Thursday, June 4, 2015

When God Writes Your Story

It was the last day of Retreat and everyone was milling around in the lobby, waiting for their groups, hauling luggage to the cars and saying goodbyes. I was standing to the side with a couple of my besties, pretty much just tryna stay outta everbody's way.

Then this blonde-headed, blue-eyed firefighter is standing there in front of me, shaking hands with my friends and asking where we went to church. "Ethan Pritchard." I liked him right away; this was a good decent guy if I'd ever seen one. But nothing could come of that, right? He didn't have my number; for all I knew, he'd never seen me before.

I was driving home with Faith and Loyal Carlon the next day when my cell phone rang. " you know a guy named Ethan Pritchard?" It was Mom, with the very essence of teasing in her voice. "Oh, yeah...   why?" "He called Dad and asked if he could talk to you..."

I was speechless.

Frankly; I had had it with guys at that point. Every girl has her share of "creepers" during the teen years, and I was annoyed to death. From the guy who lived somewhere across the ocean who showed up on facebook, to the 50 year old who asked me out at work...I was tired of dealing with it all. Exhausted, really. But...there was something different about this one. I liked him. He seemed steady.

So I prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed...and told Dad to let him know that I was willing to talk with him.

And then the magic started - the very first time I heard him say my name. (Secretly, I had always hoped it would be special when "my man" first said my name. Always, I had listened for "specialness" when other guys were around, but nothing was ever different. This time it was; and I was giddy with excitement.)

We talked for about a month, then he decided to come up and visit. He met my family, took me out on our first date, choked down his first cup of coffee, and got stuck in a snowstorm on his way back to sunny North Carolina. (19 hours in a snowstorm, people - that's one devoted guy!) I felt as soon as he was gone, that I was missing part of me. And his blue eyes.....     :)

But I still wanted to be sure that it was God's perfect will. I cannot tell you how many times I prayed earnestly about it; but one night I got desperate. It was about 1:00 in the morning, and I knelt down beside my bed to hash it out. It was 3:00 am before my head hit the pillow, but I went to sleep with peace that God had heard me.

I know some people may think it's weird, but as I was staying there, asking God to lead me, wondering why I felt nothing at all, this song came softly, gently over my heart, and I knew all was well.

"Cause you prayed all night

Cause you held on with all of your might

Child, your cries have awoken the Master.

Oh, He knows your voice

Lift your hands, it's time to rejoice

Child, your cries have awoken the Master."

As promised, my confirmation came, and I knew. I can honestly say that I've never been so sure of anything in my life.

I'll never forget the first time Ethan told me he loved me. His eyes caught mine, and everything went still. Being speechless never used to be a problem for me, but in that moment I was afraid to say anything for fear it would shatter this perfect longed-for moment. I know God must have smiled.

"Anna, I truly feel I've fallen in love with you." And all I could do was stare at him and grin that wide, stupid smile, and mumble something about how much I loved him, too.

Then, there came one fateful night. We were talking pretty seriously about spending the rest of our lives together, and thinking about different possibilities. We chose a date; August 8th. (Exactly seven months - to the day - from when he first called me.)
No, we weren't engaged. But we knew this was what God wanted for both of us, and that we couldn't live without each other. When you have Christ, you have everything. And with God for us, what could stand against us? Walking in His perfect will leaves you in the center of calm, because you know He will see you through.

Obviously, I was expecting him to ask me the next time he came to visit. BUT, I didn't know when that was going to be - that is, until he walked into my living room while I was playing the piano one afternoon, smiling his mischievous little smile.

The next day he wanted to see Hayman Falls (which happens to be my favorite place on earth), so we decided to drive out there and take a look at the water. I got us lost on the way there (yes, local girls...I know that's pathetic...but anyways) because I asked him to turn around when we were actually going the right way. But, hey! we got there.

We walked down the trail by the river and sat down on a moss-covered rock.

The trees loomed above us and the water ran fast, filling the woods with the indescribable peace of nature. I breathed deep, taking it all in.

