Wedding Pictures!

Here they are! Some of the photos from our wedding!! Some of the people in our wedding photos, however, do not like their pictures to be on the internet, so in order to respect them, there won’t be many pictures of the families, or wedding party 🙂  So in other words, there will only be ‘before ceremony’ and ‘after ceremony’ photos 🙂

My GORGEOUS wedding dress! Which Kyle’s mom spent a lot of work on altering it…I think we took 10″ off the length 🙂

Sara in Mirror

Sara by Window

Kyle against wall

My very handsome husband!!!

Kyle

Waiting for the ceremony to start!!

Waiting for the ceremony to start!!

Our very first kiss!!

Our very first kiss!!

Kyle & Sara Sepia with Flowers

If you look close, you'll notice I'm not wearing shoes :)   There was a reason for that......  My grandpa that passed away back in April, always called me his 'hillbilly' or 'redneck' granddaughter, since I was always going barefoot every chance I got!  So I thought, what better way to remember him on my wedding day than by going barefoot :)  <3

If you look close, you’ll notice I’m not wearing shoes 🙂 There was a reason for that…… My grandpa that passed away back in April, always called me his ‘hillbilly’ or ‘redneck’ granddaughter, since I was always going barefoot every chance I got! So I thought, what better way to remember him on my wedding day than by going barefoot 🙂 ❤

Kissing

Marriage Certifacte

Our BEAUTIFUL wedding cake that was made by our sister-in-law!

Our BEAUTIFUL wedding cake that was made by our sister-in-law!

Cutting Cake

Getting ready…..

This was fun!  Although with me being shorter, most of his cake went up his nose!

This was fun! Although with me being shorter, most of his cake went up his nose!

So in love :)

So in love 🙂

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”

Mark 10:9

An Update on Us :)

In the past few months since my last blog post, a lot has happened! Time flew quickly (although at times it seemed to crawl for us!), and on June 28th, Kyle & I got engaged 🙂 It wasn’t really a surprise, since we already had a date set and wedding plans were well under way, but it was still special!

Kyle and I went into town to pick up my ring, and on the way back to the van, we sat on a park bench, and he proceeded to ask me to marry him 🙂 I barely let him get the words out before I answered with a huge smile and the words “Indubitably!”.

It has been so amazing how God has continued to bless Kyle and I, as we continue to serve Him!!

Kyle & Sara2

It was TOTALLY worth the wait!!!

It’s All Been Worth the Wait!

Here it is!  The final part of our story!  Instead of doing 2 separate posts, I’m combining it all into one….my side in regular font, and Kyle’s in italics 🙂   It still amazes me just how God worked everything out!  It has DEFINETLY been worth the wait!!  ❤

The talk

The next Tuesday, as I was traveling back to the dentist to get my stitches out, my dad called me and said that I should pick up Sara, take her with me,  and tell her what God was doing in my life; with my back and where my relationship was with her.  I was like totally shocked…and so not ready for a phone call like that. I remember thinking, ‘this will never fly!  There is no way they are going to let her go with me.”   I was a little nervous but I made the call and to my surprise they said she could go.  Needless to say, Sara was even more surprised and nervous than I was, but the trip went well and we had a good talk.

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Lets jump ahead to December 11th, 2012 🙂

It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and I was all cozy in bed, taking a much needed nap, when mom came in, woke me up and said, “Kyle just called. He’s on his way into town and he wants to stop by and talk to you.”…  my response?…  “I was sleeping so good!  Why did you wake me up?!”….but once I was up and getting around, her words suddenly hit me!  My heart started pounding!  My mind raced…what did he want to talk to me about?!  Why was he coming?!

I was such a bundle of nerves, that once I was around, I grabbed my Bible and started reading, trying to get my mind settled down while I waited for his arrival.  I didn’t have to wait long, thankfully, since he was almost to our place when he called.

I prayed real quick, took a deep breath….and headed downstairs…my heart still pounding.  He was standing in the kitchen doorway talking to mom.  When I walked in, mom asked where we wanted to talk at, and he asked if I could just go with him into town.  Mom said that was fine, and off we went.

I was dying to ask him what was going on, but chose to keep my mouth shut and let him start.  He started off with small talk, but about a mile down the road, he began telling me his reason for wanting to talk to me.  He asked me how I would feel about marrying him, and I said “I’m for it”.  He went on to tell me what God did in him on Journey, and how he had heard from God that I was the one he was going to marry, and even had a confirmation verse that the Lord had given him.

