By Kathy Thomas
“Happy Birthday! And congratulations on your engagement!”
Our waiter’s words should have evoked squeals of elation. Instead, I stared at him in disbelief. After an awkward eternity of silence, I stammered, “Uh… well, thank you… but, he hasn’t asked me… yet.”
The waiter’s face turned every shade of shame, as he apologized profusely for letting the cat out of the bag. For a fleeting moment, I actually felt sorrier for him than for myself. My boyfriend – the coward – received no such pity, as he sheepishly grinned at me from across the table.
It wasn’t like I didn’t see it coming. It was my 18th birthday, and my father had surrendered his Cadillac, his credit card, and his personal country club membership card to ensure the night was extra special.
The whole scenario spelled P-R-O-P-O-S-A-L.
We had spent the evening giggling, whispering, and holding hands, trying to ease the awkwardness of being the only two diners in the entire restaurant. Later, we retreated to the balcony for a moonlit stroll. A surreal harvest moon engulfed our starry backdrop and stretched across the glassy lake. The warm August breeze twirled my long wavy hair, as swans danced across the water. It was the stuff that movies are made of.
But apparently, Prince Charming chickened out.
Unaware that my sweetheart had missed his cue, our unsuspecting waiter proceeded to extend his blessing on our hasn’t-happened-yet-but-should-have engagement. Had it actually been a movie, I would have screamed, “Cut!” and insisted on a retake. But it wasn’t, so we stumbled back out onto the balcony, where my boyfriend attempted to redeem himself by finally popping the question, himself, and offering his family’s prized heirloom – his Grandmother’s engagement ring.
It wasn’t the knight-in-shining-armor moment I had pictured in my head, ever since I was a little girl. But, I swallowed my disappointment and allowed my knight-in-tarnished-tinsel a chance for redemption.
I said “Yes.”
I even allowed the waiter a chance for redemption, by insisting he serve our wedding cake at our reception. After all, he had officially popped the question.
Over the years, our “Happily Ever After” hasn’t always been the fairy tale we hoped for. “For richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health” have been tougher promises than either of us ever expected. But through it all, we’ve found hope in offering each other one more chance for redemption.
Our heavenly Father surrendered His greatest treasure, Jesus, to offer us His proposal – our chance for redemption. If we surrender our own personal agendas and say “Yes” to Him, we find ourselves engaged in the greatest love story ever written. It isn’t always “Happily Ever After” either, but it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat, and tears we invest. Heaven knows, God invested His own blood, sweat, and tears into pursuing a relationship with us.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).
How can we deny each other the redemption He so freely offers us?
These past few years have been the hardest, as my husband has struggled to keep his small business afloat. About a year ago, one business debt snowballed into a potential lawsuit. We made the heartbreaking decision to sell the ring he gave me that tender August night to pay the debt. The jeweler, a Christian, happily made arrangements for us to buy it back. But last summer, as we struggled with the foreclosure of our home, we realized we could no longer make the payments and would have to let it go.
That same summer, our daughter met a godly young man named Shane. They quickly became best friends. I met him the night before they drove 1,300 miles away to attend Bible College together. A week later, he called to ask permission to court her.
While sharing their hopes and dreams over endless cups of coffee, Shane learned the story of our lost family heirloom. Shortly thereafter, he called to ask permission to redeem the ring with the intention of offering it to our daughter.
On a recent starry night… high atop a moonlit rooftop… kneeling on one knee… Shane placed our family heirloom on our daughter’s finger and asked for her hand in marriage.
She said, “Yes.”
“If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold” (Leviticus 25:25, NKJV).
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Kathy Thomas is a former model, homeschooling mother of four, and grandmother who enjoys farm life with her family near Ormond Beach, Florida. God constantly uses their personal building, cultivating, and shepherding experiences on their “Funny Farm” to teach them deep, powerful, and yes… sometimes humorous and humbling lessons concerning His kingdom mission. Kathy hopes to encourage others in their journey of faith through sharing hindsight, laughter, and the truth of God's written word.
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