Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wow it seems like I have forgotten that I have a blog. At least, I don't update it often enough. Life is a lot busier now that I am a mother. Emma has grown up so much and keeps me very very busy! The latest skill that she is trying to master is talking. It seems like I hear new words come out of her mouth every day.

So, I guess I'll just update on what's going on in my life.

Jake and I are now members of Grace Baptist Church of Essex! We have been for about a year and a half now, but because I haven't written much on here I guess this is new news for my blog. We absolutely love our church family, and our pastor as well! My brother-in-law also made a profession of faith this past year and now he and my sister-in-law (who has been a believer for a while) are in fellowship with us. This is such a great cause for rejoicing, because it is the answer to much prayer seeing them walking with the Lord. And also to see how God has gifted them to serve others, and such a blessing they are to our church.

Our church's website is We're an independent Baptist church that holds to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. The website is not updated that often, but the messages are posted each week (I found last week's Thanksgiving message to be really convicting and also really encouraging). You can also listen to my husband's testimony here.

Some of you may have seen me and wondered why I always have a hat on all the time, or a scarf, or whatever. The reason for this is because I have wrestled with the conviction for a while about the head covering (see 1 Cor 11), and whether it was only meant for corporate worship or if it was meant for all the time. After studying the passage with my husband, looking at historical understandings of the head cover, and much prayer, we've arrived at the conviction that the head covering is for all times.

The main things that convinced me is because when Paul talks about head coverings in 1 Corinthians 11, when he makes the transition from talking about coverings in the first half of the chapter and then talking about the Lord's Table in the second half he seems to make a transition (v 18) about "coming together as a church", which could honestly be taken either way but to me implies that Paul was not just talking about corporate worship earlier in the chapter. Also, because women don't generally prophesy in church because they don't speak (see chapter 14). I've heard the argument "well, women teach Sunday school so it must be talking about that", but back in the early church, as far as we know they didn't have Sunday school (the men were generally the ones doing the teaching, and the wives were quietly learning). The other thing that really convinced me is the fact that if you look at the history of women wearing head coverings, generally they were worn (especially by married women) at all times all the way from the beginning of the church up until this last century. And it seems that the only reason our society strayed from that is because of liberalism creeping into our churches and culture (embracing liberal theological doctrines, the feminist movement, etc.).

So in case anyone has seen me wearing a covering and been too shy to ask why I have it on my head, there you go :). That's why I wear it. Though I'll be honest and say that I'm still not used to wearing it all the time and I frequently leave the house and forget to put it on. Some probably see it as me being legalistic. Let me just clarify that I don't think that I am earning any brownie points or and kind of merit with the Lord, or making myself seem more pious by wearing a head covering. I wear it because I love Jesus. Not because it does anything for me or for Him (honestly, does it even bring him glory because even as a believer everything I "do for the Lord" is still riddled with sin?)

Anyway, so moving on...2011 has been sort of a rough year for us as a family. In February, I lost my aunt to a very aggressive cancer. Jake's aunt is also sick with cancer and was told that there is nothing more they can do for her. Please pray for far as I know, she doesn't profess to know Christ as her Lord and Savior. Both Jake's parents and my parents are splitting up. Honestly, I saw it coming a long time with my parents because I was aware of what was going on before pretty much everyone else was, but it still makes it hard. Though, I try my best not to get involved with it. The economy is picking up a bit here in Windsor, but the job situation is still pretty unstable. We're praying that Jake will be able to find a stable job in a much more stable industry. I'm just glad that I have Christ as my rock and fortress through tough times like these. He's definitely used this year to grow me in my faith and to teach me to trust him more, especially in hard, uncertain times.

But there's a lot to be thankful for too! Emma is healthy and thriving. That little girl has such a personality!! She's going to be outgoing, just like her daddy. God always provides for our needs...we always have food, clothes, and shelter, which if you think about it is all we really need. But God went above and beyond for us in that we were able to buy a little house just before Emma was born, and it has a nice back yard for me to grow vegetables and a butterfly garden. I've always loved gardening. My current project is stratifying sugar maple seeds in the refrigerator so that I can plant a sugar maple in the back yard (I mean, I guess I could always go buy a tree but where's the fun in that?). I'll be sure to post updates to let you guys know whether or not I was successful.

