OUR STORY

It happened to be the evening she joined HomeSchoolAlumni.org that I was pondering my life and prayed, “Lord, I am at peace with my life right now, but I do feel lonely. I long for a life-long friend with whom I can share my heart; one that can encourage me and that I can encourage in return. I don’t know any like-hearted young women for me at church, school, or the surrounding area. HSA is a way that you could let me meet the wife You have chosen for me from anywhere in the world. If You will, please let my future wife be the next to leave a message on my profile. I know it seems impossible, but even if she isn’t currently a member you could bring her to HSA today if you wanted it to happen. Let Thy will be done.” September 24, 2010

This is the story of our relationship, the history of the love that now dwells in our hearts, and the evidence of God making the impossible possible. -Nathaniel

Just a little background for the reader... First you might be asking what is HSA? Or more likely you already went to the link and gained a bit more information on it. Well Home School Alumni is what I describe as a Facebook for home educated youth. The age limit was 16+ last I remember, and while it was intended for normal social interaction there are a number of us in the country who connected with our special sweethearts through good 'ol HSA. Additionally, at the time we met, I lived in Indiana and Rachelle lived in Iowa, though only months before she was around the world in the depths of Nigeria, Africa.

(Please note that the text in blue is Nathaniel and the text in purple is Rachelle)

“A woman’s heart should be so lost in God that a man has to seek HIM in order to find her.” This is the quote that became my goal throughout my single years. I was to serve and honor Christ, and focus my attention on Him. As I did this, I knew that He would provide me with a husband that had the same heart for Jesus as I did and would find me by turning to the Lord and seeking Him. When two people are wholly set on serving the Lord and making Him priority, God can do miraculous things!

It was on September 22nd that I had a friend invite me to join HSA. I wasn’t sure at first if puritythat was something I wanted to do, and therefore I decided to take a couple days to consider my decision. Finally, in the evening on September 24th, I finally felt led to join as another way of ministering to others. I had a passion for writing poetry and ministering to other young ladies, whether they needed encouragement or simply someone to call a friend.  So I figured that this website would be a wonderful way for the Lord to use my life as a blessing to others through the poetry He had given me and also at the same time allow me to be a bright light for Him by sharing about the ministry my family had and the many things that the Lord had laid on my heart throughout the years.

I will admit that in the back of my mind, I knew that it was possible for the Lord to bring my husband through the website, but knowing that this wasn’t at all my reason or intention for joining, I put it out of my thoughts immediately and decided to let God have His way with me and my time on HSA. I knew full well that He could do anything He wanted when a life was focused solely on pleasing Him.

This story you’re about to read is one that Jesus authored Himself. We surrendered to Him our plans and our hearts and told Him to write our love story. Nathaniel is the answer to a lifetime of waiting, seeking the Lord through prayer, and even fasting. This has become the beginning of the rest of our lives together. May His name alone be glorified! -Rachelle

 

September 25th, 2010

Nathaniel: Upon waking I went about my Saturday morning as usual without recollection of my previous evening's prayer. Mid-morning I noticed a new member to HSA, Rachelle, whose profile was a blessing and encouragement to read. The choice to leave a welcome message is one that changed my life forever.

nigeria"Welcome to HSA. It is so uplifting to see your family's passion in serving the Lord; what a wonderful testimony you must have in Nigeria! May God bless you in your mission work. In Christ, Nathaniel" (See ministry at Laborers With Christ).

About lunch time I went up to get something to eat and while washing my hands the previous evening's prayer hit me, and I thought, "Wait... Lord, did you just answer my prayer? Is she perhaps the one You have in mind for me?" I likened the situation to that of Abraham's servant when he prayed to the Lord to show him the wife for Isaac in Genesis 24:12-14. The woman who gave water to both he and his camels would be the one God chose for Isaac; this would be a sign of God's will. Rachelle's response was like that of Rebekah in the Bible; or was it? Now my mind began to race with wonder of the situation. Was this the hand of God or was I just getting my hopes up?

