the one where we get engaged!

On October 20, 2018 Zach picked me up at our mutual friend’s house where I had spent the night in Des Moines, IA. We had spent the evening before at a good friend’s wedding dancing the night away. After I said goodnight to Zach, the girl’s and I went downtown Des Moines and enjoyed the sights and the good company. As Zach and I drove the two hours to meet my best friend for lunch the next morning, we listened to sappy music that means a lot to us as a couple and talked about our week. I get to see my best girl friend, Leah, about once a year. Zach and she arranged it starting in M A Y that we would all get together over Leah’s fall break, right in the heart of beautiful October. We met her for lunch in the small town of Bonaparte, Iowa and enjoyed a lunch by the river. I tried to get Leah to hang out for longer but she said she had “plans at 1 to hang out with her family”. So we took a few photos to capture the moment of all three being together again and said our “goodbyes”.

 

Bonaparte, Iowa is where we three met. Leah and I were assigned to be in the same cabin in 2007! Zach, Leah, and I became pals in 2013 when we were all working on kitchen staff together. We spent the week laughing together, wrestling with team dynamics, and singing High School Musical.

Zach and I made the drive out to camp and memories from my childhood just flooded in. We sat on a bench outside the kitchen where out initial interest kindled over Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and washing countless dirty dishes. We talked about all the memories we had together and personally in this one stretch of land – the friends we made, the not-so-fond memories, and the way God touched our lives. I remember leaning my head on his shoulder in that moment and wondering “Why isn’t he proposing?????” 😉

We continued the walk around my favorite spots at camp and took remake photos from our time there in 2013. I even took Snapchat videos that are hilarious and sweet to look back on knowing what was just about to happen!

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Being the typical woman that I am, I didn’t like the way I looked in any of our photos so Zach said, “Let’s go to the gazebo and try some there.” We laughed and walked hands over to the gazebo. I saw picture frames lining the benches, and then Leah with the video camera, and at that moment I knew what was happening.

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The moment had finally arrived.

The moment I’ve been dreaming of long before I knew Zach and the one he’s been teasing me about since we knew the direction of our relationship was certain. Zach got down on one knee, said the things every girl longs to hear, and closed with, “Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?” I said “YES!”, he put the ring on my finger, and threw the ring box aside for one amazing, life-changing-moment embrace.

At a spot drenched in sentiment in the heart of camp, we had sweet pictures surrounding us & reminding us of the long road we traveled, red roses, shaky knees, happy tears, and a promise made.

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I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves about the joy and wonder of this moment…

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“WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!”

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Where you lead I will follow, soon-to-be husband.

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Diamond ring and twelve red roses… everything she ever wanted… all those dreams and now they’re finally here. 

She’s so young and he’s so perfect… they waited for love and it was worth it… they want to feel like this for a hundred years. 

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And, before any date was settled on or food tasted or vendor booked, I knew one other thing… So, next, I popped the question and asked Leah to be my maid of honor!!!

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I could write a book about the ways her friendship is constantly life-giving to me. 

After several hours of soaking in the moment at our favorite spot, we waved goodbye to a whole new set of memories and drove to Zach’s family’s house where I thought we would have a fun dinner with family. And that we did — but with a few more people than I was imagining. The drive was several hours and we forbid ourselves to talk about plans but simply to relish the fact that we had officially committed to becoming one, whenever the Lord seemed fit. When we arrived to Zach’s parent’s house, the driveway was packed with vehicles, the house filled with beaming faces, and our hearts continued to explode as we shared the news with those closest to us. I walked in and found my brother who had traveled over four hours, my parents who had driven seven, Zach’s college friends that I am now blessed to call my own, many family members to welcome us into each other’s clan… and the last guest I found in the corner of the living room: my best friend since BIRTH. I wouldn’t be who I am without this wild, beautiful woman of God and here she is at the 2nd most important day of my life so far! That’s actually the first time my tears absolutely flowed that day, not believing she was able to come & realizing the beauty of that moment. How our God loves drawing full circles of redemption.

Goodness, what a blessing. 

(Zach did good, right? 😉 )

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My best girls.

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That priceless moment when Grandpa welcomes you into his family. Wow wow wow.
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With one of our ring bearers to be!

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We are surrounded by so much love!

Next up was a rapid morning at church, a 7 hour car ride listening to football and calling close family and friends, all leading up to another beyond sweet engagement party – this time with our Kansas crew! Unlike the night before, family gathering at this party thought they were coming to a birthday party – and we met them at the door with other news!!! This was a night of pure joy exclaimed in so many hugs, getting to finally talk to my matron of honor about all the festivities, telling my family, the most delicious cupcakes, and playing with the kiddos in my life.

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To the community surrounding us: Thank you. Your support of our lives & now our lives together keep us reflecting on the goodness of God.

 

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Since this sunny and windy day in October, we have experienced many growing pains, but they are growing us closer to God and closer to each other. We are facing so many challenges and changes at once it’s hard to keep our vision straight. But this we know: the fight for holy marriage, the fight for unity, and the fight for God’s glory? It’s always, always worth it. And He is blessing us with so much joy as we continue to sharpen each other and laugh together. We are counting down the days.

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They told us camp wasn’t the time. (And God, in His sovereignty, kept us from romantic relationship for four more years.)

They told us our friendship would fade. (And we just kept growing closer, regardless of when we were able to see each other.)

They told us that we wouldn’t make it long distance. (And by the grace of God He held us in conflicts and blessed us with the hope of what was to come.)

Let’s keep beating the odds. 

 

This love story — a massive gift of grace.

This ring on my hand, this story of “Will you be my wife?” — unreal.

This life we are building together — I can’t wait. 

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