I'm really looking forward to my trip to Asheville next week! I haven't been back in 2 and a half years, and I really miss my friends there!! It's going to be so good to see them!! Emma is coming too...I can't wait for them to meet her!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Introducing Emma Marcelloni!

This is really late coming here on my blog, but I'd like to announce the birth of our precious baby girl, Emma Marlene! She was born at 6:29 am on May 22nd, and she weighed in at exactly 8 and a half pounds! The picture above was taken a few hours after she was born. Jake and I are so excited that she's finally here, and we just love her to pieces!!

I was blessed with a relatively short labor, which I thank the Lord for. I was induced, and it only took about 6 hours for Emma to come out! I think natural, drug-free childbirth is wonderful and I greatly admire all the women out there who choose to give birth that way, but honestly for me I feel like the best decision I made during labor was to get the epidural. Once I had it in and was able to relax, everything progressed very quickly and I was able to focus more on the joy of having a baby rather than the pain. I didn't like being in the hospital, though, so I wish there was some way I could avoid going to the hospital but still be able to receive the epidural.

I'm so amazed at how quick Emma is growing! She's doing very well with breastfeeding, and at her 2 month checkup she already weighed nearly 13 and a half pounds! She's nearly 3 months now, and I'm guessing she's closer to 15 lbs now! She seems to be a really content baby, and smiles big for everyone! She can roll from her tummy to her back (probably since she dislikes being on her tummy so much), and she's starting to sit up a little bit. I also wouldn't be surprised if she cuts her first tooth within the next month because she's starting to bite and drool quite a bit.

Here are some photos of bundle of joy! I think she look so much like her daddy :-D.

8 lbs 8 oz

Taken when she was about 2 weeks old

Picking blueberries

Family photo

With her Nonu and cousins!

2 and a half months

Taken today (nearly 3 months old)


Friday, January 1, 2010

A Wedding and a Baby!!!

Wow I haven't updated in almost 10 months!! It's amazing how much can change in a person's life in that period of time. In fact, it's amazing how much a person's life can change in just a few moments, which is part of the reason it's so important to know Christ as both your Lord and Savior, and to be continually walking steadfastly with him (something I've learned all too well).

I really need to spend more time blogging. I love to write, and my husband enjoys reading it. A few days ago he encouraged me to spend more time here I am!

Since this is the first post I've written in months, it will be about the two major events which have occurred in my life since I last posted: our wedding and the upcoming arrival of our first little munchkin!

The Wedding

It was always somewhat of a pipedream of mine to get married on some romantic villa overlooking the ocean. Perhaps all of the 19th-century romances I've read throughout the years got into my head. I never actually thought that this little pipedream of mine would ever become a reality...for one thing, my dad doesn't like to spend money (for sure, I'd be having a very simple wedding!), and also I figured I would make most people happy if I had a traditional wedding in a church at home in Texas. Actually, to be perfectly honest, part of me felt like it was my duty to get married inside a church building because I'm a born-again Christian and just about everyone else I know who is one does get married at either their own church or their parents' church.

It didn't take long after Jacob and I got engaged that I realized our situation concerning wedding logistics was a bit more complicated than the average couple. The obvious complication was distance...I am an American originally from Texas, and he's Canadian from Southern Ontario. No problem, right? Seeing how more and more people are meeting online and having long distance relationships, my first plan was to just go with tradition and have the wedding in Texas where my family lives. However, this came to a screetching halt upon discovering that members of Jake's immediate family were not allowed to come into the US. Also, that the US requires a special visa (K-1 I believe) for Jake to honestly enter the country in order to get married (in other words, so he wouldn't have to lie to immigration at the border crossing about why he was coming to Texas). This visa could take up to 9 months to process, but we wanted a shorter engagement that wouldn't require lying or being sneaky with the border.

