On December 8, 2004 (my 20th birthday), this is what I wrote in my journal:
So I’ve thought about it and in 10 years I’ll be 30…wow. A lot can change in your life during 10 years. I feel like the changes between 20 and 30 are the most drastic ones too.
Here’s my plan: I find a guy this year and we date for 2 years then get engaged. By that time, I’ll have graduated from school and been out for about a year. Then I get married at least before I’m 25. Or by the time I’m 25. Then I have my first child before I’m 30.
I wrote all this back when I was a sophomore in college who never had a boyfriend (I never dated until after college…though there were a couple opportunities). So even as I wrote those words, it all seemed unimaginable because I wasn’t sure if and how any of that would happen.
Already, I didn’t meet that goal of getting married by the time I’m 25, but I’m not going to be too far off from that goal. It’s like God continuing to show me that I need to trust Him with timing and to let things go according to His plans, not my own.
On December 23, 2010, Gerald asked me to be his wife! These past few weeks have also shown me how just as I need to trust God with His plans, I need to trust Gerald too. I knew the proposal was coming soon. Gerald told me the ring was my birthday and Christmas gift, so I was anxiously expecting it. It was sooo hard to not be able to tell anyone about our engagement because it wasn’t official and I really wanted to start planning, but felt like I couldn’t do that yet (I’m such a planner anyway).
Gerald knows that about me, so he gave me a few days to keep open because we were going to go on special dates so I wouldn’t know exactly when he’d propose. It could’ve been any one of those days. For the first of these dates, we went to see Wicked then ate at Flat Top Grill and then went to the mall to look at rings. I was a little disappointed because I knew he still didn’t have the ring yet then. It was really hard to trust that he would find one because I felt like he was running out of time. I have a really small ring size (4) and some jewelers said it takes 2-6 weeks to custom make the ring to my size if they’re not able to resize it. Gerald and I already talked about getting married in July 2011 before we even got engaged, so I told him that he could always get a temporary ring until the real one came in.
So our next date was Dec. 23 and the night before Gerald told me not to get my expectations up too high. So I was still kind of disappointed because I’d have to wait longer and I thought he either still hadn’t found the right ring or was waiting for it to be sized and to come in. Our plan was to meet up at my parents’ house and then go downtown.
When we met up late in the afternoon, Gerald told me that he had a gift for me that day because he didn’t want me to be too disappointed. I asked if it was for my birthday and Christmas and he said it was “part of it.” So I didn’t really suspect anything.
Right when we left the house, he told me to close my eyes because he was going to take me somewhere before we went to catch the train to Chicago. I did it, and I still didn’t really think anything of it. I was actually a little grumpy in the car because I was trying to drink the coffee he bought me with my eyes closed and ended up spilling a little bit of it on myself. I was also too busy thinking about if we were going to make it to the train on time (curse that planning mind of mine sometimes). I needed to trust Gerald on this one!
When we finally got to our destination, Gerald led me through the snow up to a gazebo. He told me to open my eyes and to look at him but not look around. I had no idea where I was, but then he handed me three roses, one for every year we’d been together so far. I saw a Starbucks cup sitting on the ground and asked if that was my coffee, but he was like, “Don’t worry about that right now.” Obviously I still didn’t know what was going on at this point.
Then he started to read a poem that he wrote for me. Even as he started reading it, I STILL had no idea he was proposing even though the poem started out talking about diamonds! Gerald read poems to me before on dating anniversaries, so I didn’t think it was out of the ordinary until he said “of course following this poem I must ask you the question.” FINALLY I started cluing in as to what was going on. So of course, I start tearing up as he’s reading the rest of the poem.
When he’s done, Melissa, my sister, comes out with our pug, Lexie. Gerald reaches down to take a ring off Lexie’s collar, but it’s this big plastic heart-shaped ring. I’m like, “What is that?” It was slightly disappointing, but then Gerald reached down and picked up the Starbucks cup and said something about how every cup of Starbucks has something special inside (I love Starbucks, so it’s fitting for me). Then he pulled out the ring box and opened it revealing a
beautiful engagement ring. And he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Of course I said yes!
Then our friends Pearson and Tiffany came out from the bushes and kept taking more pictures. Only after we’d taken some pictures the Christmas lights in the gazebo finally came on. I couldn’t believe Gerald had actually found a ring (since he hadn’t had one only 5 days earlier) and that we just got engaged. It still feels a little surreal. This just goes to show me that I should’ve trusted that Gerald had everything under control–because he did. It’s something I have to continue to work on as we go into our marriage. The same goes for trusting God with the timing of all those significant events in my life.
We missed our train, but we caught the next one downtown and went to eat at Grand Luxe Cafe. Then we came back to my parents’ house and celebrated with my family (at like 11:45 pm). It was a long, but great night. Gerald and I and our families are very excited about our future marriage. One of our pastors even announced it to the whole church at our Christmas Eve service the next day!
And now begins the fun wedding planning part. So if you have any great creative ideas, let me know!