After spending an entire day attempting to choose a wedding date, we had finally tentatively decided on January 9th. But there were still many things to get in order, including figuring out if my best friend (and maid of honor), Kayla, who lives a thousand miles away (literally) would be able to make it into town. On Friday morning I called her and she assured me she would make it work. We chatted a little longer about everything happening with dad, wedding planning, and how nervous I was that dad might not even get to see Paul and I get officially engaged. She played it cool the whole time, not letting on that she knew exactly what Paul was up to or that she was very much involved in it.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2015 | I awoke early the next morning and jumped back into planning, despite only getting a few hours of sleep. Mom lured me out of the house with wedding shopping but after about an hour or two dad called and mom told me we needed to go home because he was having a rough time. As we turned onto our road, I leaned back in my seat and yawned. “I’m going to lay down and take a nap when we get back.” I told mom. She nodded and continued driving.
We parked and got out of the car, but I stopped to grab some stuff out of the back seat. I couldn’t figure out why mom was acting so weird and waiting on me instead of just going inside. She stood at the back of the car until I got everything and walked behind me up to the front door. As I got to the front door, I was met by Paul’s handwriting and I immediately realized what was happening.
I opened the door and found a trail of photos, hanging from the ceiling, and a burgundy ribbon marking a path to the back door. Each photo had a message written on the back. They led from the front door to the back and I hurried to read each one. As I passed through the living room, dad was sitting on the couch with a joyfully tearful smile and he and mom followed behind me quietly.
I walked outside to find Paul standing by the photo-covered magnolia tree. The same tree that I’d worn a path around in the summer of 2013, when our relationship began, by circling it as I talked to him for hours on the phone. As I walked up to him I heard a camera shutter in the background, but assumed it was a family member and didn’t even both to look. I would find out only minutes later that it was Kayla capturing these beautiful photos. She had flown in at Paul’s request.
Paul began with the sweetest words and I began to get choked up. Then, with my parents watching, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I said a joyful yes and his shaking fingers carefully pushed a beautiful, delicate rose gold ring onto my hand.
And that’s the story of how Paul proposed. The next weeks were full to the brim with details and planning and chaos. As the wedding neared, dad’s health continued to decline and we wondered if God would allow him to make it to the wedding day. Just one week before the big day, we sat with dad in the hospice center of the hospital and I prayed continually that the Lord would allow him to walk me down the aisle…