So plan A was scratched. The obvious plan B was to instead have the wedding at Jake's church in Ontario. However, this too quickly came to a halt after some issues with my family, and also reading horror stories on internet message boards about American brides-to-be who were not allowed into Canada for their own weddings (since there is no fiance visa for Canada, and immigration feared they were going to stay illegally).

It wasn't until I found myself in this "what to do?" pickle, that I gave serious consideration to my idea of getting married somewhere near the ocean. I had read online that several American-Canadian couples who didn't want to be dishonest with immigration but also wanted a short engagement found it easiest to do a destination wedding!

So that is ultimately what Jake and I decided to do...on April 24, 2009, at 5 o'clock Atlantic time, we got married on a beautiful grassy cliff overlooking the ocean at Astwood Park on the wonderful island of Bermuda! In attendance were just our immediate families (which worked out great because they got to spend time getting to know one another!). It was very low key and very low stress (which was perfect for me because I get uncomfortable in large crowds with all eyes on me), but at the same time very reverent and Christ-honoring. The wedding was officiated by the pastor of the Evangelical Church of Bermuda (Dick Christen), who was excited that he was marrying two born-again Believers! We also had time to spend with him and his lovely wife Sherill while on our honeymoon. The weather was perfect.... sunny, dry, and 70-degrees (an answered prayer of mine!). From the scenery, to our first kiss ever (which we saved for our wedding), to the horsedrawn carriage (a Bermudan tradition!) back to the hotel for dinner and cake, it was most certainly a day to remember!!


Thank you to our wonderful photographer, Deborah Thomson, for the amazing photos!! You did amazing and we love them all!
The Baby

After our beautiful Bermudian wedding and honeymoon, I came back to live in Canada with Jake. About 4 months after we got married, I got pregnant with our first little blessing! The first clue I had that I might be pregnant was about a week after I conceived, when Jake and I were in Texas at my parents'. We had some people over for Texas-style BBQ (including a lot of the extended family), and as soon as my mom uncovered the beef brisket in the kitchen (which is normally something I love to eat), I got so nauseous I thought I was going to hurl in front of everyone. Of course, everyone found it really funny and the pregnant jokes started coming from every which-way. Sure enough, a few weeks later, a Dollarama pregnancy test followed by a visit to the doctor confirmed the happy news!!!

It is such a joy to us to be blessed this way, since we've decided to trust the Lord with our family size/timing/etc. rather than take matters into our own hands (ie...using contraceptives). Our conviction is that if we can trust the Lord in all other areas of life, why not also our children? Also, everywhere in the Bible where children are mentioned, they are spoken of as a blessing, and not a burden.

Another reason we are joyful is because I have polycystic ovaries, which is the leading cause of female infertility. When I got married, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get pregnant or not, so we prayed that the Lord's will would be done. If anyone reading this with PCOS has been hoping to get pregnant with no success, I can tell you that there is hope...just trust in God to provide in his timing if it is his will!

On December 21st, we had our 19 week ultrasound, and found out that our baby is a precious little girl! We don't have a name officially picked out yet, but are presently deciding between a few different ones we like.

Our bundle of joy is due May 16, 2010. :-D Only 19 more weeks to go!!

Ultrasound photos:

So anyway, I just wanted to bring my blog up to date with everything that's been happening with Jake and me the past several months. God bless you!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joel Osteen: Christless "Christianity"

Joel Osteen's "gospel" and what's wrong with it....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Excited about my new swimsuit!

My wedding to Jake is quickly approaching! I have so much to do between now and April 24th!! I haven't even began to think about our receptions we're gonna have later because there is so much to think about now! Among many things, this includes wedding dress alterations and a cross country road trip from North Carolina (where I presently reside) to near Detroit to store my stuff (since I can't carry it all into Canada until I am an official permanent resident), and then from Detroit down to Texas to spend time with my family before I move to the Great White North. :)

Another thing I've had to think about is finding a swimsuit to wear in Bermuda. I own a cute black tankini, but lately the topic of Biblical modesty has really been on my mind. God has really given me a desire to dress in a way that is both pleasing to Him, but also so I don't cause both my brothers in Christ and other men to stumble into sin (since men can be very visual, a woman showing too much skin can cause them to stumble into the sin of lust).