Long story short, this led to us starting to text and talk more often…with the approval of our parents of course! 🙂

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The ‘pieces of the puzzle’ start to fit!

A few weeks went by.  I had been calling around to see what I could find out on my back. I also was doing a lot of praying, and you might say a little bit of crying out to God… I wasn’t sure what to do.  Finally it seemed like everything was pointing to the prolotherapy, so I called and made my first appointment. I had done a lot of research  to see what prolotherapy was all about and it all sounded really good… until I watched a youtube video of what they do… wow!  I remember thinking, ‘that looks like a lot of shots! and I didn’t even know they made needles that big!’  Well anyways, I stared traveling to Lansing every two weeks and getting the treatments.

 It has taken some time, and quite a few treatments, but my back is almost back to the way it should be.  And all this happened because of a bum tooth, and Gods perfect timing.

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December 21st, I was praying and just asking God for a confirmation verse, so I knew that this was truly from Him and what He desired for me.  He gave me the last part of Isaiah 30:21…”This is the way; walk in it.”  Needless to say….I was excited!!

March 12th, Kyle was at our place, and we were talking about our Journey’s and he told me how his leaders had all the guys write out a list of things they needed to surrender to God, kayak across the lake to a certain spot, and burn it.  He said my name was on that list.  As he was describing the place he had burned his note, my jaw about hit the floor….it was that same place I had buried mine…only he had burned his on the ‘lake’ side of the path!!

It amazes me how God used both of us completely surrendering each other to Him, before He started moving us toward courtship!

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The Courtship “officially” begins!!

 I had talked with Sara’s dad and was planning on asking her to start courting me on the 17th of April.  You say ‘why the 17th?’…… well, that day would be the 9 year anniversary of when I first met her back in 2004. But once again things didn’t go as I had planned.  Sara’s grandpa passed away on the 11th and Sara’s dad wanted me to be a pallbearer, and sit with their family,  so I decided to start courting a few days early.  So on the 12th I totally surprised her by showing  up and asking her if she would court me. I don’t know if she just wanted the roses I was holding,  but she said yes!        

It seemed like that day was never going to come but it finally did.  You should have seen Sara’s face when I asked her!  She was so excited she could hardly squeaked out a yes.  I feel so blessed to be getting to know this Godly woman who loves me so much.

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Even though we were pretty much ‘courting’ since the 11th of December, due to Kyle having back problems, and having to do prolotherapy treatments to heal it, we didn’t go ‘official’…we wanted to see how well the prolotherapy would work and if he would be able to work.

We had some VERY discouraging times along the way!

But April 12th 2013…Kyle and I ‘officially’ started courting!  🙂  He is the most amazing man ever, and I am so blessed to have him!!!

I love you Kyle Ray!!!! 🙂

 

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Wisdom Teeth & Prolotherapy….

Due to the fact that Kyle has more written about his ‘journey’ after Journey to the Heart, there won’t be a post with my side of the story…only his.  He went through a lot more struggles than I did during this time, although I did have my share of questions, confusion, and wondering if any thing would ever happen between him and I, or if God had really taken him away for good.

So…without further ado….I give you…

Wisdom Teeth & Prolotherapy….

I don’t remember exactly how long it was after I got back from journey, but it was at least a few weeks, I was having some back troubles and was sitting around  a lot, so I used that time to do a lot of reading and praying.  It was a hard time, you might say,  for my physical health, but a very good time of Spiritual growth for me.  I had been reading  most of the day in Daniel and had a few really good verses that just really seemed to leap off the page at me, when I decided to start reading in Ecclesiastes.   I thought ‘this is different.  I was sure enjoying Daniel , and I am not getting anything out of this book’. I was just about to stop…and then I got to chapter 9 and that is when God decided to say something to me.  Verses 7-10 are the ones that He used to confirm the ‘yes’ He had given me a few weeks earlier on Journey.  I am so glad that I have a God that cares about me and desires to speak to me through His word, if only I would be patient and quiet long enough to hear Him.

So now the struggle really began. I knew what I was supposed to do now, but I had a problem…my back.  Ever since I had gotten back from Journey, my back had been really bothering me.  I had been going to chiropractor after chiropractor, but to no avail.  So I was at a loss as to what my next step was that I was supposed to take, because I could not even start to think about getting married with the way my back was.  So now I was seeking God on a whole new set of issues.  I decided that I was not going to pursue anything with Sara until I knew what was going to happen with my back.

