Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Engagement Story

CAUTION: The following blog post may contain content that is mushy and/or lovey-dovey.

     So as I sat on a futon in Kaitlin's apartment, typing that last blog after my quiet time, I felt her head rest on my shoulder while she read her book. In that moment, I experienced rest. It was quiet and we were just sitting and not really doing anything important except relaxing and enjoy each other's company. It felt warm and peaceful and there was this closeness to her and to God that I had needed all weekend. I continued with a great big smile on my face and pressed "publish," posting not only my first blog of the year, but also my first since last September. At that point I realized that I clearly left out some pretty big updates that are very blog worthy, namely that the beautiful face that rested on my shoulder belonged to the woman that I am now engaged to be married to, and have been since November 5th, 2010. I just cannot post another blog without sharing the story of one of the happiest days of my life.
     It was the day before the Zeta Tau Alpha semi-formal, and I had asked her earlier that week if she wanted to have movie date or something on that night. Not like a movie theatre date, because nothing good was out. A redbox movie date, so we could just relax on the couch and watch something together and pop some popcorn that didn't cost an arm and a leg. That kind of movie date. It didn't really matter, though, because I secretly just asked her that so that she would keep the night open and not plan anything else. I didn't want her to expect anything suspicious either.
     I had been looking at rings for a while and I knew the one I wanted to get. I didn't want to get it too far in advance, though, because (1) I tend to be impatient and I would probably get too excited and spontaneously propose to her, and (2) I was paranoid I would lose it. Luckily, she wanted to nap after class so I picked it up while she was sleeping. It was also a good thing that she wanted to nap because I was really nervous. Excited, but nervous. Not nervous in an omg-i-hope-she-says-yes sorta way. Nervous as in lots of butterflies in my stomach and in a i-hope-i-do-this-perfect sorta way. In a this-is-really-happening kind of way.
     She woke up from her nap later that afternoon and, with the ring tucked in my pocket, I cooked her favorite meal - chicken parmigiana. Then I asked her if she wanted to go to Berry and have a bible study in Frost Chapel and dance with me. She said yes. After we drove into the campus, we met some deer on the road to Mountain Campus. I pulled over so we could see them. Partially because I wanted to see them and try to touch them, but mostly to stall because I was nervous.
     When we arrived, there was a man standing outside the chapel and I thought, "Great... way to ruin everything, sir!" I was kidding. Sorta. So Kaitlin suggested that we just do our bible study on the stone wall, because there was probably something going on in the chapel. I knew there couldn't be, because I called beforehand. So I insisted that we go at least look in the chapel window to make sure no one was using it. As we were walking towards the chapel door, the man who was standing to the side came towards us and said:
     "Hey, my brother is proposing to his girlfriend in the back room, so if you don't mind just please don't go in there."
     "Oh! Okay! Is it okay if we go in the chapel?" I asked, trying to soak all the irony in.
     "Yeah! That's totally fine," he said.
     The room he was talking about was separated from the main chapel. He was free to steal my idea in peace. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyway, so we went inside and sat down in the pew and opened our devotional to the chapter we left off on last time. If I'm going to be honest, I don't think I focused very well, if at all, on the devotional. I was too busy practicing in my mind what I was going to say and how I was going to do this.
     When we had finished, I stood up, reached out my hand, and, smiling excitedly, asked her, "Would you like to dance?"
     "Yes," she replied, also smiling.
     So I held her close and we danced without music for a few minutes, and I looked her in the eyes, telling her how wonderful and beautiful she is, how much she means to me, and how thankful I am to have her. Then, with my heart beating so fast that I'm surprised I didn't pass out or something, I knelt to one knee, took the ring out of my pocket (which was velcro, by the way, so it echoed loudly off the walls of the chapel as I opened it) and asked her if she would marry me. After the initial shock wore off, she finally said "YES!" I stood up and we held each other tightly in our arms for a while before making our way back to the car.
     And now, almost two months later, we have a date and a time and a venue - June 18th, 2011, 2pm, at Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Georgia. I could not be more happier or excited, and I can't wait for us to begin our happily ever after.

in His grip,

Sunday, January 23, 2011


"Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy."
-Exodus 31:13

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
-Exodus 20:8-11

     Sabbath comes from the Hebrew shabbat, meaning "he rested." Shabbat derives from the Hebrew verb shavat which means "to rest," or "to cease." God doesn't just ask us to rest or cease work. He commands it. Think about it. Our great, perfect, holy God delivered His people from years of slavery in Egypt, performing numerous miracles through His prophet Moses, and afterwards, while they were all gathered together, purposefully gave them ten instructions to live by, one of which was to take a break from doing things. God values rest and ceasing to do work (after all, He did so Himself on the seventh day).
     Connect Rome's new series is titled "Busy Bodies," and it has made me re-think a lot of how busy I let myself get, and how much I neglect God's command to rest. I know that I struggle with resting. I feel the need to always schedule out my days and fill them with stuff to do. My planner becomes my second Bible, with a constant, never-ending list of things to do, so that even when I accomplish everything that I set aside to do for the day, I still have a mindful of deadlines, needs, goals, and stuff to worry about. The week becomes a long, tedious run-on sentence. No breaks. It's the culture we live in: we are encouraged and expected to always be productive, and people who deviate from the busy-body way are often considered lazy or unproductive.

This is a tragedy on so many levels.

     I find myself trying to take a break or a nap or enjoy some time doing nothing, but it almost feels irresponsible or unnatural, as if there are a million trillion things I could be doing to make better use of my time. Is there, though, something better to do than obey God? Obedience is the greatest way to show Him my love for Him and yet I so often disobey His command to cease all my work, business, productiveness, etc. and just rest in His beauty and peace. Resting requires one to stop trying to be in control of everything, stop worrying about how everything is going to be done, and relinquish it all to God, praising Him for all He has done, and trusting Him with all He is still doing.

On that note, I think I'm going to get some rest.

in His grip,