Rachelle: Upon finally joining HSA, I immediately received several greetings from others who were members. Out of all the greetings, one stood out and blessed me more than them all. While I’m sure everyone else was sincere in their greeting, Nathaniel’s greeting showed me that he had actually taken the time to read all of the information I had shared on my page…which was quite a bit. It blessed me, because I know that not everyone would take the time to do that. Most will see a visitor, write a welcome note, and move on. I wanted to thank him for such a thoughtful note and in my heart I was grateful for the time he had taken to learn about me instead of just seeing that there was someone new. Little did I know that his greeting and my response would produce a joyous change in both of our lives. 

“Hello Nathaniel! Thank you so much for your kind comment. It really blessed me! The Lord has indeed done so much for me and my family, and I will continually be grateful for His presence in our lives. I pray He uses us to reach out and bless many more! I also enjoyed your profile! You have such boldness in Christ. May the Lord be with you and shine His light upon you!” - Rachelle

 

December 24th, 2010

blizzardThe Christmas Eve meeting three months later was the first opportunity for us to meet in person. It was nearly a 5 hour drive out to Missouri to meet up with Rachelle's family who were spending Christmas with relatives. My whole family went along to meet this potentially new member to the family. As we drew near our destination I spoke with Rachelle's father over the phone for final directions and later learned that both Rachelle and I were straining to hear the other's voice come across the phone as neither of us had heard the other's voice previously. Though each family member on either side may have been totally calm, Rachelle and I felt a little awkward. The two people who could write pages of email messages to each other struggled to come up with words to speak, but we were full of joy. Certain individuals made comments eluding to our future together that were very uncomfortable to a couple people who were "just friends", but of course we all knew the intentions of the "friendship". Since all good things must come to an end (until we meet Jesus in heaven that is) so our time together did too, and it was a depressing moment, the hours having passed so quickly. We stared in one another's direction as long as we could until we had finally passed from sight. The drive home was through a most horrible blizzard that turned the trip into a 10 hour drive placing us home around 3am. -still those four wintery hours together were filled with memories that will last a lifetime. The new year was to bring a whole new set of joy to our lives.

The decision to meet on Christmas Eve was a rather sudden one. We would only be 5 hours from Indiana, and Nathaniel’s family offered to make the drive to meet our family. To say that I was excited would be an understatement. I was so ecstatic I could hardly contain myself! Yes, I was nervous too…and not just a little. The special thing about this meeting was that we would be seeing each other for the first time in the very church where my parents were married! I remember seeing his family’s van pull up in the church parking lot, and my heart began to race. When I saw them coming through the doors, I walked out and made my greeting rounds…ending with Nathaniel. Yeah…it Meetingwas awkward, hahaha! I had no idea what to say other than how wonderful it was to finally meet him! The shock of it all had me standing speechless. For 3 months, he had just been this dear friend online that I was corresponding with and now he was standing in front of me. As silly as it may sound, my thought was, “Wow! He actually is real!” We shook hands and then our families proceeded to enter the sanctuary where we talked and fellowshipped for the next 4 hours…our parents doing most of the talking. We were mostly observing…while the other wasn’t looking, of course. I do remember, however, sitting there and praying that he would be the man the Lord had chosen for me. There was something about him and something about his family that I really liked and as we joined in prayer in a circle as families, said our goodbyes, and separated, I took one final glance back at him with tears in my eyes as snowflakes landed on my eyelashes blocking my view……and my heart literally sank. I began having immediate withdrawals as I watched them drive out of view and knew that I wanted to be a part of their family. [photo on left is a later visit during our engagement to the church where we first met in Missouri.]

