Well, Lisa said it best…we obviously LOVE fall, but we figured a break from the fall-themed posts was worth it to share our love stories with you. Let’s be honest…if you had to pick something worthy of interrupting our fall ramblings then this has got to be it!
Click here to read Lisa & Steve’s story. And now here’s ours…
Matt & I were introduced by our good friend, Joy, in May of 2009. Matt had just been to North Africa and I was preparing to go that summer. So, in the same sanctuary that we were married in, we chatted for about 5 minutes on the topics of missions and North Africa. And then we didn’t talk again for over a year.
April 9, 2010 (I’m a girl – we know all the dates) we both saw each other at a local Greek cafe. Neither one of us was brave enough to walk up and say “Hey, don’t I know you?”. But shortly thereafter, we began to talk. I’ll quote Matt on this next part:
“I immediately became extremely interested. Cara, on the other hand, was just really excited to make a new friend. After a few awkward conversations, and many coffee shop study sessions, Cara began to be interested, and so we began dating.”
Six months in, Matt came to me and asked if we could fast for a week over our relationship to decide whether or not it should continue. I was willing, but a little confused since everything was gravy on my end. So we fasted and met back up. I still had no reservations with continuing to date, but Matt did. He continued to feel red flags, so he did what he felt was right and broke up with me. Don’t fret, you know how this ends!
About a week later, Matt came to me wanting to shed some more light on why he broke up with me. We met up and he shared that he was neither spiritually nor financially ready to take a wife (and it be a blessing – not a curse). That’s why he felt the red flags and why the Lord crippled our relationship until we broke up. I respected that.
Over the next six months, God was preparing Matt to pursue me once more. Neither of us knew what He was doing though, so we both moved on.
Matt slowly started to talk to me a little more here and there. I didn’t know what was going on, so honestly, I was just annoyed at the time. I thought “Why is he doing this? Doesn’t he know what this does to a girl?”. And then came the text…
“Can we talk? I have something I’d like to discuss with you in person.”
I began to pick up on the fact that Matt was interested in me once again, but I did not share his emotions. I agreed to meet up with him to give some closure to the situation (or so I thought).
June 19, 2011, Matt came to pick me up for our ‘final’ talk. Ponytail, no make-up, t-shirt & jeans – that’s how he found me when I answered the door. Didn’t want to give any false hope, ya know? We went to a nearby park and starting walking to a bench. Matt passed up several benches on the way to ours and all I could think was “just pick one, this is going to be a long walk back”. Finally, we sat down and Matt asked if he could pray first. Absolutely! I figured we both needed a lot of prayer to get through what was about to come. So, Matt prayed for us and then jumped right on in!
Matt all but proposed to me that day. He was very intentional, which I appreciated a great deal. He talked of the good work the Lord had done in him over the past six months, about how he was now ready to take a wife and he wanted that wife to be me! All the changes he said God had made in him described the man I wished to marry one day. The man I prayed for God to graciously provide for me! How could I, in clear conscience, tell him no? How could I know whether or not this was something the Lord was doing? I needed time. I needed to pray, search the scriptures, and seek godly counsel from an elder & his wife at our church.
That evening Matt brought over a six page handwritten letter summarizing everything he had discussed with me earlier. I wish I could quote the letter in its entirety, but instead I’ll highlight some key parts…
“…It became abundantly clear that my desires for a wife were directing me back to you…There are no other women who astound me with godly attributes in the way you do. As I have been pressing into the scriptures about my role you just kept popping up. 1 Timothy 2 talks about women who adorn themselves with good works…unsurprisingly reminded me of you…Additionally, you came up in Titus, as I was met with the reality that you are precisely the sort of woman who would make raising children a joy – and the type I could trust to raise my children well, in the Lord, and with grace, honor, and dignity, especially in my absence. Your heart is submissive, you’re heart-oriented homeward, and you are the type of woman who brings good repute on her household. You are the only woman who makes me long for an Ephesians 5 pouring out of myself – washing you in the waters of the word that I may present you blameless and pure to Christ at his return. So, those are some of the reasons I desire to pursue you toward marriage.
…I want to be a husband who lays himself out, in dying to himself, in order that I cherish, honor, and guard my wife as a weaker vessel – a beautiful, fragile, graceful, valuable weaker vessel…So now, after six months of God’s preparation, I am ready to be a husband. I am ready to lead well – leading to the cross first and choosing Him above you, myself and family. I am ready to do everything I need to do to support you and bear the full weight of my curse, even pursuing night and weekend work in addition to whatever primary job the Lord provides…I want to take the burdens of the world that should never have been on your shoulders and protect you from them…I am ready to bear the sins of my wife as a covenant head before the Lord…I am ready to ferociously fight for the holiness and gospel-centric-joy of the family the Lord blesses me with. I finally understand that begins with me striving, training, & pressing into the Lord, with fear and trembling, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
…So, Cara, I want to pursue you toward marriage. I want to covenantally court you under the protection, guidance, and authority of choice men at UBC…I will wait patiently for your response.”
I still cry every time I read that letter. I’m sure you can see why even from these snippets.
So, I began to pray that the Lord would show me if what Matt said in his letter was true. I prayed every day, several times a day. I wanted so badly to hear from the Lord. This was such a monumental life decision & I wanted God to show me His will so I was not blinded by any of my own sinful desires. I prayed that He would show me the man Matt was today & whether or not we should court towards marriage, whatever it took.
That Wednesday, I was swimming with Lisa at her parents’ house when I received a disconcerting text message from my Mom asking me to call her immediately. My Granddaddy Bill had passed away. I was extremely close to him (still am to my ‘Gramman’ – his wife). Growing up fatherless made my relationship with my grandpa all the more cherished. This is important to note because my grandpa’s health began to deteriorate dramatically when Matt and I were dating the first time around. I shared this with Matt, seeking comfort and prayer from a brother in Christ, and he pushed me away – something he apologized for in his note.
“When your grandfather was struggling health-wise, and you came to me in such great pain about things, I should have been far more stable, caring, and comforting as a brother in Christ…I pushed you away during one of the most difficult emotional times of your life. I should have honored your emotions as a sister in Christ and done the harder thing – protecting your heart in word and deed while comforting you in your brokenness…This has been on my heart for a long time and I now ask for your forgiveness.”
A second chance!
As soon as Matt heard the news of my grandfather’s passing, he was there for me. He prayed for me, read scripture over me, and just let me cry. He guarded my emotions, not making it about us, but about comforting me as his sister in Christ.
All the while, I was still praying “God, show me the man that Matt is today, whatever it takes“. It wasn’t until that Sunday, the day after my grandfather’s funeral, that it hit me. Matt was there for me this time, just like he promised he would be in his letter. There was obvious change in Matt’s life, and I got to witness it first-hand in the way he treated me while I was mourning. My prayers had been answered, and powerfully! How beautiful that God used the same situation that drove a wedge between us six months ago to draw us together now!
June 27, 2011, I told Matt I had an answer for him. He picked me up and we drove to a local park. We sat down by a creek and he listened intently as I explained how the Lord had answered my prayers so boldly. It was there that I told him ‘Yes, you can court me toward marriage’.
And he did! We courted for five months. And on December 2, 2011, Matt proposed at that exact spot by the creek, asking me…
“Will you do me the honor of being my wife?”
I said Yes! Or squealed it, rather. But not before first screaming “Are you serious? Are you kidding me?”.
Two long months later, on February 11, 2012, we were married at the church we met in.
With little Lisa as one of the many by my side, of course!
We’re now a little over a year and a half into our marriage, & I can still confidently say that I married up. My husband is such a treasured gift from God, & I am forever thankful for him.