How We Met
When I was in third grade a cute, chubby boy named Ethan moved to my school for his dad’s head football coach job. There was always something different about him, but I’ve always been different, too. I was born with a visible birth defect called Klipple Trenaunay Syndrome, which makes my hands and arms purple, misshapen, and covered in surgical scars. I grew up believing it would be hard for any guy to see past all of my hideous flaws, but when I was in fifth grade I learned that fairy-tales really do come true. I had a massive crush on Ethan, which compelled me to pray that he would ask me to be his homecoming date. I’d spent a lot of time praying for healing when I was a kid, but I never saw my hands change. I knew praying for Ethan might be an unanswered prayer like my prayers for healing.
God, however, answered with a little humor. He knew that one day my heart would be healed by the love of Christ, and Ethan’s love would help teach me that. I can only imagine Him saying, “If only you knew what’s to come. He’s going to ask you to homecoming, but one of these days he’s also going to ask you to marry him.” I’ll never forget when this kid in our grade came up to me and said, “Ethan wants to know if you’ll go to homecoming with him.” I put on my sassy pants and said, “You can tell him to ask me himself.” A few days later I was headed to my bus when Ethan shouted my name. I turned around and looked at his handsome little face to find him speechless. When I continued to walk towards my bus, he shouted, “Will you go to homecoming with me?” I turned back around and answered his question with one word I would eventually say to him when he gave me a ring. “Yes.”
how they asked
When Ethan and I grew up, we fell in love while learning what it meant to live out, “in sickness and in health.” In fact, our whole relationship has been a roller-coaster ride filled with the most beautiful ups and the hardest lows. When Ethan asked my dad if he could marry me, my dad reminded him what it means to go through life with me. My birth defect is cosmetic, but it also causes internal problems and infections that send me to the hospital each year. Oddly enough, the day Ethan initially planned to propose to me was the day I woke up with an infected arm. Everything was in place. Everyone was ready to come celebrate with us in Arkansas. Every plan was put on hold by reality.
The magical, fairy-tale proposal would just have to wait. A couple of weeks after I was released from the hospital and back at college, Ethan planned a date to Hot Springs since our former date was put on hold by my infection. Since our final exams were the very next week, I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t hear from Ethan much that day. I figured he was studying like I was. Little did I know, Ethan was in Hot Springs buying the cupcakes we were supposed to buy on our date. Fortunately, my best friend, Rachel, kept me distracted while Ethan prepared to propose. We spent the day taking detours (AKA avoiding seeing Ethan’s family and my family come into town) and buying random things at Walmart. When we were on our way back to campus, Rachel asked me what my dream date would be. “I don’t know,” I said with a chuckle. “Dates make me nervous!” After thinking about it a little while, I told Rachel that my dream date would be to go get coffee and look at Christmas lights.
Several hours later, that is exactly what we were headed to do, even though I had forgotten all about the dream date conversation. Since Ethan had cancelled our date to Hot Springs because he needed time “to study,” I figured our Christmas lights and coffee date was quick and casual. I mean, Rachel was coming with us, so it couldn’t have been a formal date, right? Wrong. Rachel showed up at my door and said, “Lindsey, I am so sorry, but for some reason Ethan is in my car in a suit jacket because he wants to take a cute picture outside Java Primo. If you don’t want to hurt his feelings, then you have to put on a dress.” I was initially bitter about having to wear a dress and pantyhose, but as soon as Rachel closed my bedroom door so I could change clothes, I began to wonder if Ethan had something else planned.
“No, don’t think about it,” I told myself as I began to pray. “Heavenly Father, I don’t know what is going to happen tonight, but I want You to be glorified.” Each time the thought of getting engaged crossed my mind, I continued to pray. Once I was picture ready, Ethan, Rachel, and I headed to get coffee and look at Christmas lights. After about an hour (and a few strange phone calls that I tried to just ignore) the date started coming to an end. “Okay, so I really did put on a dress just for one picture, and that’s okay,” I told myself when we were back on campus. “Oh, Rachel,” Ethan quickly said in a nervous tone as Rachel drove the long way around campus. “I think I left my flash-drive in McClellan. Could you let us out there?” As she pulled towards the sidewalk, I noticed our friend, Tim, standing guard at the door. That’s when I knew.
Ethan smiled at me and walked me to McClellan as if we were taking our daily stroll, but this day was different. When Tim opened the door, I walked into a fairy-tale. Tulle was hung from the ceiling to the floor around a beautiful Christmas tree and table for two. Lights and photos were hung from the ceiling, and on the floor and walls were signs with beautiful Bible verses about love. I wanted to take it all in, but I also really wanted the cupcakes on the table! Once I finished my cupcake, Ethan handed me a letter with a wax seal that said, “LE.” I never realized that “LE” stood for “Lindsey Edwards,” my future name. The first sentence of the letter said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about Ephesians 5:25, ‘Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church…'” I nearly cried thinking about how beautiful it is to know that Ethan strives to love me like Christ. When I finished the letter, I smiled at Ethan, who got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Just like in fifth grade, I said, “Yes.”