Here are some verses that the Lord has used to speak to my heart:

  • "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

  • "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:1-2

  • "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31

  • "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." - 1 Timothy 2:9-10

  • "Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear." 1 Peter 3:3-6

  • "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" - 1 Corinthians 3:16

  • "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:12

  • "But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart". - Matthew 5:28

  • "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this--not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way." Romans 14:13

  • "It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. " - Romans 14:21
I desire to do things that, by my convictions based on what I've read and learned in Scripture, are pleasing to the Lord. I don't consider myself to be a legalist at all, and I believe that if a person is going to do something to honor the Lord, it should be because the Lord is leading them to do it and not to please another person who has told them they had to dress/act/do something a certain way to be pleasing to the Lord. For example, I learned when I first met Jacob that the women at his place of worship cover their heads in obedience of 1 Corinthians 11. I had never been around Christians who did this. But I didn't just start covering merely to please him and because I knew that he believed that it is pleasing to God when women cover. I only started covering when the Lord Himself convinced me through my prayer and Bible study that it would be pleasing to Him.

The reason I say this is because in everyday dress and in shopping for clothes, I feel like the Lord has given me certain standards for dress that are pleasing to him, but I wouldn't want anyone else (who might have a less conservative standard) to adopt any of my standards unless they were convinced by the Lord Himself through their personal saving relationship with Him that it would be more pleasing to Him. Anyway, so that's my little "disclaimer" before I talk about my swimsuit and my standards for modesty. Romans 14:5 says "One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind."

So anyway, in everyday life when I am shopping for clothes I elect to avoid stuff like short skirts (for me if I wear a skirt, it normally goes at least below my knee) and tops that expose what I feel is too much skin, cleavage, or is too tight. (On a side note, God's been challenging me about jeans, which is a whole different blog entry in and of itself which I might write about later) When I wear clothes that cover more, I feel like I honor the Lord with my body and I prevent myself from being a stumbling block to all the men in my life I encounter who might be struggling with lust. So when I was looking online for a new swimsuit (even the one-pieces) I couldn't get the thought out of my head "if I wasn't swimming, I wouldn't be showing off many of the things I'd be showing off wearing this".

Many people call one pieces and tankinis "modest" because, relative to something like a bikini, they are more modest. However, I felt like I was being challenged by this idea because of what I mentioned above; because the parts that even a one-piece allows to show are parts that I'd never dream of showing off in everyday life. I prayed about it and even talked to Jake about it (since he is going to be my husband and my spiritual leader in our family) and really felt like I would be pleasing the Lord and would also better protect the mental purity of men around me that I'd encounter if I elected to get a bathing suit that covered a lot more than even a one-piece.

So I did a search on the internet, and came across a site called Modestly Yours Swimwear. They custom make swimsuits that are more modest than what you will find at a department store. You pick the fabric and the style, give them your measurements, and they sew it for you. They can even customize the style for you (there are several options for sleeves and you the skirt length). I felt like the Lord was leading me to order one.

I got the "Carribean Waters" style (which is their standard suit that is essentially a kneelength dress that comes with leggings to put underneath) with regular sleeves and a tie-belt. I had my belt customized so it would tie in the back rather than the front and I also had her sew it slightly higher than my natural waist so that it would look more like an empire dress (I love empire dresses...perhaps because I am a big Jane Austin fan).

I ordered it in the following fabric with solid dark brown leggings to go underneath:

I love retro prints...I think it's going to be really cute! And it cost less (even with shipping) than many of the bikinis that are sold at the mall. They have hundreds of fabrics to choose from, so there's bound to be one for everyone.

I should get it in the mail next week and I will post pictures of it when it comes. I'm really excited about it! I'm happy to have found a swimsuit that I personally feel will honor the Lord, my body, and my Christian brothers who struggle with lust. Also, when our children and grandchildren see our photos from our honeymoon, I will be able to tell them about honoring the Lord through modesty.