 

March 30 - April 7th, 2011

Only a few months after our meeting in Missouri I found myself on an 11 hour drive to Iowa to visit my best friend. The next 7 days proved to be some of the greatest joys and memories of my life. Between the walks at the lake, catering an event with her family, and laying pavers on a new back patio, Rachelle and I developed a stronger relationship than ever before. Knowing at this point that I wanted to marry Rachelle, I had determined to ask her father for Rachelle's hand in marriage though I didn't know what day I would find opportunity alone with him to do this. The days came and went (far too quickly) and I started to worry that I would let too much of the trip slip away before asking. Finally I had a chance to join her father running some errands in town. During the whole trip I kept trying to prepare myself to ask the question, but I realized that it was going to be harder to muster the courage to do so than I had previously thought. Of course I loved being with Rachelle's father and this occasion was no different, but it is amazing how hard it is to ask such a question when the situation arises! We were down to the last errand -going through the car wash. I thought, "Ok, Nathaniel, now's your last chance... ask! Well, maybe after we're in the car wash... maybe on the second cycle of the wash... it's too noisy, maybe on the 4th cycle... the 5th... ok, we're out of wash cycles and pulling out to drive home! Now or never!!!" And that's when I finally opened my mouth to ask permission for her hand in marriage, more specifically I asked for him to pray about giving me his permission to marry his daughter. We agreed to have the same conversation when we had the chance to sit down with Rachelle's mother as well; this opportunity came a couple mornings later. After a nice conversation they agreed to pray about my request and get back to me. A number of days after my return home I received that blessing, and my heart longed for the chance to come again and ask a very important question of my dearest friend…

“What?! Nathaniel is coming in 5 days?!?!” This was my response as my father got off the phone with him and shared with me the news. My heart raced spring tripwith excitement to know that he would finally be coming and I’d have much more time with him; not just time over email, IM, and Skype, but in person. The next few days were busy with planning as I tried to think of every way to make his stay as special as possible. When he finally arrived, there was a full week of joy as we all made such fun memories…all the while I was observing Nathaniel closely and was baffled constantly by his heart for the Lord and how perfectly he fit into our family. Once he left, I found several notes hidden throughout my room and a long letter hidden by my pillow with a couple of Kleenex inside.  He had hidden these so that they could be a form of comfort and encouragement after he left. I was in tears saying goodbye and watching him drive away, and he even shared in the letter that since he couldn’t be there for me when I was crying, that he had hidden Kleenex in the pages (how did he know?!). As I cried, they fell out onto the bed. My father later asked me what I thought about him, and my response was, “I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen and if the Lord’s will is that our friendship becomes something more, I will be very happy!” My prayer was that God would reveal His perfect will soon, because I had a growing appreciation for Nathaniel and desired for our friendship to be a lifelong one.

 

May 17th, 2011

The time had come… I spent a couple weeks packing my belongings as I made my final trip to Iowa. This time I parkwould be staying through the summer with the intention of getting married in August. Rachelle, however, did not know that this visit would extend beyond a couple weeks, that I would ask her to marry me, or that I would be coming for sure on that Tuesday evening. Actually I wanted my visit to be a surprise so I left her to believe that I was going on a trip with my family to visit relatives in Ohio and would be coming to Iowa later that week, something she didn't quite buy into. But when evening came and I hadn't shown up she gave up hope that I was coming that day. What actually happened is that I had arranged to stay with some very dear friends of ours whom I had met a month before at the Creation Museum in Kentucky; they graciously allowed me to stay at their house through the summer until the wedding in August. Upon my arrival I joined them for supper then drove to the next town to surprise Rachelle. Her father knew of my coming and helped me slip into the kitchen where Rachelle was baking cookies with her mother, her back turned to me. Standing a few feet behind her I asked, "How was supper?" She nearly had a heart attack as she spun around, shocked by my sudden appearance. We all had a good laugh as a very surprised Rachelle tried to come to the reality that I was actually there after giving up hope that I was coming. The events that followed on this final visit proved to be a blessing from God as our lives unfolded according to His perfect will.

All I knew was that Nathaniel would be coming for my youngest brother, Jonathan’s graduation reception to help us celebrate, but I didn’t realize how soon he’d be coming or how quickly he would be proposing.  After his arrival and the initial shock that he was indeed here a couple days earlier than I had expected (I had given up hope that he was coming that evening as shared above), I had all but concluded in my mind that with as short of a trip as this was going to be for him due to sudden plans for my father and brothers to make a trip to Haiti together, there wasn’t going to be time for a proposal.  I figured that he’d want to propose at a time when my whole family was home and could help us celebrate verses all the men being gone in Haiti while it took place.  I was quite disappointed.  My father and brothers had planned to leave only a couple days later and I honestly didn’t imagine that I would see him down on one knee between the present time and the moment they left.  Even though I had no idea that my father had given him their blessing for my hand in marriage, it wasn’t too hard to assume that it was headed in that direction.  I was basically just waiting and wondering when the proposal would take place, but as the hours and days went by one after the other, my mother tried to comfort me (she knew everything all along) as I was sure he’d be going home and that I wouldn’t see him for another few months.

