“ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This last week has been a whirlwind of excitement, life-changing moments, overwhelming joy, love & constantly pinching myself to make sure I was not dreaming.
And I wasn’t.
My cup surely overflows.
Friday, June 26th was my 22nd birthday. All week I was nervous in anticipation of this day. Not so much because it was a milestone for me, but because of the crazy mix of emotions that I knew were inevitable. For those of us who are seriously and chronically ill, for those of us who have had to fight against disease and the threat of death, for those of us whose future is totally unpredictable… milestones like a birthday are a very big deal.
My birthday was a reminder of all I have accomplished in the last year and recognition of the leaps & bounds my body has made since last year’s special day. It also served as a reflection of all that the last year held- the constant suffering, the endless pain, the misery & sheer heartache for all that happened and all that I continue to face. There’s a touch of disappointment in realizing what the reality of my life looks like… I’m only 22… selfishly, I long for things to be drastically different.
But they aren’t. And I accept my reality. I embrace my circumstances. And I praise God regardless of what happens in my fleeting, momentary life. To Him be the glory in ALL.
On my birthday we celebrated:
And of course, the God who made it all possible.
That night as I lay in bed I texted my family and Tyler to let them know it was my best day of the year.
If only I knew what surprises lay waiting for me the next day…
On Saturday morning, about 10 am, Tyler and I left Etown and headed for Nashville. His birthday is July 1, so we decided we were going to have a special weekend to celebrate both of our birthdays, how far I’ve come in my fight, & the fact that we can finally start doing some fun things together again!
Tyler got off on the Bowling Green exit as it’s the halfway point of our trip. This would be a perfect spot to gas up, stretch our legs (car rides are hard for me), use the bathroom etc. Before we stopped, though, he thought it would be a great idea to drive through Western Kentucky University’s campus. I hadn’t been there in almost two years. I couldn’t wait to see the place we both used to call home.
My eyes welled with tears the moment I saw Cherry Hall standing so proudly at the top of that hill. Memories flooded my heart- funny, irritating, exciting, beautiful, sad, & special things which all happened on this campus. These were the sidewalks where our footprints will forever be imprinted. These were the buildings where we sat through countless lectures, excelled & flunked tests, stressed over assignments, built relationships, dreamed of the future, found our independence, & fought off homesickness.
This place, this campus is where our story began.
Seeing how much things had changed since I left, yet how much remained the same had me mourning for the life I pictured for myself and had to so suddenly let go of… thinking of all the things that could have been but never were. It feels like an entire lifetime has happened since I was at a student at WKU.
We drove past McCormack, the dorm Tyler lived in during our first year together. We talked about the hundreds of trips that were made back & forth, in & out of that hall he called home. We remembered the dozens of nighttime strolls we took around the grounds when the weather was nice and the hill was all lit up.
I told Tyler we had to get out and take a picture! This was a huge moment for us. He said he knew the perfect place, somewhere that I could even open a present. For a moment my mind (like all girls) started to question if this was some kind of plan… Quickly, I dismissed this thought realizing I was the one who suggested getting out, not him. There’s no way he could manipulate my mind into thinking that…
He seemed so relaxed, nonchalant and totally casual. His armpits weren’t even getting sweaty!
Tyler pulled the car into the parking lot of Minton Hall, the dorm I lived in freshman year, the building in which we were first introduced. I immediately knew the spot he had in mind. It was OUR bench! We used to sit on this bench almost daily & talk for hours long into the night as we were getting to know each other. It’s a sacred spot to us as a couple.
I was elated at the thought of having one last conversation on our special bench.
We sat down and I opened my special gift. Beneath the wrapping paper I found a beautiful hardback book with our pictures on the cover and back. The pages were filled with picture collages of us through the years & sweet notes. The last two pages (or what I thought were the last pages) contained a heartfelt letter. They were the sweetest, most touching words I had ever read. Yes, I was sobbing like a baby the whole time.
I finished reading & looked up at Tyler to say thank you. He told me there was one more page. In that moment everything made sense. I knew THIS IS IT! I flipped the page to see a picture of a stunning diamond ring and that special question I longed to be asked. Before I knew it, Tyler was down on one knee asking me to marry him.
My initial reaction is somewhat of a blur but we both agreed I said something like, “Are you serious?! DUH! Of course! Yes!” Grabbing the ring as soon as I could, slipping it onto my finger & finding it was a perfect fit, much like the man in front of me, we then held each other tight. While crying, laughing, & hugging I tried to make sense of all that had just occurred.
We’re engaged?! That means we are actually, officially getting married?! Did Tyler really just propose to ME?!
It was the moment I have always dreamed of with the man I spent my entire life praying for, asking me to be his wife. I cannot wait to spend forever with the one whose heart God created mine for. He’s already gone above and beyond to prove that he’s in this crazy life with me for better or worse, in sickness & in health. How blessed am I to have a man who has promised to continue this journey with me, no matter what it may bring?
We continuously praise God for being the one source of true love (1 John 4:8). And for the Son He sent into the world to be a perfect example of love. And for the Holy Spirit which gives us the power to love. We know that everything in this world will pass away yet three things will remain: faith, hope and love. The greatest of them all is love.
In my life there may be a shortage of health, a shortage of calories, a shortage of physical stamina, strength, energy, and a shortage of vital internal organs… but I can confidently tell you this:
There is absolutely no shortage of love.
Love never fails.