Anyway, I wanted to share my excitement about this with everyone, and the website where I found the suits for any other women who might be looking for a suit that covers more than what you'd find at the mall or the clothing store.

And of course...I still have my cute black tankini for when it's just me and Jake :-D


Here's a photo of my suit I ordered on our honeymoon:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

"The Promise" by the Cockman Family

I was born and bred in Texas but I never cared for country music. However, once I moved to North Carolina and got a taste of Appalachian music, I decided that I really liked bluegrass. There are some really talented groups out there that sing Gospel Bluegrass, and naturally this kind of bluegrass is my favorite :). One group that I recently discovered on itunes a few months ago is The Cockman Family who are from the Lake Norman area outside of Mooresville (about an hour and a half east of Asheville). I purchased their album, "The Promise" on itunes and I have become quite addicted to it.

For some reason I've always been drawn to songs that are alligorial; where the song tells a human story but it obviously has a deeper double-meaning in order to proclaim a spiritual truth about the Lord. An example of this would be one of my favorite songs, "Jacob's Dream" by Allison Krauss.

I absolutely LOVE the title track on "The Promise". It's such a simple story told in song, but it's such a sweet proclamation about how Christ loves and pursues after His sheep...His bride (the church)! We may not know when, but He is coming back for us, He is preparing a place for us more beautiful and glorious than we could ever imagine. The question is...are we ready for Him?

The Promise
John Cockman, Jr. (BMI 2006)

The Promise

The wealthiest rancher in Texas
Was throwing a grand jubilee
To honor his son, who’d just turned twenty-one
And was visiting down from the east
It was rumored he wanted to marry
So every girl in the county was there
But soon he grew tired of their fashion and their pride
And he stepped outside for some air
It was there on the back step that he saw her
And the moonlight shone down on her face
She was washing the floor and stealing
His poor heart away

He knew he would love her forever
As they walked beneath the dark Texas sky
He knelt as he asked her to marry
Then he watched as the tears sprang from her eyes
And he feared she was going to refuse him
So he bid her, “Please don’t make a sound
I am leaving tonight for Chicago
I must ride before the show lies on the ground
But I’m going there to build for you a mansion
And returning, I’ll make you my wife
Meet me here by the stables
One year from tonight”

She worked long days in the kitchen
Then she worked with her needle each night
‘Till the day she walked down to the stables
In a beautiful gown of pure white
Then the girls all laughed and they mocked her
As the evening shadows fell
But their laughter was turned into silence
At the sound of the carriage on the trail
The bride has made herself ready
Look now, for the bridegroom is night
On to the marriage, step up in
The carriage and ride

I couldn't find a video on youtube or anywhere like that, but you can listen to a recording and some of their other songs on their website.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Big news that I haven't yet posted on here....

Jacob and I are getting married! We've been engaged since November 30, 2008, and we'll be getting married in Bermuda on April 24, 2009! I wrote the story of how God brought us together in a facebook note shortly after we got engaged, so rather than completely rewriting it, I am going to paste what I wrote on facebook with some small edits:

First and foremost I'd like to say thanks to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging to me and Jake. We love you, and being fully confident that our relationship and upcoming marriage was brought about by the Lord, we really appreciate all of your prayers.

I'd really like to share with everyone our story, as unorthodox as it might seem in the eyes of the world.

All of us come from such a "try before you buy" kind of culture, where it is considered a good and commendable thing to spend months and months unguardedly pouring your heart into romantic dating relationships that may or may not result in marriage because there is no assurance of marriage from the Lord going into it. I know plenty of couples who have gone down this more culturally acceptable path and God has blessed them with wonderful marriages, and I praise God for that!! Amen!

