Building New Words into My Vocabulary: Fiance, Engaged, Marriage, Wedding, Candy…

It was the Fall of ‘09, a season of new beginnings and music! USingers was UMD’s finest vocal choir hosted in the huge lecture hall of Bohannon 80. And with 65 students, one professor, and whole lotta terrible acoustics surrounding us, we sang our little hearts out! It was my heaven, my safe place – a place where not only everyone around me knew how to sing, but they loved it! And it was also where a shaggy-haired bass snuck into my life…

There was something about his timidity, quietness, yet desire to fit in and loud laugh that caught my attention. Some days he would be in his own world, thinking of what, I can only imagine. And others… He would be full of this energy that required the attention of another to quench it. But there was one thing, and one thing only that never ceased to catch my eye… That hair. Whoofta! Throw a bandanna in that thing, and we got ourselves a-hunk-a-hunk of burnin’ love on our hands, ladies and gentlemen!

We spent 146 days sitting three times a week in the same room that lacked compliments to our amazing choir. Weekends were spent at choir retreats as we sang hours on end with the same music. Road trips were taken to Bethel University where we sang with other highly talented groups. And… we went to Germany.

Germany was the coolest thing ever! We toured and sang at beautiful cathedrals that you could only dream of! And still… into the second semester of school… this shaggy-haired bass continued to catch my attention. Only this time, it went from my attraction of his bandanna hair, to pure intrigue. The best way I could explain it was that I was drawn to him {in a non-creepy way, of course}. I simply noticed him. I like to think, and I feel like, I was genuinely seeing him and who he was and what he wasn’t and everything he tried to hide.

I came to know Jesus that Spring, and a month after, God began his work…

I was walking down the Griggs dorms hallway on my way to work. I was already running late, but ahead of me, I saw the same shaggy-haired bass walking my direction. To keep the story short, I’ll just say he was dealing with something rough. And new to God, new to the Holy Spirit, I tried navigating what God was doing in me all while trying to navigate conversation with the shaggy-haired bass.

And as we dove deeper into what was bothering him, I began to feel a tightness in my chest. It was uncomfortable, and every time I looked at him it got stronger and stronger. I knew it was the Holy Spirit doing something, but I had no idea what. I barely even knew what the Holy Spirit was capable of! Ha!

After about 15 minutes the conversation which consisted mostly of him talking, me balancing the actions of listening to him and God all at once, and trying to navigate this pull in my chest, we parted ways. Myself to work. He down the hall.

The school year ended, and after sharing the same choir room three times a week for the remainder of the school year, we entered into the summer ahead of us individually.

The end.

Haha! No, I’m kidding. There’s more…

Over the next few years we somehow ended up the only familiar face in each other’s random course loads… Comm1000 where we were study-buddies (Though… I had already read the book the summer before classes started… She was always very confused and slightly impressed as to how the guy who doodled in class, or often fell asleep during each lecture seemed to have such a knack for Human Communication Theory… Heh heh. Win.). Then Advanced Writing class last where again we got to sit next to each other… She wonders again how I got A’s though sleeping and doodling my way through class. For 4 years we bumped into each other at church, my eyes would find her in the congregation, or around UMD… Oh haha! And funny story… she stood me up on a date once upon a time a few years back. We just weren’t ready for each other yet… We dated other people and still had a lot of ways to grow up for one another.” – Jacob

Now, present day…

It was October, and the youth group was preparing for their weekend event being hosted at the Duluth Vineyard Church. This I was unaware of. Until…

It was late {as in midnight-thirty} on a Thursday when I received a text message from a guy I was in a college small group with. He said something along the lines of:

Hi, Amanda. So-and-So was wondering if you’d like to take pictures tomorrow.

Huh? Ha! Why? Did he want me to take pictures with him? I haven’t talked to him in months… Maybe he just wants to catch up.

So I responded the next day…

Me: “Hey, So-and-So! Someone-or-Another mentioned that you wanted to take pictures today? Sure! I’d love to. Where should I meet you?

Him: “Well, I won’t actually be there. I got scheduled last minute for work, and the church is looking for someone who can take photos for their youth event tonight.

Me: “Oh, as in a photo booth sort of deal? I’ve never done that before, but I’m sure I can figure it out! What time? Who should I meet up with?

Him: “Be there around 6. There will be a guy there named Jacob Hermann, and…

I just stopped reading.

Me: “I know him! I’ll send him a text now!

Bippity-boppity-Jesus on the move!