I remember it was a Friday evening and I was sitting out in my deer stand, hunting, when I noticed that my mouth was starting to hurt in the back on my right side and I was getting a bad head ache.  I remember thinking,  ‘great my back is really hurting and now I have a tooth that is giving me fits’ (and I hate dentists).   The next day I tried calling my dentist but to no avail.  I couldn’t get a hold of him and he didn’t even have a answering machine. Just my luck to have troubles on a weekend.  So I  managed to live off of Tylenol until Monday.  Monday morning there was still no answer at my dentist.  By this time I was pretty desperate.  I had called a few more dentists in the area and found out that this wasn’t going to be a cheap endeavor and I was starting to pray a little harder…’God, where can I find a dentist that I can get into today to get this over with?’. 

I had just hung up the phone and started texting Sara’s brother. I said something to him about trying to find a dentist  but didn’t think anymore of it.  Awhile later he sent me another text saying that he had talked with Sara and she recommended the one she had gone to to have her wisdom teeth pulled. He gave me the number but they were already closed for that day, so, on Tuesday I called. I was so happy to hear that they could get me in later that day, and that it wasn’t going to cost as much as I’d thought. 

Finally, Tuesday evening, I was sitting in a dentist chair with my mouth wide open.  The doctor was just getting ready to start numbing my mouth so he could pull my aching wisdom tooth, when my arm flinched like it usually did,  from the muscle spasms in my back.  I remember him looking at me like, ‘that was weird, are you ok?’  That’s when I told him about my back troubles, and that was why I had flinched. I was really amazed at what he told me next.  He said that he had had back troubles like I was having, and that he had these treatments called prolotherapy that really helped him. He said that his back was the best it has ever been after having the therapy.  He pulled my tooth, gave me a pamphlet on the prolotherapy, and said that he would see me in a week to pull the stitches in my mouth.  I went home and was thinking, ‘wow God,  is this of you, or what should I do?’  This prolotherapy thing sounded good, but at the same time a little weird…and painful! 

 TO BE CONTINUED!

Full Surrender…

Full Surrender…

2011 and 2012 were hard years but very good years for my spiritual growth.  I feel like I have learned so much, but yet I know so little, if you know what I mean.  In 2012 I went again to the WIT conference with an eagerness to see what God would have for me!  I have never been to any other conference that has helped me so much.  

Now jumping ahead to Fall of 2012.  My sister had been on a Journey to the Heart the year before and I could see a huge work that God was doing in her life through it, so I really wanted to go on one.  Through a string of circumstances I ended up going on the last one for the guys in October.

Let me back up and tell you what I was going through in the few months before that……I was really wanting to get married or at least know what God was wanting me to be doing with my life. I had been talking with my parents about what I should be doing, with life in general, and about that little woman, Sara.  I was really wanting to know what God was wanting me to do, so I was really feeling like I needed to get away and seek out what God wanted for my life, and the direction He wanted me to go.

So Saturday, October 20th, 2012 I left for journey  I was headed for Chicago, and then the upper peninsula.  The first miracle was that I made it to Chicago without ever making a wrong turn or getting lost…. I really did feel like God was watching out for me – I really hate driving in the city.  Anyways, the journey had begun.  Monday we left for the Northwoods.   The Northwoods was just what I needed.  It was awesome!  Pine trees everywhere,  and a huge lake with a beautiful lodge…by the way, I love water and especially fishing.  It felt like just the place that I needed to be.  We had some great leaders for our group;  I couldn’t have asked for any better ones.

We went through a lot of great material and some awesome sermons.  And then came Thursday…… it was the day of fasting.  We had just gone through a few sessions and taken a break when they said we were all heading up to the lodge.  Once we got to the lodge, our leaders asked us to take a piece of paper and write out a list of things that God was asking us to give up or yield to him. I wrote out a few things, but the main thing that was pressing me was my relationship with Sara. I felt like He was telling me that I should totally die to ever pursuing her in marriage… and that was the last thing that I wanted to do.  But I finally did it; I wrote her name on the list.  After we had our papers filled out, we were suppose to kayak across the lake and burn our list and give it all to God.  It was a big lake and it was a long kayak trip, so I had a lot of time to think and pray.

