December 10, 2010, I asked her for her hand in courtship. September 29th, 2012, I asked her for her hand in marriage. I was asked to write first hand about the proposal, as I was the one who did it. This whole experience has been something of a whirlwind.
This story starts in July, 2012. It was a Tuesday. I was fasting. The Lord said, "It's time." The last time our father said this was in December of 2010. I knew He was referring to engagement. I immediatly began to weep. These were not tears of joy, mind you, they were tears of sorrow. I didn't have a job (still don't) and didn't have a ring. I loved her (still do) and wanted the best for her, how could God ask me to move to the next level when I was (or so I thought) ill-prepared? He told me to contact her uncle and ask him for her hand in marriage.
I couldn't bring myself to disobey.
I contacted her uncle for lunch, and it just so happened that her mother was in town as well and would be joining us. I had no idea how they were going to say, "yes" to a jobless, ring-less man, but I trusted God. Long story short, they said, "yes" over lunch that day. Only God knows how or why. Within the coming weeks, I talked with my parents who were a tad less than enthused. They saw what I saw: jobless and ring-less. The big kicker is that I felt God tell me that September was the month I would be engaged AND He would provide a ring by then. Her uncle, aunt, mother and my parents knew this. The pressure was on.
Flash forward to September, the first week. A lady in my church here in Florida approached me and said, "I believe that you and Ashley should be engaged. I have a ring you can have, but make sure that no one in your family has a ring for you, and then just come and ask me for mine." Wow. How nice. I was believing God for the ring, though, and I didn't feel comfortable asking for one. I told my mom the story and she quickly mentioned some story-changing news. "I actually have a ring that my grandmother gave me this past January. It was her 25th anniversary ring. I thought about giving it to you, but it's really special to me." In that moment, I knew that was the ring God was going to provide.
Now it's the last week of September and I still had no ring. Over the weeks, my mom's heart was softened and she was willing to give me the ring, she just needed to make sure it was worth something and that the diamonds were real. It came down to Thursday, September 27th. I finally felt the peace of the Lord to call my mom and ask if she had gotten the ring appraised. She hadn't, but quickly asked, "When did you want to ask her to marry you?" I stated, "This weekend." She was overwhelmed and said, "I will go to the jewelers right now!"
Before I knew it I was on a plane to Puerto Rico. I finally genuinely surprised my girl, just with my presence, and then we had a fantastic time on a date together. I really wanted to propose in a photo booth, but to my demise there are no photo booths in Puerto Rico. I knew that the following day we would be spending time with her mother and father and this (at 12:30am) would be the last time we were truly going to be alone together. I told her to take off her make-up and then we would say goodnight. While she was taking her make-up off I got the ring out of my bag. She came back in the guest room I was staying in, and sat on the edge of the bed with me.
"I love you," I broke the silence. Her face was stone. "I love you, I love you, I love you." I continued, "We promised each other that we would never say that unless we can prove it. Well tonight I can prove it." I pulled out the ring and asked, "Ashley, will you marry me?" She began to cry. My confidence was heavily shook up. Were these tears of joy? Sadness? She composed herself and stated, "I'm happy!!!" She then cried on my shoulder for what felt like eternity and re-composed herself only to say, "Okay, let's try this again."
I suppose the rest is history. This story was so far from perfect, but perhaps that is when God gets the most glory. She said yes. The ring fit. God is smiling. May we be able to enjoy this season as much as the last, as this starts a whole new journey.
I get to marry my best friend.