He was worth the wait
On Valentine’s Day 2021, I visited the singles life group at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Madison and wound up meeting the man who is now my fiancé.
I didn’t hear a hallelujah chorus as he walked across the room to introduce himself after class. But I had noticed him asking questions that resonated with me during the lesson. And I did remind myself, “You often go for the nerdy types…” Because I am one.
I had not dated a lot, and I would later find out Stephen hadn’t dated at all. We were both in our 30s and had waited a long time. It seemed long to us, anyway.
The more I hung out with the Broadmoor singles, the more I grew interested in Stephen. He was always the one with the follow-up question for whoever was talking. “So what made you decide to do that?” or, “What do you like about (insert job here)?”
I found myself hoping he’d be at the lunches I crashed after church; hoping he’d ask me some of those probing questions. And he did.
In June 2021, Stephen invited me to a design show hosted by Crema, the company he works for. (He’s a web developer and designer.) I didn’t see any other women there from our group. Turns out he had invited some of them, but only because he wasn’t sure I wanted to be singled out. None of them could make it, which was fine by me.
We had some good conversation, and at the end of the night he said, “By the way … if you ever want to hang out … I’m free.”
“Yeah, sure, I’d love to,” I said. Then quietly, “Just let me know.”
The next afternoon, I sent him a message making myself abundantly clear:
“Hey, thanks so much again for inviting me last night! Would love to hang out again over food or a movie or something! … ”
Within 30 minutes, he texted me, and two nights later he officially asked me out. We went on our first date on June 23, 2021, became a couple on July 28, and said “I love you” on September 10. I’d been holding it in for a month.
I would’ve loved to be married within a year. That didn’t happen, for various reasons. Sometimes it’s been frustrating for one or both of us, and other times we’ve known we weren’t ready. But in the waiting, we’ve gotten to know each other better, while discovering firsthand that we cannot meet each other’s deepest needs. Only God can.
Finally, when we were ready, Stephen got my parents’ blessing, bought the ring, and contrary to his nature, pulled a plan together on the fly during a Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas.
Late in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day, Stephen and I drove up to Petit Jean State Park, one of my favorite places that also means a lot to both sides of my family. Still, I suspected nothing, as we’d just spent several hours with 30 of my relatives.
Surely both of us were too tired from all the food and socializing to deal with a proposal. Surely we were only going for the sunset.
Instead of a sunset, we encountered a thick gray fleece of fog, which was absolutely gorgeous. Then Stephen tricked me.
He suggested we film a silly slo-mo “hair flip” video, which we’d done before. He told me to stand facing away from him, and then whip around toward him. I kept “practicing” while he got the phone ready, and unbeknownst to me, he was also fishing the ring out of his pocket.
At one point I “whipped around” and he hastily jammed the ring box under his arm. I didn’t notice.
Finally, I said, “OK, tell me when you’re ready.”
“OK,” he said, now filming. “I’m ready.” And he knelt and held out the ring as I whipped around for the final time.
Between my shock, our laughter, and my exclamation of “You’re so sneaky!” we got engaged in the fog.
It’s only been a few days, so things still look a bit foggy. We’ve done zero wedding planning thus far; we might not get married as soon as we’d like (i.e., tomorrow). But I’m willing to wait.
I don’t have a cute segue into a spiritual lesson here — except to say that waiting for God’s best is always, always worth it. I hope y’all enjoy this edition of MCL and have a wonderful Christmas!