Zachary and I have known one another for about half our lives. When you know someone that long, you collect a lot of memories and stories together. This account could be much longer, but this is the short version of our long history!
Zachary and I started having music lessons together in 2000 when we were both 11 years old. Although we didn't talk to each other at first, we became good friends by the time we were 14. Our friendship continued to grow when we were 15, but our schedules took us apart shortly after our 16th birthdays. We did not see much of each other at all for a year until our paths crossed again. We did not stay in contact for long, however, and events outside of our control divided us again in the fall of 2006.
Zachary was easy to like (and imagine a future with), but I needed to keep my heart and will in the right place and let God rule that part of my life. After an intense emotional struggle, I surrendered my desire to have a future with Zachary to the Lord on November 11, 2006 -- shortly before our 18th birthdays. I never expected to talk to him again. This time in my life was incredibly difficult, but with God's grace, I learned to trust the Lord with our futures.
Once my heart had been checked and placed in my Lord's capable hands, He was able to work wonders in our lives. Zachary began attending the church my family went to -- First Baptist Church -- in October 2007. He was in Sunday School and Choir with me so -- once again -- we saw each other regularly. Even though Zachary had not done anything wrong, I was reluctant to be his friend again. I had given him up for good, and I was afraid of becoming emotionally vulnerable again. Zachary persevered, and we were able to be reacquainted during 2008 as I graduated from my high school studies, got a job, and planned for college.
My hope of a future with him had been reignited, but I was confused and unsure of his feelings. He was always such a good friend and gentleman -- which I admired -- but it didn't make interpreting him any easier. Understandably, I was confusing him as well with my somewhat friendly but distant interactions with him.
On August 11, 2008, Zachary removed all doubt and asked my father's permission to court me. I was overjoyed! Even though our parents wanted us to get to know each other better before an official courtship was entered, it was a milestone in our relationship. We began to spend much more time together. My admiration for Zachary grew quickly, but I was still partially withdrawn and reserved. I was afraid he would decide not to move forward with the relationship, and I would be left heartbroken. There was no question in my mind that I loved him.
There was no need to fear; Zachary assured me of his love (which I gladly returned) on October 11, 2008, and our official courtship began on April 11, 2009. In the following months, our love only grew as we enjoyed long walks, games, church activities, and conversation together and became more than friends; we became sweethearts!
Zachary and I were at the Cann Memorial Gardens on April 24, 2010 when he asked me to marry him. We had been talking about it for some time, but he still managed to surprise me! We held hands for the first time that day and chose a wedding date: June 11, 2011. He had spoken to my dad the day before, so my family knew it was coming, but it was so exciting for me to tell them all the good news!
The Lord worked a miracle in leading Zachary and me to each other! Our engagement has been a productive time of work and college, but we are both eagerly anticipating our wedding and a life spent together as husband and wife!