April 14, 2007
As told by Paige:
Growing up, when all my friends were dating in middle and high school…let’s just say the guys were not knocking down the door to get to know me! I was awkward, very insecure, and incredibly shy. While those aren’t godly attributes, I do thank God that guys weren’t just dying to talk to me…or this could be a very different story. I had crushes, like every other person. I got disappointed. And most of the guys that did approach me, well, lets just say I was FAR from interested in them. God kept me from having my heart broken. even before I learned what courtship was all about. Even though all my friends who dated, seemed to be having a blast, it sure wasn’t pretty when they broke up.
Let’s fast forward to when I am sixteen ( I think). My youth leaders did a series on courtship. It was a curriculum called “A Match Made in Heaven” by Richard Crisco. It discussed the dangers of dating and how dating is actually practicing for divorce. I won’t cover all the material because there is way too much. But, it was then that I realized that I wanted God’s best. It was hard. I didn’t necessarily commit to the courtship process, but I tried my hardest to keep my heart only for my future husband alone.
In the years that followed, I grew much as a person. I slowly came out of my shell. I was growing in the Lord, and accepting who HE made me to be. I wasn’t supposed to be like all the other girls. He made me different. He made us all different. It is so liberating when we realize this and just learn to be ourself! I devoured resources that encouraged purity. I will list them at the bottom if you are so inclined to read…for yourself or for your children.
So now to the really good stuff! Pay attention to the dates. It was the first Saturday night in January 2004. January 3rd to be exact. At that time, we had prayer on Saturday nights at the church. I was praying, and suddenly, the Lord impressed it on my heart to pray for my future husband, right then. I had no idea who this person was. I wasn’t interested in anyone, and I didn’t know of anyone interested in me. It was strange, but I prayed anyway. I had read about people praying for their future spouse on a regular basis. There had been times when I prayed about it, if it popped in my head, but nothing consistent. But, this night changed everything.
For the next two days, I pondered why God had me pray for this man. It was a feeling of urgency. So two days later, on January 5th, I began to journal heavily about all that I was dealing with. This journal saw many emotions. This journal saw a lot of growth. I was committed to this man I never met. I prayed for him as often as I thought about it…which was probably close to every day. Not fancy prayers. I would just breathe prayers of protection of his life, or that God would help him resist temptation. Things like that.
As I wrote, God showed me other things. It wasn’t just about praying for him. I needed prayer, too. I surely wasn’t wife material. There were things in me that God had to do before I could hope to be ready for the amazing thing called marriage.
So all of 2004 goes by, and nothing. No knight in shining armor for me! Then 2005 begins and…same thing. One night, I think late February, I was introduced to a visitor at our church, a guy named Adam. It was just kind of a quick handshake and “nice -to-meet-you” sort of thing. He begins attending our church on a regular basis. He is a nice guy…not to mention good looking…but that’s about it. Then he starts talking to me. Nothing major, just friendly stuff. I notice that he seems to actually LIKE talking to me, and sought me out to talk to me. I liked this. But, there were some problems. He had just become a Christian in February and was still battling an addiction to painkillers. It was tough, because in my heart, I really, really liked him.But, I knew a relationship with him just could not happen. Not then anyway.
In August 2005, things dramatically changed. Adam was miraculously delivered from his addiction to drugs. But, it was much more than just deliverance from bad addictions. He grew in the Lord by HUGE leaps and bounds. I really don’t think I have ever seen a transformation, with my own eyes, quite like Adam. He began to read the Bible everyday. Since that time, I think he has missed only one or two days of reading since 2005! Incredible. While I watched all this, I was so excited! I started to see qualities in him develop that I desired in my future husband. But, I still knew I had to give it time. Growing up in church, it was so common to see people passionate and on-fire, only to have them go back to their worldly ways and never see them again. I had to know that this change was real, and wasn’t a fleeting passion. We continued to grow as friends. Hardly anyone knew of my feelings toward Adam, though my flesh wanted at least him to know. I think the only ones who knew were my mom, and one close friend who I knew wouldn’t share this with anybody. I felt it was important to keep quiet about it, because the last thing I needed was some “friend” telling me to tell Adam how I felt. Or better yet, having that “friend” tell Adam how I felt. So, I continued to wait.
This next part is kinda funny. January 2 (I think) of 2006. I am attending a church meeting. My pastor introduces me to another young man and is speaking highly of him. Basically, this guy wanted to know if he could call me. This gentleman did not attend our church, but I knew of him. I did give the guy my phone number, but felt weird about it. While flattered, the whole time, I was thinking about Adam. That’s who I wanted! But, since he hadn’t voiced any feelings or anything to me, I couldn’t think of an excuse not to (though I could think of a few now!). Adam was also attending this meeting, and as it turns out, was in earshot of this conversation. This sorta lit a fire under his tail.
The next few days were very conflicting for me. This guy would call. He was nice and all, but I really wasn’t interested. And I didn’t know how to tell that to him, in a nice, honest way. One of my many flaws, is that I beat around the bush…and the person on the receiving end doesn’t seem to get the point. My heart agonized, because I did not want to, in any way, lead this guy on. But, then I thought, maybe I should give this a chance. Maybe this is who God has for me, and not Adam.
