Just when you think some things aren’t going to happen, they do.
For a long time I have been struggling to trust that the Lord knows what is best for me and my plans are super insignificant compared to His. Lately I have been ridiculously worried about my future, what it holds, and with that worry comes the fear that God won’t provide for me.
Let me stop right there. Just because God doesn’t provide what you want in the moment doesn’t mean He’s not providing for you at all. In reality, He is saying no to you because He has something even better in store. And I think we would all want to say yes to that.
I remember two years ago first talking to Joe about getting engaged, and I think that was the first time we seriously started to consider it. Although it was way too early for us, I wanted him to be mine forever and I was blinded from the idea that waiting could bring more joy and satisfaction than I ever could have imagined. I just wanted it right there, right now.
Last year I was incredibly discouraged to find that over sixty of my friends either became engaged or got married. Yep, you read that right. SIXTY. I think for me the hardest part was knowing that I had known Joe for eight years and we still were nowhere close to committing our lives to one another. My inner parts screamed within me if he’s not going to ask now, he won’t ever do it!
Boy was I wrong.
Looking back, I honestly could not be more thankful that on July 10th, 2015 we did NOT get engaged. It would have brought a lot of heartbreak, terribly derailing conversations, and if I’m being frank we probably would not have gotten married at all. We still had loads to talk about and discuss, and at the time our relationship was not centered on the Lord (even though we thought it was).
Those following two years were marked with difficult talks, late nights, many tears, but most of all patience, communication, and love. We learned how to speak to one another in ways that were not demeaning, that got our points across in ways that were not easily misunderstood, and we learned how to clarify points if something happened. Now, I’m not saying we are perfect at this now, but we have come a long way in the past 730 days.
Those following two years were also filled with the most grace I have seen God give me in a very long time. Joseph and I struggled to work through our differences, but somehow we did it. We had many disagreements, but God helped us see each other’s lights. We had to make decisions that we were terrified to make, but God led us in the right direction and was with us every step of the way. We prayed for one another separately and together. But still nothing happened.
About a month ago Joseph informed me that for my graduation present, he was giving me a photo shoot for graduation, professional head shots (since after five years I seemed to have none) and couples’ shots. It had been a dream of mine for years to have them done for us, however we could never find the right person to help or time to do it.
On May 12th, 2017 Joe picked me up at my house to take me to Franklin Park Conservatory. We had looked at this place as a possible wedding venue two years ago, but it hadn’t really begun to sink in. I was incredibly excited to finally get a chance to take professional pictures with Joe, but I was afraid they may look like engagement photos, and that was a seriously touchy subject in my life right then.
As the night went on, our photographer Susanna was doing a wonderful job. Joe and I took some intimate photos around the outskirts of the park and happened upon a wooden bridge. We took some shots there and left, with my heart secretly discouraged that he hadn’t taken advantage of the incredibly cute opportunity to propose there. I was still happy that we were getting good pictures done, but still. Kinda sad.
Leaving in the direction of the car, we walked through the U-shaped white gazebo in front of the main Palm House (if you have been to Franklin Park you know what I’m talking about). Everything seemed to be going fine and my spirits were slightly elevated; I felt much better than five minutes prior. Then Susanna did something suspicious: she positioned me to have me turn around. She pulled my hand behind my back and put it in Joe’s as I felt him lower to the ground.
The rest, my friends, is history.
P.S.: All my friends were right. They were just 7 years too early.