After hanging out a few times and finding that, hey, I think God is doing something, we spent a month praying about whether we should date or not because for him… He was on fire for God and ready to bust through brick walls for Jesus. For myself, I was praying strongly to become a God-fearing warrior for The Kingdom. Dating was not on either of our radars. As a matter of fact, we had both surrendered to God and said we would not date for at least a year so we can get in on what God was doing. That’s all it took. Us surrendering to God, so that He had room to move.

During that month of praying, I was in my car on my way to a blogging conference, and I was praying to God… “God, what are you doing here? Because I will not move unless you speak clearly to me that this is your plan.”

And he gave me this image… It was of two pure white hearts {not the geometric shaped ones – the real deal}, and they were being woven together. {That was the first time “weaving” became part of the story.} He then brought me back to a moment I never thought about since it happened – the moment in the hallway with the shaggy-haired bass and that pulling pressure in my chest.

What God told me was: “From that moment, I began weaving your hearts together. One could not go where the other couldn’t follow.

Whoa.

And still writing this now, I think, “Whoa…

I kept that image with me, shared it with Jacob, and told him that if this is what God is up to, I’m not about to challenge Him. I was all in. No backing out.

And that’s when the theme of “weaving” in our relationship kicked in…

I would continuously hear and see “Penelope” on the radio, on billboard signs, in the names of children… And I thought of scripture talking about the three confirmations. Not thinking it was going to be anything, but hoping it was… I looked up the name Penelope.

Penelope means weaver.

Whoa.

I immediately text Jacob and told him!

Later we discussed what our favorite names were. I told him that I had always loved the name “Anastasia,” and he said that was the same for him. This time purely out of curiosity sake, I looked up the name…

Anastasia is the patron saint of weavers.

Whoa.

Again, I immediately text Jacob and told him.

And times after, weaving and reminders of God’s weaving in our hearts continued to pop up – God always confirming His promise and His plan.

Then one day {and this one still blows my mind…} I was sitting in the auditorium at church listening Jacob and the worship band rehearse for the Christmas service. As they wrapped up, the head pastor had mistaken my name, and no… I wasn’t hurt. I wasn’t embarrassed. I laughed, and told myself… “Today is not the day to correct him.” And as they left, I sat in the auditorium by myself, just thinking and talking to God… “Man, this is a lot. This is Jacob’s life – super busy! And, God, if this is what you really have planned for us, you are going to have to prepare my heart and my spirit because I’m exhausted. I’m anxious, and I don’t know if I can keep up.

All the while, the head pastor of the church was walking in the isle of the chairs looking around – I assumed he was looking at the floor to be sure everything was picked up and in order for when people started arriving. I continued to converse with God, and then as the pastor came around down the isle near to where I was sitting, he said to me…

Him: “I’m just going to call you Anastasia from now on.” – With a smile

Me: “What?” – Pure shock

Him: “Anastasia. I’m just thinking of names that start with an ‘A.’

Me: “That’s really funny because Anastasia is my favorite name.” – Still shocked

Him: Nothing. Just walked away with a smile on his face.

Me: {In my head} “What do you know, man!??!

It has been constant confirmations from God like that that have been keeping myself going when I get overwhelmed or anxious. And it has been God’s promise, and how He tells us to hold on to His promises, that tells me that no matter what, it’s going to be worth it, and it’s going to be beautiful.

So yesterday was a day that began as such…

I woke up early, realizing as I got ready that I forgot my makeup at Jacob’s house. Crap. This, in return, put me behind on getting ready. I then rushed to get Jacob to where he needed to be on time. I drove all the way to a coffee shop to work where I realized I forgot my purse at home. I got back in my car, drove back to my house to get my purse, to only turn back around to go back to the coffee shop. I logged in online 15 minutes late for work. I forgot to go to the post office. I drove to the post office and realized I “forgot” the item I was going to ship. After calling Jacob to see if he could bring the item to the post office himself, I then found the item stuffed under my seat. I drove back to the Post Office. I spent $5 on tape a yard long because you can’t use the Post Office tape unless it’s Priority Mail {someone needs to change that rule}. I was starving and only had hamburger buns to eat at work. I burnt a hamburger bun. I toasted another hamburger bun after finding out burnt food can give you cancer. And driving home I just thought to myself, “Today has been one of the worst, most frustrating, and most awkward days of my life.”