I can remember trying to reason with God as to why I needed to give up on this relationship that I wanted so bad.  It seemed like God was saying ‘do you really want to know what I have in store for you?’ ……and I felt like I wouldn’t know until I yielded this issue.  It was a long trip across the lake, but I finally made it.  I burned the letter and made my way back to the lodge, still uncertain about Sara, but I knew I had done the right thing.  At the lodge our leaders gave us a clean sheet of paper and some time alone to write out what God was telling us to do, now that we had given up some things that He didn’t want in our lives.  

I remember sitting up in the dining room at the lodge looking out over the lake with my elbows on the window sill.  I had written down some things that I knew I needed to do,  but there was still something that was really troubling me, what was I going to do now that I had given Sara to God?…. what did he want from me know?  I remember praying, “God is Sara the one that I should pursue in marriage?” and then I just sat there… it was so quiet, and I felt like asking God if He even heard me,  but I remained quiet…. and then the answer came.  All I remember was a clear “yes”,  and that’s all that God seemed to say was “yes”…… I was so excited!  But at the same time I was like, “God was that really you? Did you really just say that?”  So my next prayer was, “God give me a portion of scripture to confirm what you are telling me.”  So now I was waiting for confirmation, and it wasn’t till after Journey that I got it.  But one thing I have learned is,  God’s timing is never off and He is doing all things for my good.   

TO BE CONTINUED

2012…Heartache

2012…Heartache

The roller coaster continued, and July 2012, at the WIT conference again, Kyle and I got a chance to talk, just the 2 of us, and we talked about a lot of things…including where our hearts were regarding each other…they were pretty much in the same place!

At this point, we still weren’t talking to each other a whole lot, except when our families were together…no phone calls, not talking to each other a lot at church.

2012 seemed to fly by, and I kept anxiously awaiting to see where our relationship would go.

October 20th 2012 was one of the HARDEST times I have EVER been through….Kyle left for Journey to the Heart.  I’ll be honest and say I cried quite a bit while he was gone…and also through this time, I was somewhat desiring to go on the girls Journey in November, but had no clear direction from God…I had mixed feelings about it…if I stayed home, I’d get to see Kyle sooner…but if I went, it would be a total of 32 days that I wouldn’t see him or hear from him.  I ended up going.

My heart and mind were on Kyle however….

November 6th, while I was reading my Bible, God gave me the verse,  Malachi 3:10 – “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

I instantly knew He was asking, once again, for my relationship with Kyle…I had ‘given’ it to Him so many times before, but always took it back…never really wanting to completely die to it.

November 8th – our day of fasting on Journey – I wrote out a note of surrender, giving Kyle completely to God…even if it meant I wouldn’t marry him…took the note, and set off on a walk.  When I first knew I wanted to bury the note, a certain place around the lake came right to mind, and I headed for that spot.  It was a spot along the trail, where the trees stopped, and  the lake came to the edge of the path…and there was swamp land on the other side of the path.

I had to bury the note under a rock on the ‘swamp’ side of the path, since the ground was frozen too much for me to dig a hole.

My heart ached, and after I buried the note, I remember crying and asking God, “Why are you doing this to me?!  Why did you even bring me here?!”

TO BE CONTINUED

Love at First Sight…

Love at First Sight ❤

At 15 I had never really thought about getting married, but on April 17th 2004 my mind was changed…..

We had just come from Hillsdale and stopped at the Littley’s (A new family that had bought a house from our friends).  We were standing out in their drive, talking to Mr. Littley, when Sara made her first appearance.  She must have been spying on us, because all of a sudden she came out around the back side of their garage, asked her dad something and then ran back.  To this day I can still remember what she was wearing,  and the thoughts that were running through my mind…..I remember thinking,  “wow she’s kinda cute”….and “if I was ever going to get married she would be a good one”….I know that’s a lot to  be thinking for the first time I’d ever seen her, but that’s the way it happened.

From that point on it was just a time of waiting till I could see her again 🙂  Like Sara said, our families did a lot together so I did see her quite often.  The more I got to know her, the more I realized that I did like her…….a lot! 

Over the next few years, my heart was really drawn to this cute little woman and, needless to say, not to where it should have been.  I started to talk to her more often and called her frequently.  It was not under my parents’  permission that I did this, so, when they found out that I was calling her secretly,  it was time to talk…… Needless to say I was not allowed to talk to her after that, and I was under strict  guide lines when our families got together.  The next  few months were really hard for me, as were the next four and a half years

Speeding ahead to 2010…..There was a WIT conference coming up that some of my friends were going to….. I had heard about this WIT conference and did not want to go.  I knew they would be dealing with issues I had had a lot of trouble in like lust, wrong relationships, and a lot of other things.  So, much to my regret,  I didn’t go that year.  But Sara did, and when she came back I could tell that something had changed in her…a change for the good….a change that I wanted in my life.

