February 5, 2017

Our Story Chapter 3 -- Engagement

I was asked about a few things that I haven't put into the other posts. So I thought I would cover them here before I tell you about our Engagement.
--The church I attended that Daron started to attend was not Good News Baptist - the church we go to now. I won't mention the name of this church for privacy reasons (you'll understand when you read this post).
--Daron does have two boys from his first marriage. He did tell me about them prior to us meeting face to face (if I remember correctly). I do not talk about them in my blogs for their privacy. This was a decision Daron & I made we talked about starting this blog years ago. They are part of our family & our story, but Daron wanted to protect them.

Now that that is out of the way, I'll continue Our Story. A few months into our relationship we faced a pretty tough time. Looking back, this helped strengthen our relationship & brought us closer together. Let me share that with you to help you understand Our Story a little better.

Between the time we started dating & the time we moved in together, our relationship went through a huge testing period. I don't remember the exact time frame for this, since I try to keep it blocked out. The church I had attended since I was in 6th grade started to not feel like home to me anymore. Daron wanted to be open & honest with the pastors of the church as much as he could. So we made an appointment to meet with the pastor of discipleship & his wife who was my accountability partner. The four of us met in the pastors office & Daron told that he had been married & has two children. The pastor offered to find a man in the church to be Daron's accountability partner & Daron thanked him for that. A few days later the pastor & his wife took me to dinner & told me that if I stayed with Daron I would be sinning. I was told to run away from the relationship as fast as I could & not look back. I was stunned by this & really hurt as well. Daron had been open with them & they couldn't be open with him by saying this to both of us during that meeting. These issues with the church continued for months. In March 2002 we moved in together. He had an apartment on 32nd St. & I moved in there with him. A few weeks later I received a letter from the deacon board asking me to meet with them so they could point out my sins from the Bible, which I refused to do without two women there with me for obvious reasons. When they refused that request, I refused to meet with them.

This is why I wanted to point out that I do not encourage Christian couples to live together before marriage. We knew that living together before marriage was not encouraged. There are numerous reasons we went ahead with it that I do not feel comfortable sharing (No I was not pregnant or anything like that). We prayed about this decisions for months. We went to the Scriptures looking for answers. We talked non-stop about this decision. We both agreed that we would move in together after talking about all of the pros & cons of doing so. Neither of us regret making this decision. We just didn't realize that my church would do all of this because of our decision to live together. Looking back later, we understood why they did what they did. It was hurtful at the time & I lost numerous friendships from it. Thankfully I have been able to reconnect with some of those friends over time. It is still a sore subject & a tough part of Our Story.

In April 2002 Daron had an MS flareup & this was what solidified our relationship. The week that he was on his IV meds for the flareup really brought us together when it could have easily torn us apart. He couldn't drive during that time so I had to take him to doctor appointments & to/from work each day until he was stronger. At the time it scared me & really made me rethink our relationship. Looking back I see God's hand in it & I am thankful for that time. My best friend got married during this time & I was excited to be one of her bridesmaids. There was a tough moment with the senior pastor of the church (that I don't want to relive) during her rehearsal that led Daron & I to start looking for a new church together. We spent the next five months visiting & revisiting different churches in the area until we found Good News Baptist on September 22, 2002. We have been there ever since.

We also spent the next few months talking about marriage. Part of our talks about moving in together centered around marriage. I flat out told Daron that I would not live with him if he was not going to marry me. I did have standards for myself & he needed to know what they were. In May 2002 we started wedding planning, even though he had not proposed yet. I wanted to get ideas of things together so we could easily plan our wedding without a lot of stress. In June 2002 we picked out wedding set & started making payments on it. In August 2002 we started meeting with his Dad for pre-marital counseling. Even though Daron still had to propose, we picked out October 26, 2002 as our wedding date - one day before our one year anniversary of our first date.

On September 8, 2002 Daron took me to Skydive Hastings for my first skydive. I thought he was crazy, but I was one to try anything once. It was after church that day & it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining & there really was not a cloud in the endless blue sky. His skydiving buddies were having fun picking on me for being a newbie to skydiving, but it was all in fun. I think we were there for about an hour or so before we finally got in the plane. I was part of a tandem jump with one of his buddies & Daron was going to do a solo jump. We had another one of his buddies filming the whole thing. When we reached altitude & the door opened, that's when the nerves set in for me big time. I could barely get my feet out of the plane & get ready to fall out. The free fall was intense with all of the wind rushing past me. When the parachute opened & we were under canopy, the view was amazing! Being able to see for miles was breathtaking. Daron landed & was able to get his rig off before we landed. He met us when we landed & asked about my thoughts of the skydive. He was acting a little off, but I figured he was just excited about being able to share this with me. I was still sitting down trying to get my bearings & Daron was encouraging me to stand up. What he didn't know was that when we slid to a landing some of the pea gravel went up my shorts & I was trying to be modest about getting it out. I still laugh about that fact to this day & Daron didn't have a clue. When I finally stood up Daron gave me a big kiss & dropped to one knee. I was worried that his legs had gone out from under him because of his MS & this is evident int he video. It took me a few seconds to realize he was proposing. He had my engagement ring in his pocket the entire time. Of course I said Yes! They announced it over the PA system & everyone clapped. We were congratulated as we walked back to the hangar & then by everyone inside. I'm so thankful that I have this part of our story on video. Maybe after I get it transferred to DVD I will try to post some of it. To think, Daron had originally planned to propose on the beach in Grand Haven at sunset. I'm glad he went with something out of the normal since neither of us are normal. 😄 Any other type of proposal probably would not have suited us as a couple.

I love our engagement story so much. We had to jump over some tall hurdles in the process of getting engaged, but they were worth it. Those hurdles made us stronger as a couple. Looking back now, I can see that those prepared us for some tough times later on. They made our foundation stronger & they made our faith stronger. We really had to rely on God to get us through & He never gave up on us. He was there all the time. I am reminded of that over & over again as I am sharing Our Story with you. God has a plan for everything we go through. We can't see that plan when we are in the middle of a tough time, but His plan is working for our good. God knows how each of our life stories will play out even before we are born. He knows the choices that we will make (good & bad, right & wrong) before we can even think of them.

1 comment:

  1. I guess Darin was quite the romantic. Not many can top sky diving as a way to propose. Anyone can do a beach sunset proposal. But pushing the girl you want to marry out of a plane, that takes guts and a lot of faith in your buddy not to hurt your girl.

    Great story.

    The right choice to get married.

    Can't wait for the next post.


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