As friendship blossomed

blogengagementIt 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.

Copyright ©2012

To capture a heart

“Anyone can catch your eye, but it takes someone special to catch your heart.”  ~Author Unknown

blogengagement3I surreptitiously observe him as he so capably takes care of the matter at hand.

My eyes take in the sight of him, so tall, so strong, and so athletic.

My mind marvels at his accomplishments, his intelligence, his confidence, but most importantly, his devoted heart for Christ.

And lastly, my emotions overwhelm me because wasn’t it just yesterday that this grown, mature man was my baby son?

I blinked and the adorable little baby I cradled in my arms with kisses and snuggles became an adventurous, fun-loving little boy, who still loved cuddling and mama’s hugs.

I blinked yet again and that sweet little boy turned into a stubborn, strong-willed teenager who, even though often tempted not to, still managed to obey and respect his parents and endure his mama’s embraces.

Another blink, and that teenager changed into an independent young adult man, capable of taking care of himself and embarking on a career with great responsibility, but still asking advice from mama and papa here and there.

And now, the time has come.   Last month, our son, this man, informed us during a serious discussion about life that he is in love with his girlfriend.  Matter of fact, he is so much in love, he shared with us his plans to ask her parents for her hand in marriage.

During our conversation about this serious step, what constitutes true love and the commitment of marriage, he maturely answered our questions and assured us that he is more than ready to meet the responsibility of being a providing husband and someday a father.

My mama’s heart ached with this knowledge, not because I wasn’t elated for him or totally in agreement about how wonderful his devoted young lady is, but because my little boy has surely become an adult man.  He is my youngest child, yet he most assuredly is not a child.  And I can hardly believe that this time has arrived so soon.

Gracious girlfriend’s parents also posed questions for our son when he asked for their blessing to propose to their daughter. They willingly granted their permission while agreeing not to reveal their discussion to her since he desired to surprise his beloved with the proposal.

Our son immediately launched into designing her engagement ring (he is a mechanical engineer with a creative side and such things give him pleasure).  He emailed us the computer model design of the ring to view and I could see his loving touches in it.

While Son and Girlfriend were here for  Christmas Eve, he secretly showed the beautiful ring to us. He also disclosed his romantic proposal plan which would occur in her hometown in the state next door on the day after Christmas.

I’ve silently watched the two of them together when they’ve come to visit the empty nest.  Even from first meeting, I could ascertain that this lovely young lady had captivated my son.  But I also could see that this wasn’t merely infatuation or a superficial attraction, there was a deeper level of kinship between them.

She hadn’t just caught his eye, she captured his heart.   But the bond that ties them together so perfectly is their love for their Savior, Jesus Christ;  He is first in their relationship and that makes a huge difference.

The apple of my son’s eye and captor of his heart will be good for him; she is strong, mature, and independent and their personalities complement one another.  She will help motivate him when he needs it and together they will be a good team.

Three nights ago, this excitedly ecstatic couple phoned to tell us she said yes!  (“Why wouldn’t she?” this mother thought.)

And so another wedding will take place in our family, and we will gain a beautiful (inside and out) daughter-in-law.   On this 29th page, Chapter 12, in my Opportunity book, I couldn’t be more happy, even though tears trickle from my eyes flooding my vision as I write this – no, not tears of sorrow,  tears of joy.

I’m delightfully contented because Mama’s Empty Nest is filling up with more family members.  As our circle enlarges, my heart swells with love.

“Love will make your eyes shine, your face beam, your heart sing, and your life full.” ~ Author Unknown


Such stuff as dreams are made of

blogengagement1I have a feeling my middle daughter had a tough time falling asleep last night.

I’m pretty certain she was too excited, wound up, happy, thrilled – the list could continue until I run out of adjectives – to let the Sandman visit her.

Why?  I’ll let Dr. Seuss explain: “When you are in love you can’t fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”

Yesterday, my middle daughter’s dream became reality.  That grown up young woman of 25, who has her own place, career and life but in my mind is still my joyful little girl, experienced a monumental day.

Her daddy and I wonder how all those years vaporized away so swiftly.  How did we get to this empty nest stage when just yesterday (or so it seems) our house was full of youngsters and toys and noise?  We blinked and our children became adults.

And now one of them is taking an even deeper step into adulthood.  Our daughter became engaged yesterday!

The engagement wasn’t a surprise for us because her beloved one had already visited alone to formally ask for our daughter’s hand in marriage and our blessing before he even purchased the ring.   Yes, he’s THAT wonderful!

We could tell he had spent much time in thought and prayer about this decision and he willingly shared his plan for how he would provide for their future together.

So after the blessing was given, he bought the ring and kept all of that a secret from her until yesterday when he proposed at one of their favorite outdoor spots.   Daughter thought they were going to be models for a friend’s photography session there, so the proposal is caught on film for us to see.

A lot of emotions are swirling around in my heart and mind.  Joy.  For certain!  Excitement.  Definitely!  Happiness.  For her and him, the betrothed, and for both of our families!  He already has fit into our family so well.  (Gasp! I’m going to be a mother-in-law!!)  She will be a sweet addition to his family. (Gasp! My daughter will have a mother-in-law!!)

But there’s just a tiny hint of melancholy floating around my heart too because my little girl really IS grown up, ready to embark on a life together with her beloved one.

And that is exactly how it should be according to my guidebook, the Bible:  “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ~ Matthew 19:4-6

Woven into my tapestry of joy today on Page 9, Chapter 4, in my book of Opportunity is a tiny thread of melancholy as we begin another life journey, preparing for our daughter’s marriage.  We have more than a year to work on it though.

And I’m gaining another son!  And the possibility of grandchildren!  So I know the threads of joy will crowd out and overlap that twinge.  But for now, I think I’ll go have a good cry.