So the next year, when the same WIT conference came around, I went….. very reluctantly.  The next 4 days at the conference were life changing for me, I so wished I had gone the year before.  I had an awesome table leader that took us through a lot of deep issues that I needed to go through.  I saw God in a totally new light after that conference, and felt His love like never before… anyways I will have to save all that story for another time.

God was doing a great work in my heart and life at that time, and molding me into the man He wanted me to be. I realized, like Sara had said, that I had a soul tie with her.  I knew that it wasn’t right, so shortly after the conference, I requested that our families meet together,  and I ‘confessed’ the whole soul tie thing, and other issues that were in my life at that time. I felt like it was the hardest time of my life right then, but I have never felt so free in my spirit!

To Be Continued 🙂

Just A Friend…or is He?

You’ve all been waiting very patiently for our Courtship Story, and here it is! Well, part 1 anyway… it’s too long to put into 1 blog post, so you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to read it all 😉 Kyle and I both wrote our sides of the story, so you will be able to see just what each of us went through…this post is part 1 of mine 🙂

Just A Friend….or is He?

April 17th, 2004. I would have been 13 years old.  I don’t remember this day, but Kyle does, and in the following blog post is his recollection of when he first met me 🙂

But for me, I have to jump ahead to April 20th, 2004…this I partially remember!  My dad used to keep honey bees, and when Mr. Viers found out, he wanted to get started into keeping bees as well, so on that Spring day, Mr. Viers, Kyle, and his brother Seth, all came up to scrape out bee boxes and get them ready.

I remember watching them scrape the boxes out, and afterwards we stood outside of the barn and talked for awhile…I was totally clueless at this point about the way Kyle felt about me…and in fact I would stay that way for close to 3 years.

I guess the first clear memory I have of Kyle, would be when we went to their house for dinner the first time, April 30th, 2004 🙂  Mr. Viers sent Kyle and the boys outside to get the grill started, and Kyle’s sister, Sarah, and I followed along.  As I watched Kyle put the lighter fluid on the grill and get it going (he was goofing around just a bit), I thought “this guys gonna get burned, I just know he is..”  Yeah…not the sweetest first memory, but it’s true!  I feel bad about this part, but when I first met him, I could not remember his name!  I always referred to him as ‘the other brother’.

Over the next couple of years, our families did a lot together 🙂  I grew up with a brother, mostly guy friends, and the neighbor kids were always boys…so I was comfortable talking with guys, and had no problem as seeing them as ‘just friends’.  So in 2006, when Kyle started talking to me more, and would even call to talk to me on the phone, I didn’t even think anything about it.

December 5th, 2007…Mom and Dad went out to dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Viers, and talked about Kyle and I, and decided we needed to not talk so much, or spend so much time together.  It came as a surprise to me since I still sort of thought of him as only a friend…and thus began the emotional roller coaster ride that I thought would never stop!….February 12th, 2008, I realized I truly missed talking to him.

As you can imagine, the next four and a half years were incredibly difficult, and a lot of changes took place. I didn’t know what would come of the situation…I didn’t know how Kyle felt about me…I was trying not to get too attached…trying to let God have control of it all.

In 2010, I attended my first WIT conference, and realized that I had formed a soul-tie with Kyle…I talked to Mrs. Viers a little bit when I got back, but not much changed between Kyle and I.  In 2011, I attended the WIT conference again, and this time Kyle also attended.  August 16th, just 2 days after getting back from the conference, Kyle and his family came up and he ‘confessed’ to having a soul-tie with me as well.  At this time, one of our parents didn’t have a peace about letting us enter a courtship, so we didn’t pursue it.  But it was nice to know where Kyle’s heart was at.

TO BE CONTINUED 🙂

ANNOUNCING!!!!!!

Okay….so this has to be my most exciting blog post by far!!!

On Friday, my dreams came true when I opened up our front door, and there he stood….he pulled a dozen red roses out from under his jacket and said “Would you officially start courting me today?”  A huge smile on my face and almost in tears, I managed to squeal “YES!”.

