I can’t share where the Lord has brought us without first sharing what He’s brought us through. The journey that led us to this moment was a long one.
Chris and I are in our early thirties and neither of us expected or desired the prolonged singleness the Lord had planned for us. We are both well-acquainted with the emotions in watching our friends date, marry and start families, while wondering if it would ever be our turn. We’ve also both experienced the pain from dashed dreams, but have also keenly felt the strength of the Lord see us through those times.
The years passed and life kept moving on…me in Huntsville, Chris in Jacksonville…not knowing that only 9 hours separated us from each other. We both settled into what seemed like God’s Plan B, not what we imagined or desired, but good lives, full of family, friends, ministry and love.
Then February 8, 2013 came.
An email from eHarmony changed everything: “Meet your new match, Chris, from Jacksonville, FL.”
The minute I saw his picture and read his profile, I knew this could be different. He could be different.
Over the following days and weeks, we developed a deep friendship, sharing and talking about everything from theology to Swiss Cake Rolls. Every day, as I read his emails, I was awed at how much we had in common. I was awed at the man he is and is becoming.
On February 25, after just two weeks of emailing, the Lord very clearly spoke to me and told me to “relax and enjoy- Chris is the one.” The Lord reminded me of Ephesians 3:20, which He had actually used in my life EXACTLY a year earlier- “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”
As I had already seen in just the first few weeks and have certainly seen daily since February 8, Chris IS immeasurably more than I ever prayed for and certainly more than I ever imagined. I never expected such a deep, gentle, strong, funny, romantic, intelligent, pure, spiritually-focused man.
On March 10, Chris asked if he could call me and I wasted no time to reply “YES!” We talked for hours that night and Skyped for the first time a few days later. After all our emails (over 58,000 words between us!), phone calls and Skype chats, I wasn’t surprised at all when, on March 18, during one of our Skype chats, something clicked for me. I knew without a doubt that I loved Chris…that he was the man I had been praying for and crying for and longing for since I was 13 years old.
But it would be weeks before I would tell him. First, we had to actually meet!
That first face-to-face meeting happened March 29, in Savannah, GA. I was there with my friends and Chris drove up for the day. Even though our friendship was well-developed at this point and I knew I loved him, I was very nervous and eager to see how we would be in person. It took just about 3 minutes for us to find our groove and we proceeded to have the most enchanting, exciting and romantic 16 hours of our lives (up to that point!).
We spent the day strolling around beautiful Savannah, not a care in the world. It was amazing to realize that the connection we felt long-distance was greatly enhanced in person. We enjoy doing everything and nothing together. Chris and I have this fantastic combination of a friendship mixed with a deep spiritual connection, spiced up with romance…it’s the perfect recipe!
Savannah will always hold a special place in our hearts because that’s where our friendship blossomed into a romance. That evening in Savannah, Chris held my hand for the first time. It felt like home.
Two weeks after Savannah on April 11, Chris came to Huntsville for the first time to meet my family, which couldn’t have gone any better. It was during that weekend that we talked specifically about marriage for the first time. It felt like a dream.
We met for the day in Macon two weeks later, promising each other not to let more than two weeks go without seeing each other.
Then May 9, 2013 came.
Everyone thought I was headed to Jacksonville to meet Chris’ family, but I actually just drove to Birmingham to pick him up from the airport! Chris had told me right after his first Huntsville visit that he wanted to ask my dad for my hand in marriage so we had secretly been planning his flight to Huntsville, excited to surprise my family!
We showed up to my mom’s work and she was shocked to see us! We had to assure her we hadn’t eloped! Next, it was time to surprise my dad and to say he was surprised would be an understatement! I’ve never seen him so flabbergasted! After we all visited for a while, my mom and I stepped outside, so Chris could have some time alone with my dad.
I knew my mom would want time with Chris after he spoke with my dad, so I walked home alone in a daze, realizing what a momentous event was taking place.
The afternoon was very emotional for all of us… for Chris as he asked for my hand…for Daddy as he gave his blessing…for Moma as she hugged her son…for me as the man I love told me he loved me for the first time.
After our family dinner, which was very joyous, Chris and I headed to watch the sunset at one of our favorite spots we had discovered on his last visit- the scenic overlook on Monte Sano.
As we were slow dancing to the music in our hearts, Chris said,
“Only two things could make this evening better…if I could kiss you…and guess what the other thing is?”
My coy guess… “A beautiful sunset?”
As he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box, “How about this?”
Then, the most incredible man I’ve ever known, the man who the Lord hand-picked for me before the foundation of the world, the man who I’m madly, deeply in love with, knelt on one knee and said,
“Will you marry me?”
Without hesitation I replied, “It is the greatest privilege of my life to say yes…”
Then Chris gently placed my beautiful engagement ring, which he designed as a surprise for me, on my finger.
We then shared our first kiss…not only our first kiss together, but both of our first kisses. I have guarded my first kiss, looking forward to giving it to the man I would marry, but I never expected to receive such a gift in return from him.
The next hour was the sweetest of our lives…overwhelmed with the Lord’s goodness in bringing us together, making us so perfectly suited for one another and excited at the prospect of beginning our lives together as husband and wife.
Walking into my parents’ home with our big news was thrilling! There was a lot of screaming, jumping, crying and hugging! We also drove across town to tell our good friends and made phone calls to those we couldn’t see in person. It was all like a dream! The evening couldn’t have been more perfect or ideal.
I’m not sure how either of us slept that night but we hit the road bright and early the next morning (as fiancés!) for my first visit to Jacksonville.
I’ve loved being in Chris’ world with his family this week! They’ve welcomed me with open arms and I can’t wait to continue to build my relationship with my new family.
According to the calendar, our romance is somewhat of a whirlwind, but I can barely remember a day without Chris in it. The Lord has beautifully orchestrated our romance and journey thus far and Chris and I have no doubt He’ll continue to lead and guide us as we begin this new stage in life.
The Lord has surely made everything beautiful in HIS time!