Engagement Stories: Clara & Brian

This story was mostly written from Clara’s perspective with Brian’s inserts in bold.

Brian and I attended a small Christian college in Missouri. In 2006, I was a freshman and Brian was a junior. I was excited to experience all that college had to offer, and dating wasn’t on my radar. One of the first weeks of my freshman year, I was working at my on-campus job, and Brian walked in. We sat and chatted with the “mom on campus,” then went our separate ways without thinking twice. Although, this is the moment Brian likes to think that my love for him began. (Because it’s super true! Kidding.)

For the next two years, as we were both RAs (resident assistants) and quite involved on campus, so our circles crossed more and more. We developed a shared love for wild sweet orange tea, various music artists, and photography.

Brian graduated and moved on to work for a youth ministry, and I finished my last three semesters of school. We stayed in touch from time to time. When Brian was in town visiting college friends, we would try to get together for coffee and catch up. Our time together always seemed effortless and easy, but still, we never entertained the idea of dating.

After I graduated, I moved to Arkansas for my first year of teaching, and Brian was still working for the same youth ministry. At this point, we were so busy with our careers that our friendship had dwindled to reading each other’s Twitter updates and occasionally tweeting back and forth.

In 2011, I re-tweeted a quote from a blog that Brian and I both read. Brian sent me a message excited that I knew about this blog, too. This started a slew of messaging back and forth, which began a string of text messages that went on for a while. Eventually the text messages turned into phone calls, and the phone calls turned into a few trips to visit each other more intentionally than the friendship we had in college. At this point we really felt the Lord telling us that it wasn’t the time for us, so we slowed things down.

Then, one day in the fall of 2012, while checking my phone during a break, I noticed a text message from a phone number I didn’t recognize. I quickly realized it was Brian. He was stuck in traffic and texting me to see how I had been doing. Brian was preparing for a two-week trip to the Middle East to visit the Holy Land. We began texting non-stop, emailing, and talking on the phone when we had the time. I was now in the middle of my third year teaching, and Brian had begun a new career in the business world. (It’s important to note I was not texting and driving!)

While Brian was on his trip, he called via Skype and texted as often as he could. I could tell by the effort he was putting into calling me from the Middle East that something was entirely different this time, and the work the Lord had done on our hearts was being revealed.

We spent a lot of time from October 2012 to May 2013 driving back and forth to visit each other, listening to tons of Boundless podcasts, and reading articles. We decided if we were going to really cultivate this relationship and see what the Lord had for us, we needed to live in the same place. By the grace of God, I was able to obtain a teaching job at an elementary school, and all of the details of living in a new place fell into place pretty effortlessly. The Lord provided graciously.

From 2013 to 2014, Brian and I spent a lot of time really getting to know each other in our new relationship. We went to church together, were involved in a small group that Brian led, and constantly forwarded various Boundless articles back and forth. Through that time, we were able to look back and see the way that the Lord had worked in our lives to prepare us for such a time as this.

Thanksgiving 2014, Brian and I had planned for him to come to the cabin my family had rented and spend the holiday with us. I was expecting Brian to arrive on Friday. On Thursday as we were preparing our meal, I heard someone calling my name. I thought it was one of my brothers calling, so I didn’t think much of it. When I came into the room, I saw Brian had surprised me! We quickly went to join the rest of the family so I could show them my fun surprise. My mom quickly suggested we go and take a walk so that Brian could stretch his legs after a long drive. Brian grabbed his camera and off we went.

We walked across a field to look over the lake and chatted for a few minutes. I turned my head to see that my sister and my sister-in-law were standing there watching us. I quickly looked back to Brian, who quickly told me, “This isn’t my camera in this camera bag.” He got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride.

proposal

Brian and I are both grateful for the way the Lord has worked in our lives separately and the way He has brought us together to serve Him through our upcoming marriage. We are also thankful for the role Boundless has played in our relationship through the wisdom we found in articles, podcasts, and Lisa’s wit (host of The Boundless Show).

We will be married June 20, 2015. It has been a huge blessing to see God work in our lives, to help us overcome some fears, insecurities and unfortunate circumstances. We learned time and time again that we can wait for the right time, but surprise, surprise, there will always be unpleasant things thrown in our path. However, if we are willing to surrender and trust God, He is always faithful to bring us through tough stuff.  When it comes down to it, it’s so much better to do the hard stuff together as a couple trusting God rather than alone.

C.H. Spurgeon once wrote about the two houses built on sand and rock (Matthew 7:24-27). He reminded us of the large item I often overlook: the house built on the rock wasn’t spared difficulties. It experienced the same turmoil, the same storms and beatings. But in the end, it weathered the storm, because it was built on The Rock. We aren’t promised smooth sailing, but we are promised that with God’s help we will prevail for His kingdom’s sake. 

We know as a couple we are called to serve, to be on mission, and to be a light to the world wherever we may go — and as such, we will experience great difficulties. But we will choose to not fear, because our foundation will be built on The Rock. 

God has been faithful to bring us to this point; He will be faithful to keep us and bring us home. 

Top photo by Megan Maher

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