Here, finally, is the conclusion to our love story. The read the beginning of the story, click here.
The next month or so after the outreach, Andy and I wrote private emails back and forth, all the while making plans for my family to come out and meet his family at the beginning of December. I was nervous about what they would be like…what they would think of me. I had no idea if they would only wear skirts or have long hair. I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
The trip was short and sweet. Andy and I were so nervous around each other…it makes me laugh now. And yet, it was so important to get our families together…to see how each person interacted with the other. As we drove away from their farm, I was a swirl of emotions. I knew what my heart desired, but could that really be what God wanted this time around?
About a week later, Andy called my dad and asked him if he could get to know me better…pursue a more purposeful relationship. My dad said ‘yes’. 🙂
The next couple months were hard but sweet. We wrestled through some tough issues, and came to a head over the definition of our relationship and what exactly a “courtship” meant. And yet, through all those tough times, we grew closer together and learned more about each other. Andy visited my family at the beginning of January, and then he asked me if I could come out and visit his family the weekend of Valentine’s Day. I was thrilled.
Then came the ice storm that knocked out power to his parent’s farm for almost three weeks. Several days before I was supposed to come out, they still had not gotten power. On Wednesday he emailed me and said that if they didn’t have power back that night, they would have to postpone my trip. I was so disappointed, I cried. I checked my emails over and over. And then I got one. Guess what? The power came back on that very night…I got to go!
Valentine’s Day was Saturday, and Andy and I went with his parents to this cute little Italian restaurant called Mary Maestri’s. I felt so special…so blessed, to finally have someone sitting next to me. And for that someone to be Andy Baker was beyond what I could have ever hoped for.
The next morning, Andy and I rode by ourselves on the way to church, with his family following close behind. During that ride he asked me to officially enter a courtship with him. I knew he had talked to my dad again earlier that morning, so I was expecting it, but I still felt so delighted and elated. Later I found out that he had a signal worked out with his parents. One flash of the brake lights meant “yes”, two meant “no”. 🙂
Andy and I earnestly began seeking the Lord’s will for us. We became more and more sure that God was leading us toward marriage. One of the big “ifs” was when. I was only in my sophomore year of college, and even if I graduated a semester early and did my student teaching out in Arkansas, we would still have to wait over a year before I would be able to move to Arkansas and we could get married. Yet, the wait seemed worth it.
There were so many things I loved about Andy. His personality, his character, his devotion to God…all these things won over my heart. And love? Yes, that too. I was beginning to realize that, without a doubt, I was falling in love with him. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but spending the rest of my life with this man.
The weekend of April 4th rolled around. My grandparents were visiting from California. Friday, April 3rd, we were all talking about Andy. My grandma said to me, “I hope we get to meet him someday soon!” Meanwhile, I couldn’t get a hold of Andy, which was odd. On Fridays he always drove the four hours from Mountain View up to Siloam Springs, and we usually talked most of his drive. Eventually he called me and said he was “just on the road”.
The next morning we had made plans to go out to Mormon Lake, which is near my parent’s home in Flagstaff, eat lunch at the lodge there, and take pictures. The night before it had snowed slightly, and everything had a beautiful dusting.
We were sitting by the fireplace in the lodge, when the event coordinator there came up and told me that they had just brought the horse and wagon up from Phoenix for the summer (we had talked to her before about it). She knew I loved horses, and wanted to know if I would help them test it out.
“Alone?” I asked, as everyone watched me get in. Something was certainly fishy. This was too weird.
I got in the carriage and we pulled up just around the corner. The driver mentioned something about checking something and we stopped for a minute. And then it happened. Out of the store came Andy, my Andy, the man I loved, with a huge bouquet of red roses.
“What are you doing here?” I said.
He smiled and got in, “I’ve come to see you!”
We rode around for awhile, and then the driver drove us up into the woods. He stopped and asked us if we wanted to get out and walk around, so we did. Andy led me up into the woods and told me a million sweet things. And then he pulled out a box, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him.
All I remember saying was, “A million times, yes!” I know, I know…that line is totally from Pride and Prejudice, and, no, I hadn’t intended to be so cheesy when proposed to. It just came out of my mouth!
Andy slipped the ring on my finger and we rode back to the lodge where everyone was waiting for us. Turns out, a wonderful engagement luncheon had been planned upstairs, all without me knowing! My youngest sister Tori, the only one who didn’t know what was going on, cried.
Thirteen months later, on May 22nd, 2010, I married him. We’ve had our tough times and our fights, as any married couple does, but each day I am more and more amazed at the wonderful man the Lord has blessed me with. Looking back, everything that seemed so cloudy now seems so clear. I see God’s amazing hand weaving a tale that I could never have dreamed of…a tale beyond my wildest dreams. And to think…I thought there never would have ever been anyone better. 🙂