My Prince Charming has arrived!

Kyle & Sara

Me & My Hero, Kyle V.

Janel (Brumbaugh) Yoder

 

“Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?  Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.  Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love?”  (Jeremiah 2:23-33a)

 

            I admit, those words were more than a little discouraging to me at the time.  It was 1999 and I was 18 years old.  I’d just returned from a few months in Moscow, where I’d been working at an orphanage and was praying for direction.  I’d been hoping that God was about to reveal His plan to bring my Prince Charming into my life, but was surprised at His response to my question.  It wasn’t time.  Not at all.  I didn’t know the first thing about being a wife because I hadn’t spent time learning how to love God.  There was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be some time down the road for me and that the Lord’s desire was for me to learn to seek Him and love Him and serve Him.  Not just while I was waiting for my prince, but because loving God and knowing God was the very reason for my existence.

            Thus began several years of seeking the Lord, learning who He was, and finding a true pleasure and delight in a growing relationship with Him.  “When Thou saidst ‘seek ye my face,’ my heart said unto Thee, ‘Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” (Ps 27:8)  This verse became the true cry of my heart and continues to be one I return to often to express my thoughts.

            I returned to Russia for another school year.  Upon returning home, I stayed busy with housework and helping my mom with my younger siblings’ schoolwork for a few months until I had the opportunity to work at the post office up town.  At the same time, I felt led to enter a correspondence paralegal course.  I was also traveling one week a month to a school district an hour south of us to help with character lessons for elementary school children.  I was very busy, but was learning much.  God had given me a word picture in the Song of Solomon that helped me keep my focus on Him and the work He’d placed before me rather than pining for my husband.  “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” (Song 4:12)  I was to be a walled garden as far as men were concerned.  There may have been good things that a man would appreciate and that I was trying to cultivate in my life, but it was for my husband alone to discover and God’s duty to bring it to his attention; not mine.

            This was needful for me to remember as my personality is very extroverted and by nature, I tend to draw attention to myself.  I also grew up playing primarily with my brothers and their friends and found that boys were my first choice for playmates.  Guys never intimidated me and I enjoyed their company and the simplicity of their friendships!

            More time went by…  In the fall of 2002, I passed my exam and became a registered paralegal.  My dad put a halt to my new ambition to pursue politics and the legal profession, however, and suggested I spend a bit more time in a ministry position rather than a money-making field.  After a bit of prayer and seeking direction, God led me to Texas, where I began working the switchboard at the front desk of a young men’s program.  So south I went, and found myself thoroughly enjoying my new position,  new circle of friends, and the chance to spend more time with my brother who was enrolled in the program.

            One summer morning a good friend asked me why I was so set against marriage.  I quoted her several verses about why it was better to be single.  Thus began a series of conversations between the two of us in which she began to try to convince me to open myself to the possibility of becoming the wife of a godly man.  My resistance was not due so much to the lack of desire on my part, but rather just that the last I’d heard from God on that topic was “absolutely not.”  A short while later I was beginning to feel that familiar stirring in my heart again.  The longing for a husband.  Someone to love and serve and share life with.  Children.  A home of my own to keep and care for.  As had become my custom, I went back to the Word of God and began to reread the verses He has given me with the desire that peace and contentment would return to me in regards to my being single.  To my shock and surprise, the Lord gave me a new verse that seemed to be a nudge in an entirely different direction.  “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south:  blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.  Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits.”  (Song 4:12)

            Instead of unbridled joy, I felt a mix of fear and panic.  I was obviously making things up and putting words in God’s mouth.  Had He really just indicated to me that He intended to start “blowing the winds” and making me noticeable to the man who would be my husband?  The thought was terrifying.  So I didn’t tell anyone.  As the weeks passed, however, I got verse after verse in which the Lord seemed to confirm this word to my heart and I finally shared what I was hearing with my parents.  Dad was thoughtful.  Mom was predictably excited. 

            Confusion came shortly thereafter when the Lord clearly revealed His will for me to come back home.  This made no sense at all to me as I was quite certain that there was no one at home for me to marry and there didn’t seem to be anyone showing any interest in Texas, either.  I struggled for several weeks and yet said my goodbyes and returned to Ohio, wondering what the future held.  I came home in October and spent the next few months readjusting to family life.  A friend was fighting depression and I spent three mornings a week with her, going though a Bible study together.  It was so wonderful to be home again and yet I wondered if I had imagined all that the Lord had said the summer before.  Early in January, I asked God for a verse for that year, 2004.  He responded with John 11:14b-15a “Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad…”  I struggled with this thought.  I had been quite content to be single.  It was God that had brought up marriage, not I.  Now He was asking me to let that dream die again although He Himself had breathed life into it???  It made no sense to me at all.  Yet a few days later, another word came:  John 12:24 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”  Yes, I was to let the dream die.

