A Message From Sean: 

"Pursuing Beka has honestly been the most courageous thing that I have done in my life. I have wanted to get married ever since I was young and knew it was something I wanted badly, so I ran towards it. I never wanted to get married just for the sake of getting married; I always wanted it to be something special. I wanted to marry my best friend and a girl who loved Jesus. A girl who looked up to me, would face anything alongside me and who would laugh with me. But also, a girl who was completely beside me and who saw me at my worst yet still loved me anyway.
It’s through this inward desire that I first discovered Christ’s love for us as mirrored in marriage. Jesus Christ has a love for us as His followers that no human can match, yet in Ephesians 5 that’s exactly what He calls husbands to reflect:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. (Ephesians 5:25-26) 
We are told that “all you need is love” and “love will keep us alive”. We're certainly given the task of reflecting love in marriage, but it is not a fallen, worldly, and human view of love as many see it. No, it’s God’s love for us and the sacrifice He gives for us. This is the very message of the gospel and the true meaning of love. This is a love that caused Jesus to give up His life for the Church and a love that commands husbands do the same. Without it, our marriage is based on a love that is less than the best. I began to see this and realized that maybe I wasn't all that crazy. God was serious about marriage and I needed to be too.

I wanted to be that someone. I didn't just want her in my life, I wanted to be in hers. I wanted to be able to watch this woman grow through life and in the faith and I prayed that God might bless me and even, just maybe, use me to do that.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then, HOW I was to be serious about it became more clear with the meeting of a certain individual.
Beka was the one I wanted. She stood out like no one else. I grew to be amazing friends with her and enjoyed every minute I talked to her. We were friends first and then romance grew from it. I wanted to marry my best friend and I was discovering that this wonderful New England girl was becoming just that. Beka and I have a little analogy that we call “Our Boat Analogy”.
We see everyone as going down the river known as life in their own little boat down. We face problems and leaks and tides and struggles as we get from destination to destination, goal to goal. But sometimes, we find ourselves paddling next to someone. We smile and wave and continue on our journey. Soon, once again, we find that person alongside us once again. We then wonder if that person is on the same journey as we are. Then you can’t help but ask yourself:
“Why don’t we share a boat?”
I won’t get into the whole story about how I fell in love with Beka (I’ll let her tell you), but it's pretty simple. From my perspective, I saw us paddling along and soon saw all the ways that our journeys kept overlapping and wanted more and more to “share a boat”. I saw a girl who wanted to raise a family just like me. She wanted a marriage that spoke richly of God’s love more than her own love, just like me. She wanted someone who could be her best friend and who could love her even in her worst times...just like me.
Proverbs 3:3 says this:
I like to add a piece to the end of this verse. "Bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart….and seal it on your left ring finger."
Beka and I want steadfast love and faithfulness to pour into our marriage and to show the love of the Father who’s love always surpasses ours. THAT, is ultimately why we want to get married. THAT, is the reason we love and the reason we live. Without God, our marriage is not on solid ground.
We pray that God alone will be given the glory in this."

The Beginnings - 2011 


We met online through a Christian college coaching program called CollegePlus! in early 2011 when Sean was 18 and I was 15. This program was designed to give students an opportunity to get a jump-start on their college education and finish their bachelor's degrees at an accelerated pace. Students work independently, but CP! offered an online forum and different chatrooms for these young people to connect, encourage each other in their studies, and to share life with one another.

