It was September 2003.
Darren and I had been dating for almost five years. Though I was only 20 and he was 19, I had known for a very long time that he was the one God had sent just for me. I was lucky that we got to spend a lot of our time together. We both worked full-time at the same job and attended the same school full-time as well.
However, I was ready to spend even more time together. I wanted to get married.
I knew that Darren was on the same page. We had talked about it many, many times. What I didn’t know was his timeline– when he was planning on asking me.
I knew it was getting close, though. So, when Darren and I planned a fun date after work one evening, I had to get dressed up… you know- just in case.
We went to Hard Rock Cafe in Downtown Atlanta. And– to be honest, I remember absolutely nothing about our dinner. EXCEPT the fact that Darren did not ask me to marry him. I was fairly sure before dinner that this was going to be it. Afterwards, I was just baffled.
We took a walk after dinner and I just kept waiting for the question… and waiting and waiting. It never came.
At some point, I stopped being baffled and started feeling angry. Childish, I know, but that’s how it happened. I don’t remember much about the drive back to my house, either. I do know that I stone cold silent. I got home and immediately took off that special dress and got ready for bed.
However, Darren wouldn’t go home. I just didn’t understand. I was hurt and upset and really just wanted to be alone. And there he sat.
Then, he quietly pulled out a book and handed it to me. This did not help. I didn’t want a book– I wanted a ring!
The book was called God Thinks You’re Special by Max Lucado. At Darren’s insistence, I began to read the book out loud– all 124 pages of it. When I was done, Darren suggested that I read it again. I must have given him a crazy look, because he then told me to turn to page 13.
That just happens to be the page that talks about God hanging your picture on his fridge. I read it… a few times. Darren encouraged me to look at the page really closely and finally I noticed it. One single “w” was underlined.
He then told me another page to turn to and then another. Slowly, the word “W-I-L-L” was formed. I began to quickly turn through the pages of the book to see what the phrase spelled out. I had a very good idea, but there was no way I wanted to be wrong. When I reached the last letter– “e”– I was crying. I looked up and there he was, tears running down his cheeks, with a beautiful ring in his hand.
I felt ungrateful, unworthy, and completely humbled. But, of course I said “YES!”
After hugging and crying, waking my mom up to tell her, and hugging some more, I took a chance to breathe… and apologize for my childish actions. Darren had planned the absolute perfect proposal– one far better and special than I could have even dreamed. However, I was too busy expecting it to be the way I had pictured it to give him a chance.
It turns out, this was the second proposal he’d planned for me. An entire month earlier, we’d planned a sunrise hike to the top of Stone Mountain. I had to work late the night before and was really tired, so I backed out. It turns out that was when Darren had originally planned to ask me to be his wife.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and this is no exception. Our faith and relationship with God has always been at the center of my relationship with Darren. So, Max Lucado’s book is quite the fitting way to propose.
Not to mention, I get to keep my proposal forever. The book stays out on a shelf– a constant reminder of the beginning of our journey where two become one. It’s looking a bit worn these days, but that’s only because it’s well-loved.
In just a few months, Darren and I will celebrate nine incredibly wonderful years of marriage. And to think– one little book was the beginning of it all.