On November 18th of 2015 my world stopped spinning for a second.
Yep, you guessed it. My knight in shining armor dropped to one knee and asked to marry me. Only the funny thing is – my knight didn’t have shiny armor. In fact, he isn’t even a knight at all. He’s a shaggy-headed, lanky, incredibly awkward boy-turned-man that is technologically gifted and never-endingly sarcastic. And I love every bit of him.
It’s funny how when you get engaged everyone wants to know how he asked. I’m including myself into this group because I was a proposal junkie until one day I realized I needed to grow up. I can’t give myself too much praise for this, however, because I had only just decided to “grow up” about 95 hours prior to my own little magical moment. I’ll expand on that story a little later.
The truth is, I can’t tell you my proposal story without giving you all the deets on what the Lord had to do in my life to bring me to this moment. Although my fiance, Lance, would say that our story began about 13 years earlier, I’ll spare you all that and just tell you exactly how gracious the Lord was to me in the past 2 years.
Fall 2013 – the fallout
If I were to refer to the Lord working in my life in farming terminology this particular season would be the plowing. I happened to be dating a boy at the time that I thought I could maybe see myself with in the future. We both had some growing up to do, but I loved him. We’d been dating about 2 years at this point. Having moved to a college four hours away so we could be together I was slowing growing quite homesick. I came up with an ingenious plan to bring him back home with me just in time for the Cumming Country Fair & Festival (it’s basically my favorite holiday other than Christmas-and no, it’s sadly not an actual holiday). We’d drive up through the night on Thursday shortly after my Sorority’s Initiation and and go to the Mountains all day Friday, spend the day at the fair Saturday and wrap up our trip after Church on Sunday. Unbeknownst to me that said boyfriend had growing feelings towards someone else and that a bombshell was soon to land in my lap. Thirty minutes into the 4 hour drive back I heard the words, “I don’t think I’ve ever really loved you. You deserve someone wonderful, but it’s just not me. I’m sorry.”
That’ll wake you up from your fairy-tale. If there is one thing I have learned in my short 23 years of life it is that Satan knocks you when you’re down. Oh boy, did he ever. Self-esteem issues? I had them. Self-image issues? I had them. Sick mind games are seriously Satan’s stronghold. I looked for love anywhere I could find it. If it couldn’t be found in a nearly 2-year long relationship maybe I could find it in a bar. Wrong. Maybe I could find it in the library. Nope. What about xyz’s social event of the year?! Definitely not.
You know where I did find it? I found love in friendship. The relationship of close friends reminds me so much of Jesus. Good friends point you to scripture. Good friends encourage. Good friends evoke laughter. Good friends know how to love.
This was the turning point when God stopped plowing and started the planting process. In past heartbreaks Lance was always the first to reach out. The text messages would always read something along the lines of, “You’re too good for him anyway” or “Good riddance frog”. I may be exaggerating with the frog part, but probably not seeing as how laughter was always his preferred method of encouragement. The fact was, he was always my encourager, my backbone, and my (not-so) secret admirer. There were some tough moments during that breakup of ’13 that were different than the others. I think partly because Lance was dealing with something on his own then too and the late night conversations healed both of our souls.
The truth is I wasn’t looking for love. Lance built my self-esteem back up by helping me to realize just how magnificent the Lord really is and how he has a plan for our lives that is 6097346 times better than our own. It’s kind of funny to look back on now because during that time I even turned down other friends-turned-ex-lovers. Lance understood me more than I even understood myself. While they were pushing me to dive back into the dating scene, Lance supported me to become content with myself. He taught me to love myself again just by being a friend, a friend I desperately needed. He understood all those nights that I poured my heart out to him and become frustrated that others weren’t giving me my space to heal.
Summer 2014 – the light bulb
June 5, 2014 Lance asked me to be his girlfriend. There aren’t too many days when I can remember being that happy. In fact, I would refer to it as a radiating joy because happiness just doesn’t cut it. I never understood the saying, “you just know” until “I just knew”. Romance movies just really don’t do it justice let me tell ya. There is an inner peace that radiates inside you that almost whispers to your soul saying, “he’s the one”. It truly is magical.
I suppose shortly after that day I became even more obsessed with weddings, romance movies and books. My Pinterest basically blew up with so many pins. I had a problem.