But then… after pulling up to Jacob’s house and waiting for him in the car, he came out and greeted me with a single pink rose. {pink is my favorite color}

I felt like the biggest turd in the world because I wasn’t so sweet during my stressful day, but I was happy to see a pink rose in my hand.

Him: “There’s five more for you in the house.

I felt like an explosive turn then because of the day’s events, but happier to know there were more pink roses in the house.

We drove to my house so I could pack to head home and to work meetings in the cities. As I was packing, he was on my computer… for a long time. This was strange, but I figured he had to email professors or something due to classes being cancelled so much. I started asking about the night he had planned, but he wouldn’t tell me anything… All I knew was that it would be cold at one point, I couldn’t have grilled cheese, and dinner was at 8PM.

Well, what do I do with that? In my head, I thought… “He is really going over and beyond to makeup for my crappy day.” {he does those kinds of things}

But slowly, I started to see him become a bit more frazzled, and he slowly became more busy, but… not really busy… just… “busy.”

Me: “Hmm… Could be possibly be proposing tonight? Nah! He doesn’t have the money for it. We just talked about this. Stop tricking yourself, Amanda. It’s going to ruin the night. You’re going to put too great of expectations on him that he can’t meet yet… but… what if…? No, Amanda. No. Down. Stop it. No. But…

When we finally left, all he did was blare the music in the car. It was loud. It was quite loud. But it was some gooood music.

And as we were driving, I was talking with God…

Me: “God, I feel like this could be happening right now, but I know my feelings are wrong. He doesn’t have the money for it yet, and that’s ok. Please, take these false feelings away, and just help me enjoy the night and what he has planned.

God: “Just take it all in.

Me: “What?! I don’t even know what that means. This is crap…” {I have to preface: I wasn’t mad at God. This is just how we communicate. It was more of a “Come on man. Give a sista’ a break.”}

So we drove up Skyline, to the same spot where Jacob had spent his own time coming to know the Lord, where he decided to stay in Duluth, where we both found out was each of our favorite locations in Duluth, where we had our first date, where we had our first kiss, and now…

{Let’s just fast forward to the good parts!}

We got out of the car. Now, I hate cold. Hate it. And when we got out, all I said was…

Let’s make this quick.

{Again, preface: Not snotty. Not mean. Just as a matter of fact… “It’s cold up here. There’s a crazy wind, and I’m cold!”}

Well, after he shared how significant this location was, he dropped…

Just passed right out on the cement!

Haha! Nah, I’m kidding…

He dropped to his knee, I started to feel nauseous, I called him a “Tricky-Trickster”, told him “Yes”, and we went back into the car to see the ring better!

Come on ladies, we love the moment of it all, but let’s be honest, we wanna see the ring, too!

And… ladies… {and men…} he did gooood.

{Pause.}

What’s cool about the ring he picked out isn’t so much that’s it’s unique {just what I wanted}. It’s not even that it’s silver {also what I wanted}. It’s the fact that the diamond sits inside of a rose. For me, this is freaking sweet! My favorite song is “More Than Ashes,” and in the song the lyrics go…

I am the rose, I am the lilly.

I am yours, I’m your beauty.

I love that song, and I’ve always loved that the song references being a rose. I, for whatever reason, tie that song with the scripture of the vine and how God says, “Remain in my love.” Now, I don’t know about you, but that, to me, is just another one of God’s confirmations of His promise because I played absolutely no part in choosing the ring. Literally, none. Again… Freaking sweet.

{Play.}

After, we drove back to his house where two amazing people {whose names I will say}, Jamie and Jenna, put together a BEAUTIFUL dinner for us. It literally looked like we sat down at a restaurant table to eat. There were candles all through the living room and on the dining table – it was perfect! And all I could do was smile and just keep nodding my head – up and down, up and down. Why? I’m not sure. The act of nodding my head up in down seemed to be playing a big part in helping me process, though. {Hi, I’m Amanda. I’m awkward and strange.}

And now, we are both super excited, and it is the coolest thing to see the amount of support there is around us – and even from people I would have never expected it from! It’s amazing. It’s cool. It’s freaking sweet.

And now… I can’t wait to see what it is that God has paired us together for, what He has planned for us, and how we’ll get there. All we know, is we want to be right in step with what God is doing and how He’s doing it because we have a desire to see the Kingdom advancing and people {specifically youth} experiencing the power of God in a way that absolutely blows their socks off.

So, thank you. We’re excited. We know God is in on this, and we wouldn’t be here if He wasn’t. :P

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