Worth The Wait: A Christ Centered Love Story
Friday, February 9th, 2018 Christian Marriage, Identity in Christ, Meet the Arnolds, Prepare for Marriage, Proverbs 31 Wife, Purity
The week before our wedding, I read through some of the notes and prayers that I had written over the years, and one prayer in particular stood out to me, this is what it said:
“God, please bring us closer to You before you bring us together.”
When I wrote it, I was 18 years old, I meant that prayer with all of my heart. But I didn’t exactly understand the meaning of that prayer or the faithfulness that God would display by answering that prayer so perfectly until I read it the week before our wedding.
I met my husband Tanner 3 months after I gave my life to Christ. I had thought that I had known Him for my entire life, but I was brought to my knees at 29 years old when I realized that I had gotten Jesus all wrong. He revealed Himself to me by bringing me to a church that was based solely on the bible, not on man made traditions. I learned that Jesus was totally different than I ever allowed myself to see before. The veil was torn away from my eyes and I saw Him clearly. That year, I gave my entire heart, my entire life to Him. He slowly changed the desires of my heart to reflect His will rather than my own, the things I clung to so tightly, the things I thought I wanted so badly before knowing Him, many of them melted away. New desires were born. However, my desire to be married and have a godly family still remained.
But this time it was different, I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t feel desperate. I felt a sense of peace, of trust. I knew that God would take care of me. And I truly got to a place where I knew that even if I never got married, I still had everything I needed. I had Jesus. He’s all any of us will ever need!
Three months later I met Tanner.
That prayer that I prayed when I was 18 was faithfully and perfectly answered. The Lord absolutely brought us closer to Him before He had us meet. Both of us wouldn’t have been ready to meet any sooner.
GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT.
We dated for 9 months before he proposed, and we got married 2.5 months later. We met, got engaged, and married within less than a year! I couldn’t have dreamed up this man, I couldn’t have ever imagined that this would be the way that our love story would begin.
Over the years, I watched my best friends get married and start their own families. I had many moments (let’s be honest, milllllions of moments) when I was overwhelmed with the fear that I’d never get married. When I got into the right relationship with Jesus, that changed. I still desired a husband and family, but it became second in line to my desire of Him.
So m’love. If you are still single and wondering when your time will come, this is my best advice: make Jesus your number one pursuit. Pursue Him with your whole heart, your whole life. Put marriage into it’s rightful place: your wedding day should not be the best day of your life, the day you got saved was by far the BEST day of your life.
When you can say that to yourself in full honesty, that’s when you’ll know you’re lining up with God’s will. I truly believe that God was serious when He said that He knows the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4). As long as your desires are lined up with His will, He will be faithful to fulfill them: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” But what many get wrong is that He wants us to delight in Him first and foremost. Lose yourself in the pursuit of Jesus. Lose yourself in getting to know Him, in seeing what He wants from you and for your life.
Marriage is NOT when your life begins, the day that you accept Jesus is the day your life truly begins. Live like that, babe!
OUR LOVE STORY
It was September of 2016, and I was on the phone with my sister when she mentioned I should try out one of those online dating sites. I was so not up for the idea, but as we were talking, I was scrolling through Netflix, and a movie called “Christian Mingle” popped up. I laughed out loud and thought, alright, I guess I’ll try it out. Seemed like a sign enough to me!
I filled out a profile and made sure to mention that although I wanted to get married, Jesus was more than enough for me. I wasn’t looking for a man to complete me, I had already been made complete in Him. I wanted any guy on there to know that up front, because it was so important to me that anyone I went out with would understand that and feel the same way.
I had that profile up for a week before I turned off all of the notifications. Without going into detail, it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. I got overwhelmed with the idea of messaging people back and forth that I didn’t know and I just told God that if He wanted me to meet someone, He should probably make it happen at church. lol.
A few months later, I was driving up to Chicago for Thanksgiving. I pulled over to fill up my tank and check my email. There was a new email titled,”Regarding Your Christian Mingle Account.” I assumed that my membership was over, but instead of automatically deleting it, I opened it. And thank God that I did!
The email was from Tanner. He told me that he didn’t have a CM account, but he was going through his friend’s account and noticed my profile. Since he didn’t have an account of his own, he googled my name and somehow found my website. That’s how he was able to reach me!
Long story short, we started chatting. We talked about all of the serious stuff within the first couple of days: kids, finances, faith, etc. Tanner was unlike any other man I had ever dated. Right off the bat, he was completely himself. He wanted to know the important things, and he wasn’t afraid of telling me that he wanted a godly marriage and family. It was so refreshing to hear a man talk about this. In my past dating experiences, it seemed like everyone was just trying to be so “cool” on the first few dates (or months, or years). It seemed like no guy that I met actually wanted commitment.
Tanner was 100% different.
A week later, he drove 5 hours up to Chicago to meet me. He took me out to dinner, we walked around the city, and he stayed at a hotel that night. In the morning, he picked me up and took me to church. That day, we knew.
SIDE NOTE: ladies, let him pursue you!
I know it sounds crazy, but we knew we would get married. It was the most peaceful, clear, non-crazy-pants fact in the world. We decided to date for a few months and see if we still felt the same way. Of course, we did :)
On August 22nd, 2016, we were visiting the Grand Canyon with Tanner’s family when he got down on 1 knee and asked me to marry him. He pulled out a journal and read to me a letter that he had written to my dad just a few weeks prior when he asked for my hand in marriage. He told me all of the sweet things I always wished someone would say to me. The best part is that the thing he said he loved most about me was my love for Jesus. We walked over to a restaurant that was near the canyon rim, and my parents had flown in to surprise me! We had dinner with both of our families that night, it was amazing.
We wanted to get married as soon as possible, we already felt like we had waited so long. My dream wedding venue had a last minute cancellation, and our date became available: 11/11/17. Within 2.5 months, we planned a whole wedding. It was a little crazy, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
When you know, you know. And, when you know that your wedding isn’t the most important day of your life, when the glory goes to Whom the glory is due, your wedding isn’t all about you. Rather, it becomes all about Him.
Our number one goal through the planning process was to have a Christ Centered Wedding. These days, the wedding industry has become so self-serving, “it’s YOUR day,” “it’s ALL about YOU,” “you can be crazy because it’s your wedding day,” etc. etc. This made me sick. Anytime that someone would say that it was my day, I would cringe. It wasn’t that I was shy, it was that I knew that the day wasn’t about me. It was about giving thanks to God for the faithfulness and the gift that He had blessed us with.
I read a book called A Christ Centered Wedding and was so inspired (PS – that’s an affiliate link, but I’m only sharing it because I LOVED it). We could make our day point to Jesus rather than to us. We did this in many of the details of our day and by making our ceremony the most important part of our day.
By the way, while I’m writing this, I can already feel about 5 different blog posts to follow. I’ll answer a lot of your questions soon! :) Post any Q’s in the comments below.
And in case you were wondering…yes. It was worth the wait ;)
Ceremony prelude: “God That Saves” by Iron Bell Music
Walked down the aisle to: “Priceless (The Film Ballad)” by For King and Country
Worshipped to: “King of My Heart”
Braided our “God Knot” to: “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham
First dance: “Waited For You” by Private Drive
Daddy-Daughter Dance: “I Loved Her First” by Heartland
Mom-Son Dance: “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts
Photography / Videography: KappVisuals