 

May 24th, 2011

This was the day I had been waiting for… the day I would propose to the love of my life! The sun was shining and made for a beautiful day. I dressed in the same outfit I had worn 5 months earlier on the day we first met in Missouri. Rachelle and I spent the afternoon taking a 3 mile walk snapping pictures of one another for which we got in trouble by a local agricultural company who thought we were taking pictures of their facilities. But as Rachelle’s father pointed out to them in a later phone call, “These were obviously a couple well dressed love birds on a stroll taking pictures ofthemselves.” As the evening approached the weather changed and brought dark clouds and threat of rain! “Great!” I thought, “What do I do now?” I decided to go forward with my plans and prayed for the Lord to give us good weather. I went to Jonathan, Rachelle’s brother, and asked if he would join us in a walk at the lake. At firstproposal he was hesitant to come, that is until I told him that I was about to propose to Rachelle. His eyes widened and he swiftly joined us in our trip to the lake. As we reached the lake the weather by God's mercy cleared and a glorious sunshine gave a wonderfully bright and welcoming light. Rachelle grew suspicious when I pulled a bag from the vehicle and proceeded on our walk along the lakeside. I had planned for Jonathan to take over the photography when it came time for the proposal (and might I add he did an excellent job!). I took Rachelle to the place where she had my favorite picture of her taken the year before. I told her my story which she hadn’t heard before about praying for her 8 months previous as written at the beginning of this story. I then shared the tale of my dear friendship with a special young lady in my life whose father I had asked and received permission to marry his daughter. I talked about meeting this wonderful woman 3 months to the day after I prayed for her, “And 5 months later I have one question to ask you, Rachelle, will you marry me?” And she said, “With all of my heart!”

When Nathaniel arrived at our home that morning, he was dressed up nicely, and I wondered throughout the day why he was wearing a nice dress shirt and dress pants. I didn’t inquire of him, but the question did linger in my thoughts. After taking a nice, long walk that afternoon, we got home and I started to make supper. As I put it in the oven, lakeNathaniel approached me and asked if I’d like to go to Storm Lake and take a walk. I shared that supper would probably be ready in a short time and asked if we could maybe go afterward. I didn’t realize that he had certain intentions and didn’t want it to get dark! He seemed rather anxious, and as he continued to request a walk in Storm Lake before supper, I finally agreed. He kept waiting for one of my brothers to get home, and eventually disappeared upstairs to talk to Jonathan. He had mentioned something about one of them coming with us. When Jonathan emerged downstairs, his face was quite flushed and he didn’t say much. It was about at that point that I began to get suspicious that something was going to happen. We drove to Storm Lake, got out, and began to walk. I noticed Nathaniel taking a bag out of the back of his car trunk. I was very suspicious at that point. He later told me that he kept thinking I would ask him what it was, but in my mind I knew I’d eventually find out and didn’t want to ruin a surprise if that’s what he had planned. We finally came to a special tree where I had taken a picture a year back…a picture that had become his favorite of me. It was at this time that Jonathan stayed a few yards back taking pictures while Nathaniel explained to me why we were standing there. He shared his special story with me, which took me completely by surprise, and then after his romantic, emotional speech, got down on one knee in front of me and asked me to marry him. Ah! That moment! I’ll never forget it. I had already decided in my heart years back what I would say to the man who asked me that question. So with tears in my eyes and a voice full of emotion, I said, “With all of my heart!” That moment the clouds cleared from the sky, and the sun shone so brightly causing the lake to sparkle like diamonds. I literally felt as if the Lord did that for us as a way of telling us how pleased He was…it was Him smiling down in approval on our lives. Nathaniel then presented me with a purple lacquered rose (he had asked my mother for advice and decided it was best that we look for rings together) and opening his Bible, shared Psalm 100…a Psalm of praise to the Lord for His faithfulness to us. 