I have been down this road myself and and in my own experience and in observing the experiences of many of those around me, it seems like more often than not these kinds of relationships have resulted in heartbreak for one of the two parties involved. An outcome of marriage in these kinds of relationships tends to be the exception rather than the norm. For me, either I would wind up getting really hurt, or I would wind up really hurting the other person. Pondering my experience really made me question as to whether our cultural norm for finding a spouse was really the most Christ-honoring way of going about it, and these reflections forced me to re-examine my own heart before the Lord. After all, we're supposed to treat fellow Christians like brothers and sisters; not put ourselves into situations where we can potentially hurt one another.

I wanted out of this destructive pattern. With other people in the past I had brought before the Lord (in asking about the potential provision of a spouse), I never had complete peace from Him, and knew deep down inside that ths answer was "no". But because I was either weak in my faith or emotionally unsatisfied with God's answer (or both), I would second guess what He was telling me. I was not waiting on the Lord, and not being careful to be guardful of my heart or the words coming out of my mouth. I would know deep down inside that something was not from the Lord, but on the surface I would find some kind of excuse to deny this truth to myself because it was what I wanted at the time. In other words, I had been a fool. I wasn't completely surrendering everything over to Him, and as a result I was reaping destruction both on myself and on those around me.

I had learned a lot from my horrible mistakes, was humbled by them, but knew that I could only move forward. I asked myself "why not trust God more in the future?", and got on my face and prayed a prayer that I had prayed for a few years. But now, this prayer was more fervent than I had ever prayed it before. I was done with disobedience and second guessing and the world's "try before you buy" mentality. Instead I wanted to honor my brothers in Christ without hurting any more of them, or getting myself hurt by any of them. I asked the Lord that if I was ever meant to have a husband, that He would reveal this person to me so boldly that I wouldn't be able to second guess it; and also that it could be revealed without having to potentially hurt each other by being in an uncertain dating/courting relationship.

God more than answered these prayers when I met Jake. But before God brought him to me, I had to be completely surrendered to Him.

This entailed giving many things up to Him. I found myself in a "valley" over the summer before I met Jake where I found myself reaping consequences of sin and disobedience from my past and as a result feeling very down about everything. I believe God allowed me to go through this season of time to refine me (1 Peter 1:7) and because He was breaking me to a point where I would entirely surrender everything to Him. He couldn't work in my life until I was completely surrendered to Him. He allowed me to be broken to a point where finally I got on my knees and earnestly cried out to God telling Him that He could have everything, no matter what I had to give up in order to be in His perfect will. And I was obedient. I finally gave Him parts of my life that I had kept from him because I had wanted to do things my way. It was hard and heartbreaking, but in doing so, He blessed me beyond what I could fathom.

It was after this point where God began to lift me up out of this valley and set me on a mountain. It was like the fire in my heart for the Lord Jesus had been completely rekindled after feeling like it was dim. I felt that I was completely free to be used by the Lord however He saw fit because I was confident that I was completely surrendered to Him! There was nothing holding me back now! Anyone who has experienced this knows how refreshing and freeing it feels to finally surrender everything to the Lord and to see Him at work as a result. Praise Him who is mighty to not only save, but also to refine and restore!

I love this passage and it really rang true for my life:

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39 (Read the whole chapter if you have time)

So anyway, I was to this point and excited and surrendered to Him and I was/am full-on ready to serve the Lord, even as a single woman. I think God must have a sense of humor or something, because this was exactly the point where He brought Jacob into my life. Once I had finally let go. I was mindful that I could meet my future husband at any point in time, and doing so was a desire of my heart, but it actually happening was the last thing that I honestly expected. Especially since I had been foolish in the past..."perhaps" I thought to myself "I would have to go so long without being foolish before God could move this way in my life". But I learned a lesson that no matter what we do, God will always work in His timeframe and that sometimes God blesses us and meets those desires of our heart when we are most humble and feel like we least deserve it. But first, we must delight in Him (Psalm 37:4)

Through Jake, God answered these prayers beyond anything I could have ever imagined!! We initially met online and at first, we were just encouragers to one another through Email. He told me that he liked talking to me because I had a heart for the lost and unreached and so did he. Which was cool...I like talking to brothers and sisters who have a heart for the unreached no matter who they are. But the Lord put this nudge on my heart (which I instantly recognized as being from the Lord cause it was identical to other "nudges" I've felt in the past that were clearly the Lord) that he was something special and that I should keep getting to know more about him. I started to pray for him and our friendship, and he did for me too.