Then comes a really good day! January 5, 2006. Adam and I met up for lunch at the yummy K&W! We had met for lunch frequently prior to all of this, so this was not unusual. Earlier that morning, my mom told me it was going to be a good day. So I was expecting something. Not sure what…but something! We eat all of our lunch, and nothing. Just normal conversation. Finally, we both are getting to leave and head back to our jobs. I can’t remember exactly all he said. I think he just blurted out “Um, what are you doing Saturday night?”. Haha! Unfortunately, I really did have plans that night. But was quick to say maybe another night. When I told him, he then proceeded to tell me that he would like to begin a relationship with me and that he called my dad the night before to ask his permission! I’ve heard about young men asking the lady’s father for permission to marry their daughter, but not to begin a relationship. It was very honorable of him to seek my father’s permission before entering into a relationship. I was on cloud nine! The whole day I don’t think I could stop smiling. Shortly after, I realized the significance of this day…it was 2 years to the DAY that I began journaling about him! I was blown away! Talk about timing! God’s timing.
So begins our courtship. Like I said before, we weren’t perfect, and if we could go back, there are things we would do differently. But, early on we were committed to purity. It was awesome, because Adam was actually the one who thought we should save our first kiss for the wedding day. He was not interested in just dating. From the beginning, marriage was in mind. It was so great to not be physically involved, because we really got to know each others personalities really well. We were (and are) very different, but we learned how those things can complement each other.
My birthday is on November 7th. But, this particular year I was going to be away the on weekend of my birthday. Adam wanted to celebrate it early. We decided that we would get together to celebrate it on October 21.
He made dinner for me and gave me this beautiful mirror that I LOVE! Then he hands me this piece of paper and wants me to read aloud. I start getting a hunch at whats going on, but try not to go crazy in case I was wrong. The Paper read :
To My Beautiful Paige
To my beautiful Paige, I give my heart.
To explain my love, where should I start?
First of all; the day I saw you I fell in love.
Now, I know God sent you, like a gift from above.
Knowing you love me is such a blessing to me.
God unlocked my heart, but you were His key.
Knowing that I can love you and you’ll love me back;
I promise my love for you will never grow slack.
What a journey it’s been, falling in love with you.
I’m so much in love, I hardly know what to do.
I think about you all day; morning, noon and night.
I imagine our future what a beautiful sight.
Speaking of our future, I want to do things right.
I could hardly wait for this wonderful night.
I went to your folks and they said O.K.
Now I hope I don’t trip over the words I say.
Just the thought of this moment makes my blood pressure rise.
So just put down this paper so I can look into your eyes…
I wish I could remember verbatim what he said at this point! I know he told me that he loved me and asked if I would marry him. He then opened a box with an incredibly gorgeous ring in it! Of course, without even seeing the ring my answer was a big, fat “YES!” But, let me tell you about this ring. Us women love to look at pictures of engagement rings and wedding dresses and all that good stuff. I liked the princess cut, but I really liked the emerald cut diamond ring. I never told Adam what I liked, but I did tell my friend (now sister-in-law) what I liked and so he found out through her. It was a stunning ring.
After that ring was placed on my finger, he proceeded to tell me something I didn’t know about emerald cut diamonds. For that particular size and cut, the diamond has to be very pure, or it will be easy to spot imperfections. He added, that knowing this reminded him of me and my desire to remain pure! Wow! I was so blown away. What a beautiful gift!
Shortly after, we decided on a wedding date of April 14, 2007. During our engagement the Lord strongly revealed some areas that we needed to change. When we compare ourselves to others, its easy to justify certain actions. But when the Holy Spirit convicts us, no matter how good we think we are, we had better obey. Adam had his own home and had a roommate living there. And we hung out there a lot of the time. Again, we were strong and really would just hang out and talk or watch a movie. But, there are a few things very wrong about this. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says “Abstain from all appearance of evil”. In 1 Corinthians 8 it talks about not being a stumbling block to others. It just didn’t look good, me being there with him, many times alone. We were involved in youth ministry and how would this have looked to them? We may have been strong and in control of ourselves, but this was sending a message to them that they could do this with no problems as well. By the grace of God alone, we were strong. But, had we had one weak moment, things could have changed dramatically. It’s like playing with fire. I am not saying you can never, ever be alone. But there are principles in the courtship process that allow for that in a safer environment then your boyfriends home or apartment. My mom had even warned me about it not looking good, even though she trusted us, but I just shrugged it off (outwardly), though it was still deep in my thoughts. The kind of thoughts you just tuck away and choose not to think of. But in January of ’07. God dealt with us and Adam decided that I shouldn’t come over anymore. He would start coming to my house ( I lived with my parents) a lot more. It’s hard when you know you have sinned against God, but such grace when you repent and do things completely the right way!
FINALLY- April 14th arrives! This was a perfect day in every way. I wasn’t nervous. I was sure and really happy! Of course, there was excitement and a little nervousness about the wedding and all those people watching me, and just the fact that I was getting ready to vow my life to another person. But I was sure and I knew this was the man that God designed for me to be with. The weather was perfect. Things ran smoothly. Well except for one part. I had read of a couple who had a footwashing in there ceremony. If you recall in the Bible. where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples as a symbols of servanthood and humility . We wanted to symbolically say, ” I will serve you”. It was a beautiful moment except for when it was my turn to wash his feet, trying to put a dress sock on a damp foot wasn’t easy! You had to be there….it was just funny! But it was a perfect ceremony. We exchanged rings, and vows. ” The pastor then pronounces ” Mr. and Mrs. Adam Tennant….you may kiss the bride”! That long-awaited kiss finally came! A beautiful kiss! Such a good kiss, I asked him for another one there at the altar! It was surreal and I felt like I was floating! God truly had the best for me in every way. Be encouraged to wait on the Lord and not take things into your own hands.
photos by korihoffman.com