That evening was spent calling up family to share the exciting news, and then after a very late supper (the rest of the family had already eaten) and a time of talking, he handed me a gift.  I opened it to find a beautiful journal with a fancy set of pens.  Inside the journal was a love note explaining how we would spend time writing down and explaining events in our lives from that point and on into the rest of our future together.  Right before leaving for the night, he asked me another important question, “So…when do you want to get married?!”  Haha!  My heart was so full at the moment with everything that had just taken place that the reality of my engagement had yet to sink in.  The thought of a wedding date hadn’t even entered my mind!  I replied with, “Um…I don’t know…when do you want to get married?”  His response was, “Well, I was thinking late July to early August…”  I exclaimed, “What?!  In 10 weeks?!?!”  He shared with me, “I have waited to marry you for 8 months…I’m not waiting any longer!!!”  Thus began all the planning from the betrothal to the wedding.

June 11th, 2011

calendarThe weeks that followed the proposal were very exciting, and we celebrated with family and relatives at our betrothal ceremony on June 11th. In betrothal, as seen in Scripture between Joseph and Mary, a couple is considered married in every way except physically. Of course our government does not recognize this, but the level of commitment by betrothal was that we considered ourselves completely bound to one another.  Coincidentally, the friends I was staying with had a tear off calendar that happened to have the image to the left for June 11th.

 

 

The following was my betrothal commitment to Rachelle before our family and relatives:

My Dearest Rachelle,pouring the cup

When I was 8 years old the concern of who I would marry someday entered my mind, and I began an era of prayer for my future wife. I asked the Lord for a woman whose heart was pure with a desire to love and serve Jesus Christ above all things, including myself. I wanted a woman who would devote herself to the will of God and daily build a personal relationship with our Savior. I sought a wife who would love me and be my faithful, best friend for all of my life, and would invest herself into being the greatest nurturing mother to our children, helping me to raise them in the care and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. I put my trust and prayer in the hands of our Creator knowing that He had a perfect will and plan for my life. Fifteen years later on September 25, 2010 He introduced me to you and showed me the masterpiece that He has been perfecting for over 23 years. Your life, faith, and virtue has met and exceeded everything I ever asked of God.

Today, knowing that the Lord created us wonderfully for one another according to the pleasure of His good will, I thank my Jesus for the infinite blessing I now have in you. Believing that our Almighty Father intends for us to be united in marriage, I, Nathaniel, in the presence of God and these witnesses betroth myself to you. I vow to shortly take you as my precious bride and promise to love you and remain faithful to you alone. I will save my virginity and my first kiss until the day that God makes us one, and we have said, “I do.” I will treasure you for all of my life and would be honored to carry the title of ‘your husband’. If you accept my offer of commitment to marriage, then please express your consent visually by drinking of the cup which I shall pour for you and take my heart which is now yours forever more!

washing feetOur betrothal was a very special time for me! It was a day that I had dreamed of and waited for! I had written a special poem that I would read for my betrothed husband on that day, and though I didn’t know who he was when I wrote it, I longed to share it with him! I also had a purity ring that I had gotten at the age of 16, and my plan was to give him my ring as a symbol of my purity and the giving of my heart as I read the poem. The following are the words that I dedicated and wrote for the man that the Lord would bring into my life...the Godly young man that ended up being Nathaniel.

 

BELOVED

BELOVED, I am yours, and long with patience for the day,
When at the trumpet's sound you come to carry me away.
I've reserved my heart with purity and kept it just for you;
I want to bring you joy, MY LOVE, in everything I do.

Take this ring and take my heart to clasp it to your own.
A symbol of my life in Christ, the only truth I've known.
With it you'll unlock my heart to open what is yours.
A love pure and spotless will come bursting through its doors.

