! Less than an hour later, my parent's house was filled with more friends to celebrate the occasion- high school friends, college friends, family friends. We got to share with them the story of our relationship, the proposal, they got to ask him questions (since many of them were meeting him for the first time). It was intimate, personal, deep and so wonderful to have them there on such a momentous occasion in my life.

And that's the story.
He's fit into my family better than I ever could have imagined, and they have embraced him with open arms. I'm thrilled to journey through life with him by my side, but am still aware that it doesn't make any of my problems go away. He doesn't save me, but constantly points me back toward the One that does. I love that. 

I want to urge you to never give up hope, to never lose sight of the things that matter, to never stop living for more than the temporary, than the earthly satisfactions. To never stop pursuing the Lord, to never stop trusting in His timing and His ultimate goodness. Your story is different than mine...and your love story will also be different. Let it be different. Let's not compare. Maybe it will be years before you meet the person you'll spend the rest of your life with, maybe it'll be tomorrow, maybe it'll never happen.

Trust that, in the end, all is well.
The Lord is sovereign.
He is good. His plan is perfect...even when we doubt it. 
Let's live our lives accordingly...even when He blesses us with abundantly more than we could possibly deserve and even when we feel cheated out of things in this life. 

Because He has given us a truer love in Jesus Christ than we can ever find in our earthly relationships. He has given us eternal life. He has died so that we might live. He has already given us abundantly more than we could possible deserve. 

All is well, indeed. 
Let's trust that it is so.
Thanking the Lord for an earthly love that I did nothing to deserve...and praying that we might be reflections of the love of the Father in every possible way.  

Thanks for rejoicing with me.
For loving me so well.
I am truly blessed.

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  1. Re: Your description of the spectrum of feelings before finding The One:

    Yes. This. And in my case, I haven't dated, period (and not for a lack of trying), and now I'm watching kids, whose diapers I once changed while babysitting them, entering serious relationships and even getting married. Oh, yes, that's the spectrum, right there. :)

    But all the same, I'm truly happy for you. Major congrats. :)

  2. You're so great. I love being able to celebrate this time with you, be it from a distance. Thanks for sharing, really. So happy for you two!