It was June 18 of 2014 that Jonah and I met for the first time. We both were camp counselors at Crossroads Summer Camp in North Carolina. Jonah and I worked together for 6 weeks straight and I secretly loved the day a little bit more when Jonah and I would be assigned to the same activities. Jonah's presence truly made all events, conversations, and experiences more fun. So I secretly crushed on Jonah all summer never thinking the interest would be mutual.
The summer came to a close with no interest expressed. We had some sneaky friends, however, who manipulated the carpool situation so that Jonah and I would ride back together in the same car from South Carolina to Jacksonville. The conversation was fun and light-hearted and was spent getting to know one another a little better. We high-fived as we said our farewells and I thought that would be the end. However, Jonah and I both put forth effort to hang out in group settings three times after camp. After the third time we hung out post-camp, he asked that we hang out again but specifically requested that it be just us two.
I confidently made my way up to Jacksonville on August 18 to ride 17 miles on the beach with a boy that I was already quite fond of. We spent the day together exploring Jacksonville and as I was about to leave, Jonah asked if we could continue getting to know one another. I agreed to put forth the effort in a long-distance context full of excitement and joy. We then discussed how to hug and immediately following that conversation we had our very first hug. Jonah then thanked me for liking him. I kindly thanked him for the same thing.
I moved down to West Palm Beach on August 20 while he remained in Jacksonville. We both didn’t really know what to expect but we were both excited to try. We spent the next two months getting to know one another via phone calls and facetime. On October 24, 2014 Jonah asked me (wrote me a song and sang it to me) to be his girlfriend. I accepted. We spent the next year getting to know one another and attempting to hang out at least once a month. He would come to my games and support me in that way. I’d make my way up to him in Jacksonville to get a taste of his life. We’d meet halfway and go rock climbing. We loved (and still do) one another’s company. Our relationship was a gift from the Lord and was a fun and wonderful friendship.
The Lord has been kind to grow us in our convictions and understanding of what it means to be married. The clarity of His Word has brought forth so much growth in both of our lives. In the past year and a half, Jonah and I have been challenged in ways we had never even thought of. We are both grateful and humbled by the love shown to us by our churches during that time. Jonah and I have had the past 5 months together in the same church and even that has grown us and prepared us for what marriage really is and what we have been called to reflect through it. The purpose of marriage is to put Christ and His Bride (the Church) on display (Eph. 5:21-32). In the same way Christ leads His Bride and in the same way the Church honors and serves Christ, Jonah and I look forward to striving after those unique roles each and every day until glory.
As far as I knew, we were having breakfast at 7:30AM with a couple from our church and then headed off to do childcare together from 9:00AM-12:00PM. Jonah asked me two days before if I would want to hang out before breakfast. I wondered if he’d really propose at 6:00AM but I quickly dismissed the thought of it due to the early hour and also the last-minute plans. He had gone to Blowing Rocks Preserve with a couple friends the night before and requested that this be the location we go to before breakfast. I woke up at 5:45AM on the morning of April 8 to Jonah requesting that we leave 20 minutes earlier than he had told me the night before. At this point, the thought of a proposal happening was out of the question. He had also requested we go to a special breakfast on April 15 so my mind was looking forward and disregarded April 8 of being a possibility.
Jonah picked me up at 6:00AM and we headed off to Blowing Rocks. Parking was unavailable at the entrance near Blowing Rocks so we parked about a mile away. Also, it was freezing; I was wearing two jackets. That’s just a side note though. We walked and talked the distance up until we got to Blowing Rocks. We were just looking at the water and admiring the Lord’s creation. Jonah then proceeded to tell me that the reason he wanted to bring me out here was to seek my forgiveness because he had been lying to me. My heart sank for many obvious reasons as my brain was racing to figure what sort of great sin he had committed. He then confessed to me that he didn’t hurt his thumb making a table for our pastor’s wife (original story) but that he hurt it making “this.” I turn around and there’s a bench about 30 feet away from me.
On this bench was a blanket, thermos full of coffee, two mugs and a box that Jonah made me for my birthday a month before we started dating. We walked over towards the bench as I was trying to answer so many questions in my mind. We sat down and I immediately looked behind me trying to spot somebody taking photos of us as a means to confirm that this was really about to happen. I spotted two of our friends hiding behind weeds and other various plants in the dunes of this beach.
Jonah opened up the box and we began to go through old photos and talk about memories. Every photo was a precious treasure to us both as we sat there recalling the past and seeing the way the Lord has protected and grown us in so many ways. He then pulled out a little piece of notebook paper. On this notebook paper, he wrote a list of reasons why he liked me. He wrote this list the summer of 2014 before telling me he liked me. The list contained reasons like “she likes kids”, “she’s adventurous” “she’s funny.” Really cute things that I hope are still true today but he juxtaposed this with a new list. He wrote a letter the day before proposing containing a list of reasons as to why he wanted to marry me. This list was one of characteristics and convictions I was lacking when we first started dating. The Lord has grown both of us greatly and we could (and always will) rejoice at all that He has done in and through us in these past two and a half years.
After reading me this letter, Jonah stood up and began to sing the song he wrote for me when he asked me to be his girlfriend. He had a guitar then but, due to his injury, he was left to nothing more than an acapella attempt (the greatest attempt I’d ever witnessed). He changed the last line to “will you be my wife” rather than “will you be my girlfriend.” He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and the rest is history.
But actually.. the “rest” is that I received the one thing I always wanted which was to celebrate with the people I love immediately after, and I got exactly that thing. So many people came together to serve and love us so well and we are forever indebted to all those humans.