Throughout 2011 we participated in thrice-weekly prayer calls where we would meet on Skype with other students and pray for each other - then kept most of our families awake as we laughed at talked late into the night. We clicked from the very beginning and became good friends who had a similar sense of humor, taste in music, and love for the Lord. He made me laugh at his wittiness, and he liked to tease me. We just fit.
From October 2011 - January 2012 Sean went to working 60-70 hours a week as a butcher and he only crossed my mind once or twice during those four months.
After a CP! retreat in California in late January, I decided to take a hiatus from my CP! and online life for several months in order to focus on the real world for awhile. I not only left everything for about three months, but I made a commitment to the Lord for 2012 that I was not going to entertain thoughts or longings for a romantic relationship. If by chance someone came along? I was going to stick to my guns. I felt like I wasn’t ready to get married, and it was painful for me to be constantly holding on so tightly to hope of that when I had no idea when that actually was going to happen. I wanted to accomplish a million & one things throughout 2012, and saw this as my chance and I was taking it.
Four. Days. after I wrote out what I wanted 2012 to look like, after I had talked to a young woman who was counseling me, and prayed earnestly about it….I get an email in my inbox. It was brief, but this is what it said:
"Hey, just wanted to say that what you’re doing is good.
Actually I don’t know what to say. I admire you for courage in doing this and I know things will be rough. You’re a courageous one though, God will not forsake you. He’s with you in this. He shines like the sun in you and everyone can see it.
You’re the dearest of friends. You’ve encouraged myself and countless others. Whatever you do, don’t feel your time among these places wasted. You are moving on in this life and I know you’re gonna be used by God in ways you never thought. Meanwhile go love that family of yours and enjoy your years with them and shine to all those around you.
Just don’t forget your extended family! You ever wanna chat just let me know. Email me whatever, I might just email you to make sure you haven’t been captured by Indians or whatever."
The email was sweet and brief, but it started a deeper friendship between us that changed everything.

A Growing Friendship - 2012


Over the course of about seven months, Sean and I emailed back and forth furiously. Our conversations were light-hearted and very much characteristic of our personalities, yet at the same time they were focused and intentional. We started emailing with the goal of finding something we disagreed about, because there was no way that two individuals could be that similar! ;) We could never find anything, so we just kept at it. Then we realized we just liked emailing each other so we never stopped.

We “covered” so much ground during these months. We talked about our views on a variety of topics such as our interpretations on tricky passages of Scripture, theological views and how those affect every area of a Christian’s life, books, movies, music, church denominations, homeschooling vs. public school, etc. Looking back, those emails helped us in more ways than just growing closer as friends…it grew us as Christians and as young adults. We both enjoyed making a new friend, and we enjoyed the opportunity to iron out for ourselves what we believe about certain topics. God used that time to sanctify the two of us in very different ways as we pointed the other to Christ, tried to remain guarded yet caring, and slowly grew closer to each other.

Looking back, I am in awe over how God guarded our conversations and allowed both of us to converse deeply, yet purely and without any “hinting” the entire time!

I grew to care for him more and more. When I realized what was happening, I fought it. I had a deep respect for Sean and noticed how he wasn’t that goofy 18-year-old to me anymore.

He was a man with a family, and a testimony, and dreams for the future. He wanted to get married someday and raise a family for the glory of God. Certain things annoyed him and others brought him joy. He was complicated and yet so easy to figure out. I felt like I knew him better than I knew anyone else…and it was both sheer delight yet nerve-wracking when I realized that I was becoming very willing to trust him with my heart.

And it scared me. 2012 was supposed to be a year where I shouldn’t have been even thinking about that kind of stuff! For the first time in my life I didn’t want a guy in my life! I had no desire for it. Even with my affection for him deepening, there was never a point where I had “butterflies” in my stomach or grew nervous talking to him. I never really had a ‘crush’ on him. He was becoming my best friend, and I was content in our friendship. Sean never gave me a reason to think anything more of our relationship…yet he gave me all the reasons in the world.

“Sometimes love isn’t fireworks, sometimes love just comes softly.”
― Janette Oke

Softly it did.

We Met! - August 17th, 2012

In August, I finally met Sean in person. I know…it took awhile for that to happen. There was a CP! Get-Together in Minnesota and so my brother and I flew to Nashville where we met him and his sister and spent several days visiting with and traveling with their family.

The time spent with Sean in person was everything I imagined it would be. He was exactly the same person I had grown to love as a friend throughout the year. He was 3D, RIGHT THERE! The transition from online friendship to “in-person-holy-cow-you’re-really-standing-in-front-of-me” friendship was a surprisingly seamless one. I was amazed at how easily Sean and I connected as if we had sat face-to-face and conversed a thousand times before.

