Monday, April 7, 2008

The Rest of the Story - or is it Just the Beginning?

If you haven't read the first part of my story, look down a couple posts to get caught up. . . .

We all stayed with Mrs. Langston for a little while, talking a bit. I was ready to leave and soon Mrs. Langston seemed tired as well so we packed up the cat and left. John had rented a car in Birmingham after flying down, so I went with him while dad took my car home. We sat there in the nursing home parking lot for a while just enjoying being together and trying to decide where to go next. The rain was light but steady, but John told me he wanted us to go to Fort Toulouse. That sounded like a great place to me, but we needed to wait until the rain cleared up some more. So, we finally just drove to Mrs. Langston's house and had a little ice cream while I showed John my photo album from my college days (something I had been wanting to do for a couple months). John was interested, but seemed slightly distracted as he looked at the pictures. I must admit that though I was having fun looking at and explaining the pictures, I was eager to see what would come next. Eventually I cleaned up a little (I had cat hair all over me and crazy hair from being rained on earlier that day at the workday) and we left for Fort Toulouse.

When we got there, it was just barely misting and there was almost no one else in the park. John parked the car and we took out our cameras. I also noticed that John took his Bible in a plastic bag and was curious to see what he would eventually read from it. Our plan was to walk down to the point which is less than a mile. We had been here three weeks earlier during the camping trip and had enjoyed walking to the point with many of our friends and family (see picture). That day had been sunny and filled with many conversations and children.

This day was different. Due to the rain, we were the only ones on the trail. Last time we walked with the group talking with various people, this time we walked hand in hand talking with each other. The sun tried to come out a little, but the rain was threatening. The moss hanging down from the trees seemed longer - due we supposed to the amount of rain that had fallen that day. Eventually we got close to the point and found that it was flooded! So we went back up to that grassy area at the point before the trail enters the woods. There was a little bench there, just perfect for a couple to sit on. John's plastic bag came in handy as we set it on the bench and sat down. A couple guys were fishing near the point just below us, so we talked a little as they made there way away from us up the river.

Soon John reached for his Bible and told me that when a guy finds a girl like the Proverbs 31 woman, he just can't ignore it. He told me that he would like to read Proverbs 31 to me. So in a strong and deliberate voice, John read the proverb. Then he told me that I am like that woman in so many ways and proceeded to go through the verses one by one to describe how he saw me in the description of that woman! I have never been so praised, and felt John's love in how he described me in such an uplifting way. Some of his descriptions touched me, and others made me laugh! He told me that it was a good thing that I was like the woman who "When it snows, she has no fear for her household" since he lived in Ohio! He also said that since I get up to run in the mornings while it's dark, I'm like her since "she gets up while it is still dark;" He told me that I'm not quite like her since she's a "wife of noble character," but that he could help me with that wife part! I just soaked in his compliments, knowing that I don't measure up to that woman, but amazed that he sees me that way and desired to indeed be like the Proverbs 31 woman myself in the days and years to come.

After he finished the Proverb again, he prayed for us. John prayed so thoughtfully and with care for our future - that God would bless us and guide us and so much more! I wish I could remember it all. There were two of us there praying in the name of Jesus so I know that He was there with us. John's prayer was just perfect - I didn't know what we should be praying for, but he prayed for exactly what I knew we needed of God.

After praying, we got up and John said that we needed to find a spot on the ground that wasn't very muddy. In somewhat of a daze, I followed him to a spot where he knelt down and asked if I would be his wife! Of course I did say yes! He then presented me with a beautiful ring. The ring is so pretty and exactly perfect! I am so pleased with it, especially because John picked it out himself specifically for me! How amazing it is to have someone who loves me in so many ways! I was just amazed at this day, still in disbelief that John was actually here and then unable to process that this was actually happening. I, Miriam was actually now engaged to marry John!

I never really thought that I would marry anyone, much less a wonderful, godly man like John. How amazing God is to bring us together at this time in our lives. We were many states away and yet God saw fit to allow us to meet online and to develop a friendship that will now join two lives and indeed two families together forever. God has provided me with a romantic guy who took great delight in thinking up and planning an amazing proposal just for me. I feel completely unworthy of his love and hope to somehow love him as much as he loves me. God is love, so I trust that God will continue to make our love grow toward each other as we continue to love and follow God.

I guess I better get back to our story. Some of you may find it amazing that at this time we did not kiss. I know this is not the decision of most couples, but we are endeavoring to save that first kiss for our wedding day. I just can't wait until that time comes! Right now we're thinking we will marry either August 30th or September 6th (of this year!). We took a picture using the camera's timer and then headed back to the car. By this time it was beginning to get dark and we were hungry. After a lovely dinner at Casa Napoli's in Wetumpka, we headed back to my parents home taking the time to call a few of our family and friends on the way. It was exciting to talk and share the good news, but soon we had to call it a night. John had been up since 3:45 AM and was tired having been planning this all week long.