"Anna? Do you still love me?"

Of course I did.

He just looked into my eyes for a second, as if trying hard to read something from them.

"Well, then...I guess I have something to ask you."

And he was pulling something out of his pocket.

I felt my eyes go wide. "Ethan, are you SERIOUS?!"

And he was holding the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen, asking me to marry him.

My hand went over my mouth (seeing as I was so shocked that all my dreams were coming true), and I just nodded my head.

He slipped it on my finger, while I still stared in disbelief.

"Oh my word... Ethan...

We're getting married!"

He grinned, and laughed his, "well, um, yeah" kinda laugh, and I looked up at the sky in perfect wonder.

God had heard every one of those wistful, wondering prayers about "Lord, I have no idea where my husband is, but I know you've called me to be a wife and mother. Please, God; give me faith to hold onto your promise even though I see nothing with these natural eyes." And He honored them, by giving me the most responsible, loving man there ever could have been. One who knows how to make me smile, can tell when something is bothering me (even if I don't tell him,) and actually loves me for me - the me that is full of mistakes and imperfections. He takes it all and calls me his girl, anyway.

And I can't understand why God would give me someone as perfect as Ethan to be mine forever. I feel so indescribably blessed, and incandescently happy.

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart" - He doesn't disappoint.


Alisha Bonnell said...

Oooooh myyyyy woooord! This is sooo sweet! CONGRATULATIONS ANNA!

I have to ask - how long had you two been courting???

Anonymous said...

Beautiful love story! So very thankful that God blessed you with such a fine young man. He keeps all His promises. Love you so much.

Elisabeth@Treasuring the Moments said...

Oh, Anna, that is beautiful!! I so admire that you prayed through until you KNEW. May you have a lifetime of happiness with this young man.

Justin and Kaitlyn said...

Congratulations Anna!! (oh, and Ethan too!!:) You both make a perfect couple!! Soon you'll be an old married lady like me haha Get ready for a whirlwind of activity and decision making as the wedding approaches!! So happy for you both... God bless you!


Caitlyn said...

So very happy for you, Anna!! :) And to think... I was there when the two of you met! How awesome is that?! :)
Love you and pray the Lord will richly bless your lives together!
-Caitlyn M.

Bethany Carson said...

Congratulations!! You are a beautiful couple!

Zipporah A said...

Aww that's so beautiful and encouraging. Good things do come to those who wait and trust in The Lord to lead their lives. He brings things beyond our wildest dreams in our way. I'm very happy for both of you! God bless you and your beau! :D

Anonymous said...

- Potuguese comment -
Querida irmã Anna,
Eu sou uma moça brasileira, e também sou crente da Mensagem. Eu encontrei seu blog cerca de dois anos atrás, e desde então sempre tenho lido... Eu fui inspirada por seus textos tantas vezes e de tantas diferentes maneiras! Apesar de nem mesmo te conhecer eu sabia que Deus abençoaria tal garota cristã como você! E então eu me sentí muito feliz por você quando li essa bela história!
Gostaria de dizer para vocês: Deus vos abençoe e felicidades!!
Uma irmã em Cristo,
Sara Santos.

- Trying to say it all in english... :) -
Dear sister Anna,
I’m a Brazilian young lady, a message believer too. I found your blog about two years ago, and since then I have been reading... I was inspired by your texts so often and in many different ways! Although I did not even know you, I knew that God would bless such Christian girl like you! And so, I felt so happy for you when I read this beautiful story!
I would like to say to you: God bless you and Congratulations!

A sister in Christ,
Sara Santos.

Virginia said...

So happy for you, Anna!

Elizabeth said...

Hello Anna,
I have not followed your blog very regularly, but I want to say Congratulations!
It is so neat to read your story of how you met your fiancé. It is such an encouragement to me to keep trusting in the Lord's timing in my life.

A sister in Christ,

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog posts. They really seem to come from the heart and this one in particular brought tears to my eyes. Very moving words! Never stop sharing them. :)