I was able to see that he’s the kind of person who looks you in the eye when he talks to you. I realized that he moves his hands when he explains something and his voice grows faster when he’s excited. He doodles in church and cracks his fingers and clears his throat a lot. When he walks into a room, people smile at him and often go out of their way to talk to him. He can’t talk and drive at the same time, and has a really good singing voice. His laughter fills the room and his dark eyes sparkle whenever he looks at me.

I fell hopelessly in love with him during the ten days I was with him in August.

But I had to keep…suppressing it…because I knew the time was not right. I needed to guard myself so I wouldn’t make myself sick over it. I had a slight idea that he liked me during the second half of our email correspondences, and I was confident he did after my brother and I met him in August. Even with that knowledge of his affection, the Lord was so gracious to me! I knew I had to wait…because if Sean was serious about me he’d do things the right way and approach my father first. It wasn’t my responsibility to push, and I would be setting myself up for heartache if I put all my hope in the idea that he would pursue a relationship with me.

So, I waited.

Our Courtship - October 10th, 2012

The month of September was terrible. I was working 40-45 hours a week at a coffee shop, and completely exhausted all the time. I missed Sean and wasn’t talking to him as much. I felt so stuck, not really knowing what the next few months would hold and trying to remain content and joyful with where the Lord had me. I had gotten to a point in my life where if nothing came out of my friendship with Sean….if I never talked to him again – I’d be content. I could rest in the fact that I never unwrapped more of myself than what was appropriate as a sister-in-Christ to him. His future wife and my future husband were honored, and I felt no regret.

But, I mean, I still kinda hoped.

During the month of September while I was trying to keep my emotions in check, Sean was also battling with himself in a different way. And while riding on a red tractor for five hours one day, Sean made up his mind, walked inside, and called my dad.

From what I heard, Sean was insanely nervous, and my mom answered the phone and said something along the lines of, “Oh, hey Sean, how’s it going? Do you want to talk to Terry? He’s not home right now. You can call back later if you want though!” Talk about a laid-back and relaxed!

He did end up calling back, and after a brief phone call, Sean and my dad emailed back and forth a few times before my dad sent him a long list of twenty-one questions to answer. The questions were extensive and detailed, and asked about Sean’s testimony, his family, his work, his aspirations for the future, and what he liked about me & why he’s choosing to pursue me.

After a week of working hard on the questions, Sean sent my dad a 29-page letter answering each and every one in detail. My dad knew he was going to say yes to Sean after page 5.

But…because my dad is awesome, he let Sean sweat it out for three more days before he gave the blessing for Sean to pursue an intentional relationship with me.

On October 10th, Sean’s birthday, my dad emailed Sean a few sentences that basically said he gives his blessing and is looking forward to getting to know him & his family more in the future.

And then: P.S. Oh…and happy birthday!

Sean received the email at work, cried, and caused all of his co-workers to think that someone had died. When he told them what happened, they’re like, “Who IS this girl?” :D After racing home that evening, Sean emailed me and asked me to have a video call with me because he needed to ask me something. It was the first I heard from him in several weeks so I jumped at the chance to talk to him!

I get on the call, and Sean’s glowing and grinning and his face fills the screen. All he says is, “Check your email.” I was terribly confused. I check my inbox, and the only email there is a forwarded message from my dad saying…“You have my blessing in whatever way you choose to pursue this new season in your life.”

I stared at the screen for awhile. I blinked a lot. My hands started shaking and my breath caught in my throat. I was in such shock and didn’t say anything for awhile. From there, Sean explained to me how he had been in contact with my dad and how he now has the green light to enter into a courtship relationship with me. He told me how he wanted to do that since February, but waited until he felt like the time was right to make a move.

I cried when I realized what was going on in his head in February when he emailed me “out of the blue”. Right at the time when I was preparing to take a break from fretting over guys and whether or not they liked me…Sean was praying about a relationship with me.

It was all very surreal. My dear friend Sean was telling me how he wanted to marry me. What I had longed for more than anything in my entire life was actually happening. I couldn’t believe it! What I only ever imagined was unfolding right before me, and it was beautiful.

The first few weeks of our courtship were awkward, but exciting. We knew so much about each other, yet so little. There were parts of our hearts that we never shared; struggles and dreams and longings that were never talked about before. Neither of us really knew what we were doing, and we were wary of following a formula for “courtship”…like, “follow X, Y, and Z for a perfect, God-honoring relationship!”…no.

