A few folks have been asking about my "engagement story" and what bride-to-be doesn't love to tell the engagement story?! Well if you want the whole story, mine starts in a bit of strange place.
"So Peninnah would taunt Hannah and make fun of her because the Lord had kept her from having children. Year after year it was the same—Peninnah would taunt Hannah as they went to the Tabernacle. Each time, Hannah would be reduced to tears and would not even eat.
(responding to Eli, Hannah said) But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.”
1 Samuel 1:6-7 and 15
I read this almost three weeks ago on a Tuesday night.
The following Saturday, the man that I love asked me to marry him.
And I said yes.
Ha! Well I'm not pregnant, so here's how that story fits into mine.
A few weeks ago I was reading this Scripture when it hit me: It's okay to really, really want something!
In an over-indulgent society, we constantly hear:
"Count your blessings."
"Be happy with what you have."
"Those people believe they are entitled to everything. Don't be like them."
All of that is great advice, but when you really want the man you love to put a ring on it, those phrases are there but its quite difficult for them to make it to the surface. So for weeks I had been praying that when it was the Lord's will, JD would ask me to marry him. And for weeks (okay, months) I thought to myself, "Trust in the Lord's timing. Just be patient." But that was getting kind of old! To deal with it, I convinced myself to be content. That only worked sometimes, ha!
So when I read 1 Samuel 1, it reminded me that it's okay to want things sometimes. It was okay for Hannah to cry and be upset that she didn't have children. Her husband said, "Isn't it enough that you have me?" And while he was a blessing, she wanted something more. It was okay for her pray with great anguish and sorrow. It was okay for me to really, really want JD to ask me to marry him.
I shared this Scripture and my "revelation" to him and he gently laughed and said that he agreed. Getting married was something that he really wanted too and he had been working on a plan for a while. So we prayed for my heart to be patient and his plans to hurry on up! (Okay. That last part was just my prayer.) But little did I know- they were.
That Friday, my sister and brother-in-law came in town to participate with JD in a duathlon. The next morning, we got up at the crack of dawn to get downtown for the duathlon. It was before 8 am when they finished, but instead of JD looking exhilarated after finishing his first duathlon, he wouldn't even smile at me! I kept trying to cheer him up but eventually gave up. He wanted to pout, then let him! I had gotten up at 5:30 on a Saturday to watch him and he wasn't even in a good mood! (No. I never struggle with holding grudges. Ha!)
A few showers (for the stinky duathlon people) and hours later, JD's brother came into town. JD and Andrew sat on the back porch all day and really didn't say much to me. I figured they were letting Megan and I have sister time while they had brother time. So Mom, Megan and I went off to get our nails done, because that's what girls do when they are together :).
Sitting at the nail salon, I told mom that I thought JD would propose soon and she told me to shut up! She said I shouldn't talk about it! A little burned, I just let it go. Apparently no one was on my side that day!
When we were driving back, knowing that dinner was in an hour, I joked with Mom and Megs that the chances of the boys being ready for dinner were slim to none. Then we pulled in the driveway.
At the top of the driveway were four clean-shaven, nicely dressed men!
As I got out of the car with half my make up, running shorts and a Columbia fishing shirt on, JD told me how much he loved me, got down on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. I had to throw my coke and my purse down in the bushes, then I said yes and he showed me the prettiest ring I had ever seen! Then I changed and we all went out to dinner with some friends, interrupted the entire time by excited calls to family members!
Little did I know, JD had bought a ring a weeks before and had it shipped to his brother Andrew in Baton Rouge. Poor JD- the shipping got delayed, then they wouldn't deliver it to Andrew unless he was home from work to get it. The day he stayed home, they didn't show up. That Saturday morning, JD and Andrew spent all day on the phone, with Andrew knocking down UPS Baton Rouge's door so that he could get the ring! No wonder he had been so grumpy that morning!
Next month would have been our two and a half year anniversary of dating. The first year that we were dating brought great challenges with the divorces of close friends and relatives, huge life changes as I jumped from college into a full time career, and great blessings with the marriage of my sister and strong reminders that the Lord is the only constant in our lives, that His love never fails. The second year brought us many adjustments. Marriage had become a real possibility but it had never been in my life plans, so learning to change where I thought my life was going was sometimes hard. I learned how to cook (not well) and how to sew (also not well-and not fun) while JD changed jobs. We grew together and continued to enjoy the Lord's blessing of having one another. With the wisdom and help from parents, friends and Brenda Davis, we knew that marriage was where God was leading us. After that, it was all waiting on my part and hard decisions on his part.
It was crying because he hadn't asked yet on some days and laughing on others because I was just so happy to have him around. But all through, God never let me far from His sight and listened patiently when I was out of patience.
So now, we celebrate! I've picked out a dress and a date. We've started combing through floral arrangements and decided that we don't really care what flowers are there as long as they are pretty. We've decided to have tacos at the reception (classy, right?) and to exchange his couch for two reading chairs. We're slowly but surely getting used to calling each other fiance and fiancee (yes, there is a difference).
"And she made this vow: "O Lord of Heaven's Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut.
I am the woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life. And they worshiped the Lord there."
1 Samuel 1:11 and 26-28
So that's our prayer- that our marriage will belong to the Lord our whole lives. JD will have to keep getting hair cuts, but hopefully people will see that we belong to the Lord in other ways.