After talking with my family for a little while, I drove home still in amazement at what had just taken place. I knew I wanted to journal immediately so I wouldn't forget any part of this special day. After midnight I knew I had to get some sleep and so the day ended with a very happy girl looking at her ring and knowing that a very special guy named John loved her!

The story is obviously not close to being over as it's the beginning of something brand new! The next day at church was filled with excitement as I "glowed" according to many there and just could stop smiling as I told of what had occurred the day before. Monday was no different as I repeated the story to many amazed coworkers who had no idea that I was even dating anyone. I enjoyed the reactions of so many: from the young boy at church who said "I knew he would ask you" in a very deadpan voice indicating that it was really no big deal, to another young boy who told me that his little brother almost bought a ring like that for his girl friend, but didn't since it cost five dollars, to a guy at work who told me that he's never been so surprised at anything in all of his life, to the excited comments of so many of the girls at work and church, to the quite congratulations of the guys. It is indeed a wonderful thing to be able to share my joy with so many friends! I created an uproar in our 8am meeting. As the meeting begin, Kayce wrote a note to Connie telling her that "Miriam got engaged this weekend!" I walked into that meeting right after Connie read the note and realized immediately from her shocked expression that Connie already knew. She was both excited and happy for me and upset that she had not heard the news earlier. Needless to say the meeting was in a bit of an uproar for several minutes as everyone heard what had occurred in my life!

The news is bittersweet to everyone I tell around here since they all have been extremely excited until they realize that this means that I am moving to Ohio. I've had more people offer to find John a job here and others try to convince me (in a loving way) that I should just forget the whole thing and stay here in Alabama. I will indeed be sad to leave these people, but I am entirely excited to be moving to a new place to start a new life in the coming months! This new life will I'm sure be full of both challenges as well as joy! We have both waited for what seems like a long time for the one that God would bring into our lives and now it is amazing to see how God is working out all those details to bring what seems so perfect to pass!

John did have to go back home on Sunday afternoon. But before we enjoyed a nice lunch with my parents and sisters after Church. It has been fun to share this time with my family. John definitely enjoyed involving my family in the planning of this event. I feel blessed indeed to have a fiance who cares about not only his own family, but mine as well! Our families have been able to meet at Christmas and spend more time together at the camping trip a few weeks ago. We were both privileged to grow up in families that honor Christ and who are looking forward with joy to our wedding!

It's definitely getting harder and harder to see John leave again, but we know that each time a day passes, we that much closer to the time that we will be married! I am looking forward to the time when I can be up in Ohio. I'm sure that the time will pass quickly as we have a huge number of wedding details to determine between now and then as well as many things demanding our time such as work, friend, family and church. John and I are going on a missions trip to Peru with my Church in July, so I am looking forward to spending some more extended time with John then. Actually I don't have to wait too long to see John since he's coming back here to Alabama on Friday! I can't wait!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.

Lisa R.

Victoria said...

Dad and I are also so thankful and delighted as we see The Lord working in yours and John's lives. Love is so beautiful when Jesus Christ is The One Who each one of a couple loves first. As He has brought you together, you are now, already, glorifying Him even more together than you were able to do alone. John was indeed worth waiting for :) All PRAISE & Honor to The One Who created marriage ! He is so Kind & Good!
Love, Mom

Elijah Lofgren said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful engagement story Miriam! You and John are going to make great a great husband and wife and hopefully mother and father eventaally! :)

Sharon said...

Miriam, we're so happy for you. Ray said he met John last May when he was at Rob and Trisha's. We're excited to hear further about your wedding plans as time goes on. What are the Paces going to do without you? You seem such a big part of all their lives! God bless you and John!

In Christian Love, Ray and Sharon Hlavacek (Trisha's parents)

PoetLady said...

As your title says, it really is just the beginning, Miriam but I know you will be very happy together. Sounds like he really treasures you (as well he should:)

Your oldest sister,

Anna Naomi said...

Even though you told us this story last night, I really enjoyed reading it! =) Girls just like all the details like this. :-)

It's encouraging to see you saving your first kiss for the wedding - it's something I've wanted to do myself for years. It will be fun watching you do it first. ;-)

Thanks for being such a great big sister and example! I'm so happy for you!

And John, great job planning such a romantic proposal! You'll make a wonderful brother!

Luke said...

I'm just so excited for you both! If I could I'd jump up and down!

love ya,
p.s. thanks for the work update.

Claire said...

Many blessings and congratulations! I enjoyed your story very much. I've never been here before but saw the happy news on Anna's blog! Speaking of which, I love the photo of you, her and Jubilee... so sweet!

May the Lord bless you both with His love, grace, and transforming joy as you soon begin serving him united as man and wife!

Jennifer said...

I just came across your blog and enjoyed reading it..Congrats on your engagement...i wish you the best of luck
god bless

Lydia said...

Thank you so much for sharing! It was good to hear about how it all came together to beautifully! I wish I could be there. It's so exciting what God has done in your lives.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you, Miriam! You are joining a wonderful, loving family! We've been friends with the Rajans for years and years and think very highly of them.

Loved reading your story!

Betsy Dunham