That weekend at Tall Timber in 1994 was magical. I went just hoping for some fun and relaxation, never expecting to come home with such peace and joy in my heart. On Saturday of that weekend everyone was setting out to ski up to White River Falls, about a 3 mile trip. I had not planned to ski but was persuaded to join by the rest. Reluctant, because of my apprehension of falling down and looking foolish, I became even more nervous when I realized everyone had headed up the hill with out me. Everyone except...
Yes, that's right. The shaggy-blond nice guy had hung back and waited for me! Even after I had told him I was allergic to men!! Great. Now I had to worry about making intelligent conversation as well as staying upright! Yet we hadn't gone very far before I realized the conversation was actually flowing pretty easily between us. I had let down my guard and pretty soon we were laughing and having a great time! I fell once and landed pretty hard on my side. It's not easy to get back up when you are on skies and it's not easy to help someone else get up when you are skies either. So pretty much all he could do was offer encouragement as I struggled to my feet. I think the confidence in his voice was what did it. He believed I could and so, I did.
By the time we'd made it to the waterfalls I knew I'd made a friend for life. By the time the weekend was over I knew I was going to marry him. Yes, marry him! It wasn't love at first sight-- it was just a very, very strong inkling that our future was to be together.
Wrapped up in the thawing of my heart towards this very nice man was the healing that God was doing through His Word. That line out of the 23rd Psalm, He restores my soul, was still bouncing around inside me. As I pondered that line I became aware of God really speaking to me. It felt like that scripture verse was reverberating in the deepest of my being. God was speaking to me directly. God was telling me He would restore all my broken places, I just needed to give Him all the pieces.
It was the beginning of a beautiful healing process that has continued all this time. I was falling in love with Jesus in a way that was new to me. I find it fascinating that my relationship with Jesus was developing in a deeper way at the same time that a new relationship was being forged with the man who eventually would become my partner for life.
After we returned home from the weekend some surreptitious planning on my part found us carpooling to church volleyball together and from there our first date (will save that for another post) took place. We dated for 2 years... and I was ready and waiting for us to take things to the next level!!
So.... TWO years... almost to the day, we were back at Tall Timber for another snow retreat with the church youth group. Another trek to the waterfall on skis was planned for Saturday afternoon. I was hoping this would be the setting for the question I had been longing for for some time... we'd recently moved from the If we get married stage of conversation to the When we get married, and I almost didn't go with the group to ski because I was so afraid it wouldn't happen and I wasn't sure I could gracefully handle the disappointment if he didn't propose...
|a friend snapped this photo and then discreetly disappeared... moments before he popped the question...|
But I wasn't disappointed. When we at last found ourselves alone, with just the sound of the mighty White River roaring over the rocks behind us, he knelt in the snow before me and produced a sweet little teddy bear from his backpack. When I saw the zipper in the tummy of the bear I knew... but when he pulled the ring out and offered it to me, then the tears of happiness began to flow.
God started something powerful that first weekend in 1994 and in 1996 He brought us another step closer to becoming the couple He intended us to be. Now, here we are 19 years later since that first weekend at camp, 17 years since he asked me to marry him.
it's been a wild, wacky, wonderful adventure together with only more wild wacky wonderful to come. Happy Engage-versary sweetheart!