A visit to TN the end of October helped to solidify a lot of things, as I was able to spend quality time with his mom and sister (whom I absolutely adore), and enjoy tons of talking, laughing, praying, crying, and adventuring with his family. There was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to marry Sean and spend the rest of my life by his side. I needed some time to process things emotionally as I came to grips with what marrying him meant – but God was gracious to me and Sean was patient. Sean never stopped chasing me and continually reminded me of his commitment to me.

He wanted me, and he wasn’t going anywhere. I wasn’t either.

For the three months following, Sean dove headfirst into full-full-FULL-time work, and I came home and did school like a madwoman. Anything to keep myself focused on the task at hand until I’d see my dear friend again. We talked once a week, and while there were some things to definitely work through in our relationship…we knew we wanted to get engaged as soon as we could. We were anxious and ready for the next step. We wanted to get married sometime this year. Everything was falling into place and making sense…but we both still needed to be still and wait on the Lord.

We didn’t go from acquaintances to a courting couple right away…we went from best friends to deeper friends over the course of three months. We desired to glorify the Lord in every way we interacted with each other, and to point the other to Christ. We enjoyed getting to know each other in a deeper way, and were delighted to realize that our friendship never really changed – it grew. We were sappy, yes, but he would tease me like he always did before and we would laugh until we cried over jokes only the two of us would understand. He was my best friend.

Our parents provided so much wisdom and helped to steer us in the right direction when we drifted too far one way. They were involved indirectly with our courtship, so Sean and I weren’t entirely on our own. However, we were fairly independent and Sean lead the relationship every step of the way, checking in via email with my father on a somewhat regular basis. All was going well, and we were eager to see each other in January!

The Proposal - January 26th, 2013


I knew Sean and I were going to be engaged sometime soon, but I was NOT expecting it during his visit to Massachusetts in late January! It was his first time meeting my family, and for the first day he was here, I genuinely thought my dad wasn’t a fan of how quickly things seemed to be moving. My dad sounded like he was planning on telling Sean to slow down! So Sean and my dad hopped in his truck and came back and hour later. Everything seemed fine, so I stopped worrying =P

A friend of my mom’s is a photographer and she came by one afternoon to take a couple of shots of Sean and I together. We didn’t have many pictures together, so I asked if she wouldn’t mind stopping by to snap a few of us.

Finally, when I couldn’t feel my fingers anymore and was completely ready to go home, Sean and Felicia both suggested we go to “my rock”. It’s really nothing special…just a rock in a soccer field where I went one day over the summer to pray and just breathe after my busy time at camp. I remember telling Sean about it, and he said that he wanted to go there with me someday and pray with me. I asked if maybe we could go another time, but they both convinced me to just go for a picture and THEN we could go home.

So we drove there and began walking to the rock.

“Do you have any other ideas for a pose, Beka?” Felicia asked me.
“How about…us going back into the warm car??” I replied.
“Oh, I have an idea.” Sean says as he grabs my shoulders and turns me toward him.

He then reaches into his pocket…

…and gets down on one knee.

And I said no!

“No! No! Sean! No! You’re not doing this now! What are you doing! Are you serious!?!? You knew about this Felicia, didn’t you?”

Then...my best friend asked me if I would be his wife.

And although I said “no” three times, I said “yes” more.

Sean told me he loved me for the first time and I got to hear those three beautiful words whispered into my ear…knowing that they were immediately followed by a commitment to love me forever.
Happiness abounded that day. Our families rejoiced, most of our friends were shocked (but not all that surprised!), and Sean and I were on cloud nine.

“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.” ― L.M. Montgomery

3 comments:

  1. Awwwwe! That is so sweet! Thank you for sharing :)

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  2. This was lovely. Thanks for sharing. I also read your home post and enjoyed the pics. I admire that you live in a mobile home fully paid for! I live in a tiny farm cottage and we have looked at mobile homes for expansion when children come along. No shame here regardless of some people's perspectives! Home is not four walls, but it is nice to paint and make a space cozy...mobile or stick built!

    Best, Emily Grace

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, Emily & for your kind words!

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