Dearest friends, I am overwhelmed at the amount of love, excitement, and celebration Daniel and I have received since our engagement. The last several weeks have been wonderful and exciting, but I do have to admit, reality is now kicking in. My head seems to be a little more clear; clear enough to genuinely share the story with you all.
We began the day together at church seeing so many of our favorite people. I had some friends in town for a work trip that Daniel and I treated to lunch. We took Lacey to a Courtney favorite, Flower Child, then met Megan at Fat Straws. We spent our day lingering together, having fun conversations and nowhere to be. Our time with Megan and lacey began to end, we said our goodbyes, but to my surprise, I would be seeing them very soon.
Daniel and I left to head to my house before our date. Before the weekend, I told Daniel that Sunday was his day. He assured me not to worry and that he would plan something special for us. We showed up to my house to freshen up before heading to the Dallas Arboretum, where Daniel took me on one of our first dates.
Arriving at the Arboretum, I began to have a little feeling. Feeling of what you ask? I have no clue, but some sort of intuition that something could be coming. Nothing had given anything away up until that point, so I prayed to be focus on being with my dear Daniel.
Daniel led me around the Arboretum, somewhat mindlessly, making stops at almost everything that we passed by, including a little baby bench that he just HAD to stop and take a picture with. We continued to pass through the gardens where he finally led me to a special place, after a bathroom break of course.
Hand in hand, Daniel led me to a corner of the garden that was filled with Magnolia trees. Standing majestic and mighty, the trees greeted us as we walked by. As we got closer, I could see a bible and a ring box. At that moment, I knew it. So I began to breathe deep and soak it all in, remembering every word and gesture.
He looked at me and recounted our journey. As he spoke these words, my mind raced back to each of our moments together. It was like a movie of fast pictures pacing in and out. He led me over to the stone bench, sat me down, then knelt on one knee.
Again, I had to breathe deep to soak in each moment, not forgetting one detail. He asked me to pull out the 12th Man towel he had put in my purse earlier that day. Daniel took the towel and pulled out the bible he gave me. He turned to John 13 and read the passage where Jesus washed His disciples feet. Daniel then took the towel and washed my feet with the water by the nearby creek that flowed down by the bench.
It was not until later, when I realized the significance of that passage, that I began to piece moments together in my mind. The Lord has been teaching me the importance of allowing people to help me, and allowing people into my story. For far too long, I have put a wall up to vulnerability. The Lord is doing something, and will be doing something, with this marriage. I am thankful for the way that Daniel will be used.
Through all of these moments, two dear friends were hiding out in the bushes. Audrey and AlyJo popped out in excitement. Oh the embrace that Aud and I had. This moment we had prayed for and fought for on our hands+knees. Having Aud and Aly there to capture these moments will forever be a dear memory.
We celebrated and rejoiced together; the laughter and excitement is such an overwhelming feeling that if I close my eyes long enough, it all comes flooding back. Upon leaving the Arboretum, Daniel and I went to his sisters house where our families were eagerly awaiting us.
Walking through the front door for the first time as an ENGAGED couple in the presence of our families was a surreal moment. To see my parents celebrating with his dearest folks warmed my heart. To know that my parents were loved so dearly by the Zandstra’s really means a lot. Quickly, we were escorted outside where cheers erupted from all of our friends. My heart was in awe as I saw rows of friends all representing different seasons in my life.
Daniel and I are thrilled for the marriage that is ahead, but we know the road to get there can be long, and the journey we embark on in that new season will be a trek. Together, we ask that you pray. We ask that you pray as we prepare our hearts for this new leg of the race. In this season of waiting and preparing, we want to be reminded of our why. Help us in that pursuit as we seek Jesus and the meaning of marriage.
Photos by: Audrey Spiars