Monday, August 27, 2007

One of Those Stories


Last night with a huge smile and a glowing face, Candace said, "Mom, this is like one of those stories you read to us, only this time it's ME!" She's was referring to stories of individuals I have read to her over the years about successful courtships where the couple never had to "date" and entered into the marriage covenant while still physically pure.
-
So THE STORY...
-
A short time ago, at one of our homeschool meetings, a new homeschooling mom showed up for the first time. She was trying to pay attention to the conversations about education that were going on but she was distracted by a beautiful young lady sitting next to her mom. She was distracted because she had an overwhelming feeling that this young lady should meet her nephew. That young lady was Candace.
-
Candace had recently gone through a process with God of laying down an idol in her life. You can read about it on her blog here. I smile when I look at the date stamp on that post - less than a month ago. What she didn't say is that the idol was the desire to get married. She was laying that down at the altar of the Lord. Part of that laying down for her involved what she felt was the calling to not be out and about much. She felt called for a time to stick pretty close to home and not run around to social events. Coming with me to the homeschool meeting was one of the few things she did over that time. She was planning to teach a nature study class and wanted to learn more about Charlotte Mason and her educational philosophy. Isn't that just like God? When you lay it down, he gives just what you were dreaming of (and more)?
-
During this time, I felt called to take up that burden for her and I was in an intense time of prayer for God to bring her husband. I am not the most disciplined prayer warrior but this was something beyond me. It was almost my every breath - when I woke up in the night, the first thing in the morning, while I drove in the car, every extra moment during the day. I was praying for her and asking God to SEND HIM NOW. This was not something I had to try to do, it was just with me so strongly I couldn't help it.
-
A couple of weeks went by after that homeschool meeting. Then we got an email from Aunt Alana. She had taken the time to pray about the matter and ventured to ask us what we thought about introducing Candace to her nephew. She told us a little about him and waited for our answer. Candace was thinking, "Oh brother, another relative wants me to meet someone. I've been through this how many times now?" So she half-heartedly told me to go ahead and email her back and tell them a little about herself. She wanted me to tell them the most radical things about her so that it would be sort of a sifting process, discouraging anything further if this young man's heart did not match up to hers. Some of the things we addressed were physical purity, Candace's desire for a large family, that homeschooling wasn't an option, but a requirement and that she didn't want to marry a tv watcher because she hated tv. She didn't want anyone to even think about pursuing her if they weren't ready for marriage right away and she had me convey that in the email. I said good things too but I did warn them that she was a bit crazy and liked to do near-dare-devil stunts. She didn't want someone who wanted her to be a prim and proper lady. We sent this thinking that this oughta scare him away but in fact, it had the opposite result.
-
When Michael and his family read the email, they had to chuckle because they didn't even own a tv and Michael did not want one in his own home either! When he read about her dare-devil nature, he said, "Sweet!" This was only the beginning of discovering how very much they lined up on every issue that was important to both of them. So Candace and Michael started emailing back and forth a little.
-
Since Michael lives four hours away, he came to visit his aunt and uncle that live here in town with us and they all came to visit our church on Sunday morning. He asked to sit next to her during the kids program and hung out with her during the middle school get together that she helps with. They talked and she got to watch him interact with the kids. He showed her his guitar and they sat outside and sang some songs together. Within a short couple of hours, he managed to completely impress her and take her from a "let's get this over with" sort of attitude to complete interest.
-
The next weekend Michael came prepared to talk to her father about getting to know her better. He spent the day with us and by the end of the night, they both knew they wanted to marry each other. Because they both knew that they were not interested in "dating" or interested in just friendship, they entered into serious and intense discussions immediately regarding their views and plans for life. They were shocked to find agreement on every side of every issue. Ford and I approved and they began having long discussions on the phone and things went quickly in the direction of plans for life together. Candace was reporting all about their conversations and we couldn't have been more pleased with the things he was saying.
-
Even though he had not officially proposed we all knew it was coming and knew they wanted a short engagement. So last week we went to a bridal boutique thinking we would just start looking. We left putting a deposit down on the wedding gown, tiara, veil, shoes and the bridesmaid dresses and shoes! Candace has always been very decisive and she loved the first dress she saw. She tried it on and it fit perfectly. The only alterations she needs is a hem. There was no need for her to keep looking or try anything else. She was set.

The next time he came, he came prepared to propose and he let us know ahead of time that he wanted to do it in front of the whole family. When they arrived from church, we thought we would have a little joke and Ford got all of his weapons and laid them on the table along with assorted ammunition. He put his hat on and sat at the table sharpening his hunting knife. When Michael came in Ford said, "So I hear you have something important to discuss with me." Candace got the joke right away because she has never seen Ford have all of his weapons out and she began to laugh, but Michael just thought it was cool that the guns were all out on the table and the joke was lost on him. How funny! Little did we know we were kindred spirits when it came to joking.
-
After some serious discussion about the future, Michael told us he was ready to propose. We gathered everyone together and he got down on his knee, asked her marry him and presented three rings from the bubble-gum machines for Candace to choose from. Candace had been in on the joke the whole time. We were all rolling on the floor laughing. Since this has all happened so fast, he hasn't had time to get a real ring, but that is coming soon.
-
So the date is set and we are in high gear preparing for the wedding. Our lofty goal is to have a stress free wedding. So many parents are so stressed out and glad to have it over and we really, really don't want to feel that way. Candace and Michael are so casual and easy that we have hopes this can be accomplished.
-
One of the most common comments she is hearing right now is, "I didn't even know you were dating! Well, that's because she wasn't, hasn't and won't be. And the most wonderful gift of all is that Michael has been raised with the same ideals! This has made it so easy since we are all on the same page. When discussing physical boundaries for the next couple of months, Michael said he didn't think they should be alone, not without at least a brother or sister. He understands that it will get tough for them to keep hold of their purity if they are alone and they are hoping to have their first kiss at the wedding altar. I can't begin to describe how nice it is to not feel like we are going to spend the next couple of months opposing each other. And we don't have to instruct him in these ways because his parents have already done that job and Michael has already made these ideals his own.
-
Thank you to all of you who have encouraged us along the way and for those who supported us with the belief that this could be done this way. A special thanks to Granny, who took the time to reach out to me as an older mom and gave me hope.
-
And most important of all a GREAT BIG thank you to Michael's parents because we know young men of his quality don't just happen! We are so very impressed and thankful - beyond what words can even begin to express. We have an appreciation for what it takes and we will always be eternally grateful to both of you!!!!

3 comments:

tootlepip said...

How Wonderful! I am so happy for your daughter and your whole family. May they have many wonderful years together serving the Lord!

the {{screaming *penguin}} said...

I love happy stories about happy things. It makes me so happy. isn't that weird. No, it's really not, i guess...

Anonymous said...

Candace and Michael, I am so excited for you. Tom and I were only engaged officially 2 1/2 months. We never kissed each other before we got married and we even stopped riding together to be careful with being alone. We really made an effort not to be in a compromising situation. We also really didn't date we courted even 26 years ago. So, we are right with you and are whole heartedly on board with the decisions you have made for purity. Wow isn't God awesome, exciting and so cool. Love you candace and all your family. Teri Fahey