            Discouraged and confused, I doubted my ability to hear from God.  Early in February, however, my dad got an unexpected phone call.  It was a young man who had been in Texas while I was there.  He wanted permission to court me.  In shock, my dad asked if they could write to each other for a bit so that Dad could get to know him.  He agreed, and so they began to correspond with one another.  I was excited at the possibility, although my initial response had been tears.  I was an emotional wreck, to say the least.  Dad finally ran out of questions to ask him and really was not able to find any reason to keep us from beginning a courtship.  He determined to call him on a Sunday afternoon to make it official.  I was such a bundle of nerves that I decided to spend the afternoon at my grandparents’, to get out of the house.  I was surprised to return home and have Dad tell me he had not made the phone call and didn’t intend to call him right away after all.

            I was a bit disgusted.  I figured Dad was never going to be ready to make a phone call.  Not until I was at least 35 or so! 

            What Dad didn’t tell me was that he had been begging God for a sign if he was not supposed to make that phone call.  After I had left for my grandparents’ house, the phone rang.  It was another young man making the same request.  Bewildered, Dad hung up the phone and turned to my mom…  They took that as a sign to slow down rather than move forward.

            Brian had been talking to his parents about his growing desire for a wife.  His mom had become a friend of mine when I was in Texas, as his family was on staff at the school where I was working.  She and I had many similar interests and although we didn’t spend a lot of time together, we always managed to have very good conversations in a very short amount of time whenever she passed through the lobby where my desk was located.  It had occurred to her a few times that I might be an option for Brian, but she hadn’t really said anything to anyone about it.  Late in January, she mentioned it to Brian’s dad, who agreed with her thoughts.  One day when Brian and his dad were working, the subject of marriage came up.   Over lunch, Brian’s dad commented to him that his mom had thought perhaps he would be interested in me.  The thought had never entered his mind, but after the suggestion, Brian found that he wasn’t able to shake it.  He decided he had better pray about it.  Shortly thereafter, he went back to his dad and told him that he really liked his idea.  The two of them fasted and prayed and felt confident that Brian should call my dad.  They decided on the first Sunday in March.  However, the last Sunday in February, Brian awoke with an urgency on his heart about that phone call.  His dad advised him to act quickly if he felt that way, and so he dialed my number a week before he’d intended to.

            Brian was a bit discouraged when Dad responded by telling him that he was already writing to another young man and wasn’t really interested in trying to juggle them both.  Brian gave Dad his e-mail address “just in case” and they hung up.

            Dad and Mom struggled for a few weeks wondering how to handle the situation before they finally told me.  Unable to control the grin that spread across my face at the mention of Brian’s name, I told Dad that I’d really like for him to write to Brian and see what sort of guy he was.  Although I’d never spent any time with him or even had a conversation with him, I found myself drawn to Brian at the first mention of his interest in me. 

            Dad and Brian began to e-mail each other.  In an effort to get to know the real Brian as quickly as possible, Dad asked if he could read Brian’s daily journal from the past couple of years.  Brian agreed and my parents read the journal together, both realizing that the young man whose thoughts they were reading was indeed a very good fit for their daughter.  Unbeknownst to me, Dad gave Brian permission to win my heart and I received my first letter from Brian as a wonderful surprise on my 23rd birthday, April 2nd, 2004.  The e-mails flew back and forth between Texas and Ohio from that point on.  Brian traveled home with my brothers who were still there and spent a week visiting us in May.  He asked Dad permission to propose but Dad, still reeling from the shock of the speed at which things seemed to be taking place, asked him to wait just a wee bit longer.  Brian proposed on Fathers’ Day Sunday, in June.  His family had stopped for a weekend visit with us while on their vacation.  We were married August 21st, 2004 and are about to celebrate six years of our “Happily Ever After.”  =)

I’d like to add that Brian and Janel have been blessed with 3 little boys, Silas, Noah & Amos.

 

Thank you for sharing your story with us Janel!!!  It has been a blessing for me to read!