I'm to be the one you can trust to share your grief.
I'm to be the one on whom you lean to find relief.
I'm here to love and cherish you with all that's in my heart,
BELOVED, this I promise you until death do us part.

I promise to be there for you in sickness and in health;
I promise to encourage you through poverty and wealth;
I promise I will share the joys and sorrows of your life;
I promise you with all my heart I'll be a faithful wife.

I promise you my faithfulness will reach beyond the skies.
I pray that you'll see virtue when you look into my eyes.
I hope that when I speak, my voice is music to your ears,
And may each tender touch grow sweeter through the years.

As we're blessed with children; our little girls and boys;
And memories unfold with the sorrows and the joys.
May Jesus Christ alone be the image others see,
When they observe the actions of our Godly family.

Yes, MY LOVE, BELOVED, ever patiently I'll wait.
He will fulfill His promises however soon or late.
Together in His timing we'll unite, becoming one;
Forevermore rejoicing in the life we have begun.

Dedicated to my beloved future husband
Written in 2009

So as shared above, I read this poem, presented my ring, and then shared that the Lord had laid it on my heart to wash and anoint his feet as a symbol of my respect and honor towards him. I therefore proceeded to get a tub and a pitcher of water with a bar of soap and wash his feet in the presence of all our friends and family.  Then I anointed his feet with “Lily of the valley” scented oil.  This oil represented purity of heart, and that is what we wanted our whole friendship and relationship in Christ to portray. To finalize our betrothal, we had found a ring set that we both loved, and Nathaniel, right then and there, put the engagement ring on my finger in the presence of everyone. After prayer, the rest of the evening was spent celebrating with friends and family. I also had plans to stay the night with my cousins at my grandmother's house (which is where the ceremony took place) and so I quickly went home with one of my cousins to get clothing for the next day, and upon entering my room I saw pink love/heart notes all over the place and then a love letter in the middle of my bed with imitation white rose petals strewn everywhere around it. What an amazing, romantic, Godly man I was blessed with! That evening was so precious and it ended so perfectly!

 

August 6th, 2011

weddingThe wedding was certainly a day of rejoicing, but it comes with much stress as well. The weeks (and particularly the days) that preceded the wedding were so busy and chaotic that the day of the wedding was more of a relief that preparations were over, now came the celebration! We had amazing family and friends who came from 10 states across the nation: California, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Illinois! What a blessing to see so many loved ones coming to support our marriage; we are so grateful to all of you who blessed us so deeply!

The theme of our wedding was being prepared spiritually for the return of Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom of the saints. For bride’s maids, my wife had 10 virgins representing the parable in Matthew 25:1-13 (though in this case all 10 represented wise virgins). For groom’s men I had 4 virgins; all together there were 16 of us standing at the alter of the Lord as pure virgins abiding in His will for our lives. In line with this theme we put together a video based on the Pure Bride song by Leeland which you can watch on our Pure Bride Video link. I do not share this to boast but benchrather to give glory to God and encourage others that saving your purity for marriage is a holy and commendable choice pleasing to Christ and certainly not impossible as evidenced by our entire wedding party being pure before the Lord. For those of you who may not have kept your purity as the Lord would desire, do not give up now. Save what you have for your spouse and bring honor to the Lord; you are not inferior because of a sinful mistake. God is quick to forgive and forget when you repent before Him. He will still count you worthy and pure in His sight if you yield yourself to Him. Choose this day whom you will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Many would ask was it worth it? The answer is a resounding YES! To not only save our virginity but also our first kiss for each other on our wedding day were the greatest gifts we could have ever given to one another. Were we experienced on our first kiss? …no, not really. But it doesn’t matter; learning together knowing that it is something only shared together is completely worth it in the end. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Living for Christ has always been and always will be the best decision anyone can ever make.

