4 DAYS TO WEDDING BELLS!
There’s a song from a rock group I enjoy, “It’s the Final Countdown” by Europe. The final countdown has begun, and I’m so elated to be marrying my best friend. I have enjoyed giving you all a glimpse into my mind about my love for Kari. If I could sum up all the greatest moments of my life, I’d say meeting Kari is at the top of that list. I did not know she would become greatest joy and would soothe my soul and make me the happiest man alive.
Life throws all kinds of little surprises that are both good and bad. This is why this blog series has been titled, “Life’s a Surprise.” There’s an old saying, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade. Nothing could be truer than this past year. Though 2011 was the happiest year of my life, it was also one of the hardest I’ve had to face.
Because of the economic turn of our society, we’ve all noticed a major hit on our finances. It’s been tough for most families. I’ve known several families who have lost their jobs, been underemployed or have lost their homes. It’s been tough and hard for most people, and it doesn’t look to be getting better anytime soon. The Bible is very clear on one thing; all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purposes.
I encourage you; if you’re in one of those situations in your life or a family member is, remember to trust in the Lord for everything. There is no greater hope or joy we can have than to know our Savior has our back and will guide us through all trials. James, the brother of Jesus said, “count it all joy, my brothers, when you go through trials.” In other words, be happy things are bad! I do realize this sounds like a contradiction, but placing our hope in Christ brings us through.
Two years prior to 2011, I was asked to take a 10% pay cut. And if anyone knows what that feels like, it hurts. Expenses have gone up, and pay has gone down. Bad things begin to happen when you can’t pay your bills. I did my best to drop as many expenses I could, but other expenses got more and more. By the time 2011 rolled around, I was in trouble, and I didn’t know it yet. And when I finally realized I was at a point of no return, I was thankful Kari was right by my side.
My family, Kari and I went camping in the Wisconsin Dells area last August for our annual family vacation. I was excited! I picked her up and off we went to the cheese state. One night while I was sitting around the fire with my Dad, and my two brothers-in-law. To this day I cannot tell you what they were talking about, I was transfixed on Kari, who was in the kitchen tent helping my mom put dinner together. As I stared at them, it dawned on me how much I loved her. I realized that I was a better man with her than apart from her.
If someone asks me how did I know Kari was the one; my response would be really simple, as of that moment. Yes, I could see myself apart from her, but I couldn’t see myself without her. In other words, we’re stronger together than if we were apart; she completes me, and I complete her. Now, I ask you don’t get all spiritual on me, I’m not saying Kari replaced God in my life, so don’t think that.
When we got back from that vacation I asked her a simple question; “Where do you see us in a year from now?”
“I’d say we’d be pretty serious.” Came her response. “Where do you see us?”
I remember looking into her blue eyes and thinking, am I about to propose that we think about marriage, and maybe look that direction? “I see us either engaged or married.”
I wasn’t sure how she’d take that comment, but her response was exactly what I thought it would be. “I figured you were thinking that way.”
We both were on the same page and realized that, yes; we wanted to be married and couldn’t see it any other way. Now came the question I never thought I’d ask. “Do you want to go ring shopping with me?”
“Do you want to go tomorrow?” I wasn’t about to waste any time I knew what I wanted. The funny thing is, I thought I’d always be the guy who would surprise her with a ring. As soon as I asked her to go ring shopping, I knew that’s what I wanted, this way, I would know what Kari wanted. The next morning and the following week we went looking at rings. I say we searched over 20 stores to find the perfect ring.
Once the ring and diamond were picked out, my task was to buy it and then propose. I had no clue how to pay for the ring, and what scared me the most was people kept saying how much I needed to spend on a ring, and I was like… how much? There’s an unspoken rule out there for men to spend anywhere from two to three months gross salary. I don’t care who you are, that’s a lot of money. My suggestion for guys thinking about popping the question and wondering how much to spend, only spend what your checkbook can handle and never, never, never ever buy a ring on credit. Always pay cash for your ring, even if you have to put it on layaway for six months, don’t succumb to buying on credit. That’s a mistake many men make, and if it doesn’t work out and you break off the engagement, now you’re stuck with making a payment on a ring you can’t ever get face value for.
So, I wasn’t sure if I’d have the ring paid for when I needed it. This is where prayer is amazing! I began praying that the Lord would help me pay for the ring. And the most amazing thing happened. I paid for the ring in about 5 weeks, something I normally couldn’t do, but the Lord was good to me, and He blessed me. Let me do another quick teaching, if you tithe 10% regularly the Lord will bless your finances. That doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want, but He’ll take care of all your desires and take care of you. For someone who was struggling to make his gas bill, was able to pay for a ring by God’s amazing grace. This told me I was listening to His Holy Spirit.
Now the ring was beginning to burn a hole in my pocket and I knew I couldn’t hang on to this thing for much longer. So, I set the date on my calendar that I was going to propose on Friday, October 7. I couldn’t be happier, and I was climbing the clouds and numbering them. Before the happiest moment of my life, asking the woman I love to marry me, I took a hard blow. I had to make my monthly mortgage payment. I approached the teller window at Wells Fargo and my check was turned away, they wouldn’t take the payment. I sat down with a banker and learned I was being foreclosed on.
I was devastated! I’m about to propose my undying love to the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, and here I was learning I was losing my home and there’s nothing I can do about it. I felt like a failure.
TO BE CONCLUDED!