Amanda and Nathan
How We Met – his side
Two years ago, I was in the middle of a grocery store in Managua, Nicaragua – sun tanned & salty. I was there to pick up groceries, to replenish my Flora De Cana & collect the ketchup of the gods for christmas presents. I bumped into Amanda buying coffee. Later, I found myself begging for 29 cordobas after being hassled by the police because I didn’t have enough cash to pay my bill at the espresso counter. My idea was to repay the debt with a lobster dinner but.. “ Nanna” her grandmother had no intention of letting the girls our of her sight.
Not to mention, the surf was pumping and we were a little distracted….It wasn’t until a year later we linked up on Facebook, then I made an off the cuff phone call on Thanksgiving day where we chatted for about 2 hours. The next day we fantasized about going on a date… to Cuba.. Haha.. Something about traveling that both makes our blood boil. We tried to get our schedules together, but it just didn’t work out. I was in the middle of a rebuild for our family restaurant and my schedule wouldn’t allow me the freedom to be away for a week.
Lucky for me, in the Middle of December I found a little window of opportunity. The restaurant was already 5 months behind schedule and we just failed our final inspection. I had to wait another week to be reinspected, so I called Amanda. She just happened to be hosting a Mission trip to Nica and I got an invite. The next morning, I bought a ticket out of Pensacola and hopped on a plane with no surf boards & no dive gear. All I had was a packed bag and a camera. I made a call to a friend in Gran Pacifica and let him know I would be down the road about an hour away; just in case I needed a place to stay if the missionaries decided that I wasn’t fit to be in that house.
That trip I connected to a woman in a way that I have never connected before. A woman that opened my eyes up to many things. I have never experienced, a woman who had a vision, a heart full of compassion and a head that kept her feet driven on a path she choose to walk. I have never encountered another that could inspire people in the way that she does. I could not help to be enamored with her and her cause. I had to get closer, I had to fully dive into a relationship that has given me so much insight into life itself.
Since that week, my life has changed and my vision clear for what I wanted to accomplish. Over the past 9 months our relationship has blossomed. With a few more stamps in my passport, 1000’s of miles put on my vehicle, and a multitude of stories we collected and shared; I made the decision that I wanted and needed her in my life forever.
With as much planning as I wanted to do with the proposal, I failed. I never mentioned it to my family until that morning before heading to the Biltmore. The Biltmore was where Amanda wanted to go on her birthday. I had planned to propose under the northern lights in Canada, but that trip was fizzling out. I just had this feeling and I called my mother to let her know what could possibly happen. As a little girl, The Biltmore was a place Amanda had fantasized about hopefully one day being the place she would marry her knight in shinning armor, a beautiful castle on a hilltop..
how they asked – his side
On her birthday we found ourselves casually walking through its gardens at the estate.
We stumbled on the most beautiful rose garden either one of us has ever seen. Recently the significance of a rose and how it achieves its perfect bloom, along with how it relates in our lives, has been the most recent topic of our conversations. Walking in that garden and discussing that metaphor, again, felt surreal.
At that time I knew this was the place. After having a feeling that morning that today could be the day, I brought the ring with me. It was evident that this was no coincidence and a nod that this was the time and the perfect place. Right then and there I got down on one knee and proposed.
This is one of the greatest decisions I have ever made and I believe it is no coincidence that I met Amanda that day in the grocery. I look forward to life ahead and what is in store for both of us.
how they asked – her side
The day before I got engaged I attended attended Code Orange to hear, John Grey speak. In his lesson, he spoke on the Garden of Gethsemane. He taught us the word Gethsemane, means “oil pressed”, symbolizing the place of crushing.
He also spoke about how not everyone is ready or willing to walk into the Garden of Gethsemane, because entering the garden means you are submitting to the point of pressing into the selflessness of ones self, ridding pride & ridding the ideals of self-righteousness.
He also taught us how, Jesus took steps in the garden that were purposeful, persistent & passionate. He was planted. He was pruned and in return, he could then produce. He further explained; God doesn’t prune the dead stuff. He often cuts off or prunes what is still living, because that’s what’s hindering our growth. Pruning what’s still alive can be hard and painful; but it is necessary. If you don’t prune the things that prevent you from growing, it will end up killing you & prohibiting you to reach your full potential of produce. All lessons I learned from the message.
Nathan was driving from Pensacola to NC to see me for my Birthday. Little did I know at that very same time, he was listening to the audio book, Necessary Endings – that covers these exact same principles. We decided to go kayaking & chasing waterfalls to celebrate my birthday and share some of our connecting insights!
See, I think God had been planting and pruning both of us throughout our lives. He was preparing us to be ready for one another. He spent time pruning the things from our lives that would inhibit us from being able to have a successful relationship. He was purposeful in his intentions for our lives, persistent in pruning us in preparation for one another and in return produced what we both had been praying or looking for – a partner, a teammate and a healthy foundation for a future together.
If we both had not been through that pruning process. We would not be prepared to step into the produce God has designed for us to achieve together.
On the way to the Biltmore, Nathan and I further discussed this revelation that had been unfolding to us at the same time, just in different ways. Our conversation was so powerful that we ended up missing our exit and running out of gas. Luckily… right in front of a gas station. Let me just say… Nathan was driving. ?
Once at the Biltmore, we ended up in the most enchanting garden I have ever seen. As a little girl, this was the place I had once imagined getting married at.
As I have gotten older, that idea was fleeting & I had come to terms with a more simpler concept of a wedding for my future. In that moment, Nathan got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.
Neither one of us planned that spot or that moment, but we both knew it was an affirmation. For me, I think it was a symbolic message, meaning that your obedience through the pruning process will always result in God producing & keeping true to His promises for our lives & hearts desires. What better foundation to start a life together on.