Our wedding felt miraculous…because it was!  In my mind I had planned out everything like most little girls usually do! For years I had this visual of what I wanted, and how we pulled it off in 10 weeks, I do not know.  What I do know is that the Lord was gracious to us and the help we had was simply amazing and very much appreciated! As shared above I had 10 virgins and they had lamps that lit up representing being ready at all times for the coming of the Bridegroom! We also had a horse that Nathaniel rode upon to come for me as his bride. We filmed him riding it Wedding Party 10 Virginsand played it on a big screen for all to see after a trumpet sounded in the background while everyone was seated. The lights dimmed down, and there on the screen was my Groom riding on the horse coming for me. To the video we played “Pure Bride” by Leeland. The music playing to the video was so amazingly powerful…I am just taken back to that day whenever I watch it or even hear the song! After the video was played, the remainder of the song played as my 10 virgins walked out with their lamps 2 at a time, one down the left aisle and one down the right aisle (there was a left, center, and right aisle) until 5 each were lining the left and right sides. Once again a trumpet was sounded, a scripture proclaimed about the groom about to make his entrance, and Nathaniel came down the left aisle with his 4 groomsmen close behind…2 on the left side and 2 on the right. Nathaniel wore white while the groomsmen wore black. Once they were all at the front, I then walked down the center aisle on my father’s arm…a very emotional moment! The ceremony was very special and the congregational setting was special also. We had tables set up in a dinner theater arrangement so that everyone was seated at a table and watching/hearing everything take place.

Pouring Unity SandOur choice of songs for worship were, "The Stand" and "In The Secret". We poured unity sand verses doing the unity candle; my husband poured a royal purple, which represented the royalty of Christ. I poured white, which represented the purity of the Bride, and finally, my father joined us by pouring in silver, which represented the presence of the Holy Spirit in our union. To the pouring of the unity sand my brother, Josiah, played his guitar and sang, "When I Say I Do" by Matthew West. The song we played during the time that our parents came up and prayed over us towards the end was, "Rejoicing In His Love" by Norm Wakefield.  Both of the latter songs mentioned hold a very special place in my heart.

As a side note relevant to the wedding, it's funny and neat how God works. I didn't realize this until after I was married, but I had written a poem titled, “I Will Choose To Smile!” based on rough times in Nigeria when we were there as a family and then the fact that I greatly desired to have a husband of my own. So it was written as a means of...well you could say, "surrendering" those hopes and desires and choosing to smile in the midst of my waiting and everything else I was dealing with. So anyway, I put together a video with this poem I had written...then after I was married, I went back to view the video. To my utter surprise I saw something I hadn't ever noticed before. If you look at the very beginning, the date of the video is August 6, 2010. God blew me away...I married exactly a year later on August 6, 2011....and we marched back down the aisle to the very song in the video. 

The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways. What an awesome thing to know that after surrendering with that poem, I got married a year later on the same day. God hears your prayers...every one of them. For those of you still waiting for that special someone...just watch as He works out the details and then astonishes you with them later!
If you’re interested in viewing the video, click here: I Will Choose To Smile!


Okay, back to the original explanation of our story…

We had also written out/modified our own wedding vows.  During the whole ceremony and between the different stages and events, I was very much worried that I would be so nervous that I would shake or that my voice would tremble from the anxiety I was feeling.  However, I was greatly surprised that as I stood up in front of all our witnesses and gave myself to my husband, I was extremely calm and the anxiety left my heart.  My hands never shook as I read my vows and my voice was smooth.  I knew that it was the Lord giving me His peace as I embraced everything going on around me on this most special day in my life!  To be able to exchange vows, rings, and then our first kiss was incredible!  Everything felt like such a dream…but you know how you normally wake up from dreams you hope to be a reality?  Well, this one was a reality…and I was actually living in that reality.  It was an answer to prayers I had prayed from my childhood.  I had a longing to be a wife someday, and in a matter of just 2 hours…I was the wife of the man of my dreams.  That first kiss was something I had waited for as well, and believe me, it seemed as if that special moment would never come.  When it did, there were fireworks going off in my heart!  For those who are interested, I wrote a blog a while back titled, “My First Kiss ~ Was it everything I dreamed it would be?” See it on the First Kiss page.    

To conclude our story, after the wedding and reception, we hugged everyone, said our thank you’s and goodbyes to family and friends, and drove off into the gorgeous sunset beginning our lives together as husband and wife!!  Praise the Lord!!!