It all began in an impoverished third world country over three years ago.
She was on a short-term mission trip there, ministering to the needy. Her earlier trip to Africa ignited a growing desire within her to help those who had so much less than she did.
So when an opportunity arose at her church to travel on this trip, she was determined to go. Once there, she boarded a school bus with her companions en route to an area of need. In her own words, she sat beside a young man already on the bus because he “was cute.”
That meeting between the young man and young lady turned into a friendship and they kept in touch even though they lived in different states. The next year, they both journeyed again to this foreign land for another short-term mission and their friendship continued to blossom.
Somewhere along the line, long after their first meeting, friendship developed into a dating relationship. Eventually, their admiration for one another evolved into a deeper, richer emotion…love. Someone once said, “Love is a friendship caught on fire.” That statement could aptly illustrate this couple’s relationship.
The young lady waited a long time for her true love to come along. She’s learned a lot about herself in the meantime, and she’s experienced her share of heart break in the past. Because of that, I imagine she probably protected herself a bit in the beginning of this relationship, not wanting to rush into anything blindly.
But this young man didn’t give up; he persevered. He just kept being her friend, encouraging her, making her laugh, treating her with kindness and respect, and hoping and praying that someday she would feel for him what he felt for her.
A passage from the Bible found in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, is often quoted when people write about love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I believe you could insert both of these young people’s names in place of the word love in this passage and it would be an accurate description of their relationship. How do I know this? The young lady is my oldest daughter and the young man is her newly betrothed.
I’ve watched from afar as he patiently waited for their friendship to blossom into a romantic relationship. My husband and I have witnessed firsthand how this man cares for my daughter, how he honors her and wants to be certain she is safe and protected. Her father and I believe this young fellow, who shares a deep faith with our daughter, will cherish her as his wife. That is one of the reasons we gave our blessing to him when he asked us for her hand in marriage.
Yes, there is another engagement in our family! On New Year’s Eve, oldest daughter’s best beau proposed to her in a clever, sweet way and she said yes! We are blessed beyond measure because all three of the children who grew up here in the empty nest are soon to be married!
On the first day of this brand new year of life, I wrote about the word I’m pursuing in my book of Opportunity – joy! Talk about joy! It overflows from my heart, my smile, my words!
It will be an incredibly busy year with not just one wedding, as we planned, but three! I’m sure my stress level will increase, but you know what? So will my joy level! Actually, it will triple as we gain another family member in our circle of love.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller
And one of those beautiful things felt with the heart is joy.
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