I’ve had more than a few requests to blog again. And it’s a fitting time to start back at it.
Because, if you haven’t heard, I’m engaged!
I have been drawn to Dan since the first night I met him at Bible study. He likes all the same weird things that I do. His laugh is contagious. He loves Jesus. And more and more and more.
When we started dating, we got pizza and talked through our vision for our relationship. There are a few really important points from that conversation. One of them was the importance of being in community with awesome people. People who can keep us accountable and share wisdom with us. Our church has been a big source for these awesome people.
Another important factor in our relationship is keeping Christ at the center of all we do. It’s not about us or our desires or our plans or our timing. And we’ve seen what happens when we fight that. Our relationship has flourished as we learn more and more what keeping Christ at the center means. We’ve had conversations about this often. Sometimes under a certain weeping willow tree in the park near our apartments.
All that being said, we’ve had many, many times of clear confirmation that God was setting it all up for us to be married sooner than later. I knew Dan might propose in a span of about a month. I wanted to be surprised, but I couldn’t help but look over my calendar and think about when it might happen. I thought I’d thought of everything.
Our church was holding a hymn sing at the home of a couple from our community group. Dan asked if I wanted to go, and I agreed. Sitting outside in the evening, singing hymns to acoustic guitars with my boyfriend, roommate, and church friends was lovely. I loved the huge weeping willow tree in our friends’ backyard. And I loved when our worship pastor said, “I’ve had a request that we sing this last song, the Doxology, standing around the willow tree.”
We sang, and then he said, “Dan has something to say.” I didn’t even realize the expression on my face, but I was told I looked completely shocked. And I was.
Dan pulled me with him right under the tree. He said a lot of things that I can’t remember exactly. But I know he talked about the importance of community in our relationship and how he saw this night as the most fitting time to propose. I got teary. And everything except for his face became blurry.
Then, he got down on one knee, held out the ring, and said, “Natalie Elizabeth Askren, will you marry me?”
I hugged him and kissed him and everyone clapped.
And then we sang again…
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Praise God. Praise God for His provisions. Praise God for plans better than mine. Praise God for a great church community. Praise God for the gift of His Son. Praise God for this lifelong gift I have in Dan.