Our Love Story: An Anniversary Excerpt from “Immeasurable”

In honor of Ben’s and my fourth anniversary, I wanted to share an excerpt from my memoir, Immeasurablethat describes how the Lord led us to one another. I pray that no matter your relationship status, this post will remind you of God’s sovereign and perfect plan for your life, and your heart.

Real Love

 

If you’re single now, don’t allow yourself to become embittered as you hear of others finding their mate. Don’t scroll through Facebook and roll your eyes at the happy honeymoon pictures and the “Engaged” statuses that seem to be popping up like irritating ads in your favorite free phone game. Be encouraged that just as they were introduced to their spouse at precisely the right time, you too will be led effortlessly to your husband if you only wait on the Lord and trust Him with your heart.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.” –Psalm 37:4-5, NLT

 

A Date with Destiny

The exact date was May 21st of this 2011, the very day, you may recall, on which the world was scheduled to end, according to apocalypse-peddler Harold Camping. While there were no world-ending earthquakes, a certain cataclysmically-themed hit pop song by Carole King aptly summarizes that day:

I feel the earth move under my feet

I feel the sky tumbling down

I feel my heart start to trembling

Whenever you’re around…

Corny, yes, of course it is, but corny with uncompromising corn kernels of truth!

I woke up that Saturday morning without a care in the world, not even that the world could end at any moment.[1] I put on half a face, threw on a t-shirt and a favorite pair of purple Lululemon running shorts, ate breakfast, then headed out, coffee in hand,  to the local CrossFit community workout being hosted in the parking lot of a local athletic store. It was my job as in-house blogger at the gym at which I was a personal trainer to record the experience of a first-time CrossFitter and write an article about it.

My husband – who at that time no more than a facebook “friend” whom I’d never met despite several mutual real-world friendships and shared work environment – was coaching the workout that morning, but I was too busy concentrating on my blog subject, Colleen, and her first experience with CrossFit to notice the cute guy in the green shirt conducting the frenetic orchestra of sit-ups, lunges, and lateral jumps.

After the workout, as wiped out CrossFitters wiped away their sweat and hobbled to their vehicles, Colleen introduced me to Ben, but the exchange was brief, which, in retrospect is rather strange given that he and I (especially him, I might add) are by no means shy when it comes to conversing with strangers. I suppose he had to help the other coaches pack up the medicine balls, rowers, and other CrossFit apparatuses (apparati?).

Feeling inspired to work out myself, I headed to the gym and promptly found myself getting roped into a WOD (that’s CrossFit speak for “Workout of the Day”) by a few friends…and a future fiancé of mine…

Mind you, I had never “wodded” outside of an introductory CrossFit class, and here I was falling all over myself trying to keep up with CrossFit coaches. I felt like a Shetland pony racing against a pack of thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby.  But lucky for me, I had in my exercise arsenal one move which Ben happens to find impressive: ring dips.

Even as Ben, in his endearingly didactic way, kept moving the rings higher and higher off the ground, I didn’t feel sparks fly, didn’t hear birds begin singing sweetly, nor did I notice any cherubic archers skulking about, waiting to take shots at us.  It wasn’t until I sent him an innocuous (I promise!) Facebook message that evening to ask if he could answer a few CrossFit-related questions for my article that the proverbial wheels were set in motion, propelling us speedily toward Husband and Wife.

 

A Divine Appointment

Ben replied to my Facebook message and said he’d be happy to answer my questions, but that he’d prefer to do so in person (As the kids today say, it’s so “obvi” he was into me!…Just kidding.)  I met him at the gym the following afternoon after one of his CrossFit classes had ended, and what – under normal circumstances –  should have been a fifteen-minute interview morphed into a three-hour conversation which only ended because the gym manager turned off the lights, giving us the not so subtle hint that it was time for us to leave.

But this interview wasn’t under normal circumstances, but God-ordained ones, pre-planned for us for who knows how long!

Proverbs 16:9 says that “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (NLT). Ben and I had scheduled our appointment time, but God had determined that our meeting would lead to much more than a well-rounded CrossFit article. This is how gracious and giving and immeasurably good our God is! He says to us, “Don’t worry about the details: if you’ll marry, who you’ll marry, when you’ll marry. Trust me, follow me, and I will bless your faithfulness and take care of your future.”[2]

As I got into my car, feeling like I had been struck in the chest with a love potion-dipped arrow and wondering if I’d ever talk to this man again, I heard the Georgia accent of preacher and teacher Dr. Charles Stanley echoing in my head: “Obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.”

I took a deep breath, started the car, and drove home peacefully, as if floating on air, knowing God had the next step planned…and the one after that, and the one after that…

A few months later, we were at the proposal step. Ben and I were spending a Saturday night eating take-out from Outback and toiling over one of our famously intense Scrabble matches (Seriously, you’d think we were dismantling a bomb judging by our furrowed brows and bated breath!). Little did I know that hiding somewhere deep inside that crimson letter bag was a homemade tile with stickers bearing the words “Will you marry me?” fixed to it.

An hour and forty-five minutes later, with no other tiles left to extract, I pulled out the undercover tile and responded to the words as someone who’d just won the lottery: “YES!!!”

Ben and I jetted off to our Caribbean “weddingmoon” three months later and exchanged vows on a private balcony overlooking a shimmering turquoise sea framed by twin emerald peaks; it was, as the travel commercial say, “paradise.”

My mother-in-law had once told Ben he’d have a difficult time finding a girl who would be willing, much less desiring, to have a private wedding. But that’s the beautiful thing about trusting in God in all things: He finds our mate, not us. When we let Him do that, we find ourselves blessed with a spouse who enjoys the pastimes we do, adores us on bad hair and bad mood days, and most of all, loves us more than he does his own life.[3]

 

Ben and Diana

 

 

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[1] If ever you hear someone claiming to have predicted the world’s expiration date, remember that Jesus said that only God the Father knows the hour and the day on which “the Son of Man,” Jesus, will return (Matthew 24:36).

[2] Jeremiah 29:11

[3] Ephesians 5:25

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