Then the opportunity arose for us to talk on the phone for the first time. Jake was in the States one weekend at a Christian conference and since I get free nights and weekends anywhere in the US on my cell, we arranged to talk on the phone. It was from our first phone conversation that I knew with diamond clarity that I would marry him someday (whenever God willed). it was like God dropped a bomb inside of me to get my attention so, like I had prayed, I couldn't doubt. I knew it was not an "if" but a "when". I didn't tell him any of this because I felt that God was asking me to keep it guarded until he proposed (which of course I didn't think would be until many many months later), but I had confident assurance through faith that there would be some point in time (which would be between him and God) that he would ask. I later found out when he asked me to marry him that God revealed it to him too at the same time.

So we were both not just praying but crying out to God. Scripture says to "test everything" (1 Thess 5:21). Even though I knew so clearly that he was my future husband, I still took it before God again and again both in prayer and reading Scripture and was affirmed with nothing but rest and peace in my spirit. We're not married yet, but I still do this, and I still have that confident assurance through faith. I had always heard so many married couples say that they "just knew" when they had met the right person. I always thought it was kind of odd before because I hadn't experienced it (though I fervently hoped I would have this knowing too), but now I completely understood. Pretty amazing, really.

Here's something else that is amazing that we like to tell people. Jake became a born again Believer in the summer of 2004. I remember specifically right around the time feeling extremely burdened to pray for my future spouse and not knowing what to pray and why. I just remember praying. So for me to hear that I was praying for him not knowing it was for him at the time he got saved was pretty awesome to me! Praise the Lord!

So anyway, ever since that phone conversation, we've talked pretty much nonstop. We are so compatible, it's not even funny; just the way our personalities are, and our worldviews; from important stuff like doctrine even down to silly stuff like our favorite ice cream flavors. I've never experienced anything like it before. I could go on and on about that, but I'll spare y'all the details. Even our disagreements have been sanctifying for both of us. God has used our arguments to show each of us not just our sin, but also areas where we need to grow in His grace. I praise Him that we've been able to resolve them in a way which was honoring to God and to each other. I can't speak for him, but for me, when we resolve disagreements I love him even more. God in all His sovereignty really knew what He was doing when he brought us together.

I'd have to say the hardest thing was for me to humble myself and open my hands and accept God bringing Jake to me. He's too good for me, and I don't deserve someone like him. I've been such a moron in the past; I'm a sinner who deserves rags; not a Godly man who is excited to love me like Christ does. Jake always is quick to forgive when I make mistakes, and it often brings me to tears of humility. But God in his abounding mercy and grace blessed me beyond what I could fathom. God really used this all to teach me true humility so that I can more freely accept His undeserved love.

Jake and I haven't known each other nearly as long as most engaged couples nowadays know each other, which may seem to freak a lot of people out. But even in our divorce-happy society, I am not worried about it at all because I am confident that I am exactly where the Lord wants me :-D. What better place is there to be, and where can I have more security than being in the Lord's will? In fact, I am EXCITED! I know that there will be trials and we still have lots to learn about each other (which is an exciting journey in and of itself), but it brings so much joy that God has entrusted me to love and respect him as my husband. We're committed to wholly putting Christ at the center of our marriage.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." - Proverbs 3:5-6.

One of our passages that we hold dear is Philippians 4:6-7: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

We're planning a Bermudan wedding for our immediate families on April 24, 2009. We're getting married on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean, and we'll be having our honeymoon on the island as well. Then, we'll have a reception for our Canadian and North Carolinian friends at our place of worship, Turner Road Bible Chapel (date TBD). Once my Canadian permanent residency is approved (possibly in fall of 2009), we'll schedule a reception for our Texan and Oklahoman family/friends.

Anyway, that's the story :). Thanks so much for all of your continual prayers for the both of us. We love you! And may God bless you all!