Our story begins like all other great love stories… with an Author. This Author writes the best stories–captivating, full of suspense, he takes the characters backwards in order to go forward, and sometimes he leads them to what seems like destruction to only bring them to a better place than they could have ever imagined. His stories always involve love because He is love. He wrote himself into the great Story of which we are all a part of to display the fullest of expression of love—dying for his enemies instead of crushing them and bringing them to a wedding feast where He is the Great Groom. He is the source from which all other love flows, so if we aren’t connected to Him we know our love will not withstand time, loss, pain, hurts, and life. We love because He first loved us. We couldn’t have written a better story.
Ben and I met at our church’s Neighborhood Group one Wednesday night in June. We had conversations about how he had recently just returned from spending over a year in Africa doing non-profit work, Jesus, applying to Google, my new teaching job, and sermons by Matt Chandler. After a month of Facebook messaging and talking on the phone, he moved to Mountain View and took me on a date right away. We went to Burlingame to get delicious Danish pastries, a SF Giants day game, dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant and finished the day at the Wave Organs at Fort Mason overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. A week later we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.
Fast forward to seven months later, March 17th, 2013. Ben arrives at 8am at my door to start our day date with a Macy’s box in his hand. Inside is a cute dress and necklace he said he bought for me and would like it if I wore it. I was touched by his thoughtful gesture and gladly put on the new dress and necklace. Then we began our adventure.
The first surprise stop was in San Francisco at Fort Mason. It was a gorgeous day in the city and he took me to the Wave Organs just like our first date. We then sat on the same bench and reminisced about that date and our relationship now. At each stop Ben made sure to take pictures to document the day. Usually I am the one who takes photos of us not him, so I thought it was sweet that he was documenting the date.
Then we were off to our second destination, The Cliff House. It had a beautiful ocean view and Ben treated me to a fancy brunch.
On the way to our third destination, Ben informed me that he downloaded a Matt Chandler sermon for us to listen to. When it started playing I quickly realized it was the same sermon we talked about during our first conversation ever!
We finally arrive at our third destination, Rancho San Antonio County Park. This is the same place I trained during high school for cross country. This is my favorite place to run and hike in all of the Bay Area because of the beautiful trails and the fun memories.
Once he told me where we were going I was a little upset because I hadn’t planned on going on a hike in a dress. During our walk I realized I needed to snap out of it! I had a great guy by my side who had been making me feel so special and had even bought me a dress! I apologized for my attitude and we continued on.
We passed the Deer Farm and started heading towards the bridges in the canyon. There were a lot of people on the trails and in an effort to let them pass, Ben told me he was feeling nauseous and he needed to slow down. Once the people passed we continued on to the second bridge. He stopped again right after we crossed the bridge and said he needed to splash some water on his face because he was still feeling nauseous. As he bent down he pulled a present that had been placed under the bridge. He said, “Look what’s here! Open it!”
I pulled out a photo frame with a several of our favorite pictures and a love poem that he had written me. I was very confused because some of the photos were from earlier in the day when we were at the Wave Organs and brunch at the Cliff House. He then dropped to his knee, told me he loved me (we both had never said “I love you” to each other) and proposed.
His friend Jerry came out and documented the moment with pictures. He had helped create the photo collage and put the present under the bridge. I soon found out that Ben had emailed Jerry the pictures earlier in the day so that he could put together the collage. Ben also had to explain the poem because so much was going on that I missed an important piece to the whole story. Everywhere Ben traveled he always bought something for his future wife, for the woman he had prayed that God would bring into his life. So my dress wasn’t from Macy’s, it was from Turkey. And my necklace was from Uganda, the photo frame was from Kenya and the ring holder was from Rwanda. I was blown away at his thoughtfulness and planning. All I kept saying was, “Wow, Ben, wow!”
Later that evening Ben surprised me with a dinner with all my family and my close friends. The day was more than I could have ever asked for! I am so happy that I get to marry my best friend, and the man who is better than my dreams!! God has been so gracious to us! We are thrilled and excited to begin this new adventure!