>>>>> YOU CAN VOTE FOR US HERE! <<<<<<
I was thankful for sleep this morning because it meant 100% peace. The past 7 days have been a roller coaster of emotions. A week ago today, Justin and I stepped into my basement to finish filming our entry video and within 30 seconds, I had already started crying. “I just want to be able to have a wedding,” I sobbed as I leaned against his chest, tears staining the material of his soft green hoodie. I was so scared that this would be our only chance for us to get married with our family and friends there to celebrate with us. When Katelyn had made her announcement about the $35,000 wedding giveaway, I think I watched it ten times with tears streaming down my face. Can you tell I’m super emotional about marrying Justin? ;) I immediately prayed for God to just give me peace. To let me know He would provide, no matter what that looked like. I reminded myself that I can’t put God in a box… even a $35,000 dream wedding box. His ways our higher than our ways, and his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9 “”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”). But there I was, bawling into Justin’s shoulder, so close to marrying him after 5 years that I could almost taste it… but I knew I had to guard my heart. Justin warned me of that and my mentor did, too. I couldn’t throw my heart and soul into this for the 7 full days voting would be open. I would try my absolute hardest to get votes, but I had to keep my faith and my trust in Jesus and not in the contest. So, I decided I would throw my heart and soul into the video we were making to tell our story instead. I decided that I just wanted this video to be glorifying to Him. I didn’t want it to be all about us… I wanted it to have something deeper. A taste of something sweeter that’s kept us committed to each other in patience, purity, and steadfast love all these years. I wanted it to be about Jesus.
I wanted to be able to reach next week and say, “Even if we don’t win this… look how many people got to hear our story.” Our story of waiting 5 YEARS to get engaged and having to trust the Lord’s timing through those 5 years. For people to be able to think of a Christian couple who dated long term and wasn’t able to get married really young. Because that’s us. We’re still waiting. 5 years is a long time… long enough to know someone inside and out, to fall into a deep and authentic kind of love, a love that’s worn in and comfortable and feels like putting on your favorite holey sweatshirt at the end of a long day. That’s what I’m ready to come home to at night. To curl up to as a fall asleep. To wake up next to in the morning before I start my day. I fell in love with my best friend almost 6 years ago, and since then the Lord has been working in our hearts to make us into something new… two people who are ready for marriage. I must have prayed a dozen times before I hit the submit button into this contest for God’s will to be done. It’s fostered some interesting theological discussion on the balance between God’s sovereignty and our own free will. This contest in general has fostered beautiful conversation about marriage, long term relationships, and relying on God to provide. I want so badly for September 27th to be our wedding day… to wake up that morning and know I’m going to finally become Justin’s wife. But in so many ways, making this happen is out of my own hands. I can’t do it alone. We need the continued support of our family and friends and their friends and THEIR friends to keep sharing our story. Because the irony of it all is… Months ago, way before this giveaway was known about, Justin and I volunteered to lead at a True Love Waits retreat this upcoming weekend. God SO pre-ordained that one! He didn’t want me sitting at my laptop going crazy for 3 days this weekend, and He wanted us to share our story to middle and high schoolers in the midst of our story being shared on a broader scale… it just blows my mind! This week, rather than being only about harassing people to vote for us, would have a deeper meaning to it altogether. I am so glad that we’re going to be spending 3 days this weekend with middle and high school kids and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord and how that affects their relationships and their purity. We’ve never spoken at a retreat together, but there’s a first time for everything, right?! I’m so excited! It’s been so amazing to watch God work in Justin and through Justin with the kids… and with me. He has led me in faith through the craziness of entering this giveaway and being a part of the finalists. He’s reminded me that God provides, even when it doesn’t look like how we thought it would. I know the Lord is leading us through this exactly where He wants us to go. And it’s been the most wonderful blessing to feel all the love and support we’ve felt from our family and friends as they’ve rallied behind us – even complete strangers – inspired by our story and rooting for us to have the wedding day of our dreams. We’re so excited to see how this weekend plays out as we pour into 27 kids’ lives at this True Love Waits retreat. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of stories to tell come next week when we get back! For now… the contest is open until one week from today… so if you’re inspired by our story and want to give us your support, you can vote for us here and share that link with everyone you know!!! :)