For years I had struggled with putting my boyfriend before my relationship with God, but Lance was so good at keeping it balanced. It’s a shame he didn’t have control over my mind too because that’s where I faltered. The truth was I was obsessed with proposals and weddings and rings and I needed an intervention.
November 14th, 2015 – the holy intervention
I told you it wasn’t long before he popped the question!
I’m an intern for my Youth Minister so I basically get paid to meet and text awesome girls and talk about how God is working in their lives. It’s only part-time, but I absolutely love every bit of it. Anywho, this particular weekend was Disciple Now and I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t be a college leader for a group of girls because I had this teacher certification test the following Monday. Instead, I just hung out with the senior girls and my (then) boyfriend’s sister and her super cool roomie. We stayed up way too late Friday night talking way too much about how I was still pretty salty that Lance hadn’t proposed yet. (I mean seriously, what was he debating?) In his defense, I had way too many demands because, well, Pinterest. I basically just told them I struggled with it. I put that before the Lord all the time. I gratify my sin at night by logging on Pinterest and Instagram and Facebook every night just to see who else had gotten engaged and then proceed to stalk everything about their lives because they were living my dream. I’m telling you… I N T E R V E N T I O N was needed.
The following day I had to study for my tests all day and was unable to go to any of the small group lessons as I had previously planned. We met back up at the church around 8pm and I walked in expecting a completely normal night of worship. Only thing was, the Lord showed up and showed out. The worship band Lexington Road was singing Bethel Music’s song Jesus We Love You. The chorus goes something like this:
Jesus we love you
Oh how we love you
You are the one our hearts adore
Our hearts adore
And then it just hit me like a ton of bricks like it usually does when the Lord gets a hold of your heart. How could I stand here and sing of my love for Him? How could I sing about how I adore Him? I idolized my obsession with weddings and my future with Lance that I completely threw aside my love for the LORD, the King of KINGS. Y’all. I was weeping. Like a blubbering baby. It was real cute. I sat down on that seat and deleted every single app or un-followed every Instagram user that was going to stand in my way of loving the Lord.
He reminded me that, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
I did not love the Lord because I had forgotten what love was.
November 18th, 2015 – the proposal
So, as you can imagine (if you’ve ever been on a Jesus high), I was pretty stoked to have another chance. To have this renewed sense of purpose. God had called me to love. I was so excited to tell the senior girls that night just how much the Lord had done in just a measly 24-hour period. I was still in awe when Wednesday night rolled around. Part of being an intern was singing on Wednesday nights and it was my first night doing so since most of the high school musicians had been busy with football until that week. I was pretty bummed when Lance told me the day before that he had been assigned a 12 page paper and he didn’t think he could come. I hadn’t sang in public in a while and I wanted someone to be there to shoot strait with me afterwards and tell me how terrible I did – so I invited my parents.
I got to the church around 5pm and waited for the guys to get there with their guitars. Meanwhile, Scott came bouncing in with a huge grin on his face going on and on about this new game he was going to do that involved earth warms, mayonnaise, and blind folds. I know what you’re thinking – nasty. I nonchalantly said something like, “hey my parents are coming tonight to be my support system since Lance can’t come”. In true Scott fashion he replies with, “Sweet! I can embarrass you in front of them”.
An hour or so goes by and Scott does the announcements and describes the game called What’s In The Box. A student is picked from the crowd to come up and be blindfolded. They then have 30 seconds to stick their arms in the big cardboard box and guess what object is in there. Some of the objects were: mayonnaise, spaghetti noodles, pine cones, and earth worms. Scott calls me up, blindfolds me and tells me I have 30 seconds to guess what is in the box. I stick my arms in and at first had no idea. After I picked it up I realized this is a velvet wrapped ring box and I am going to kill Scott. Seriously, I would’ve rather had to guess spaghetti.
Only then Scott takes off my blindfold and I saw Lance standing next to me. About this time I think my brain shut off and whatever my eyes were seeing was not making its way to my brain which wasn’t signally my face to respond. I was just numb. Why is he here? Why does he have a ring box? and then… OH MY GOSH WHAT *commence ugly crying*
My best friend wasn’t there. Neither was my whole family. But you know what? It was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it because it’s our story and I love it.
I’m going to be Mrs. Lance Tyler Sudduth!