Thursday, April 1, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

I posted this originally last fall but somehow it disappeared.  So here it is again... :)

Once Upon a Time... Our Nicholas & Kathryn Story…
What Kathryn says about Nicholas:
I love Nicholas' soul... the way he passionately pursues the Lord.... his humility... his joy... his desire to live for the treasures of eternity...
I love how he is so committed to truth... loves to learn and knows so many interesting facts... is a man of contemplation and enjoys discussing theology and worldview... I love just being together... laughing together about how we'll name our first son Theophilus.... realizing how our hopes and dreams are intertwined with each other...

What Nicholas says about Kathryn...
When I think of Kathryn, I think of someone living a dynamic life, whose joy and purpose is a constant positive influence to those around her. I am continually amazed at her peaceful and tranquil spirit, which is matched only by her passion for right; and I am challenged, in my own life, by her never ceasing desire to please the Lord.

I love how her presence lights up a room and how she brings both a fun sense of humor and intellectual depth to our conversations… in short; I am excited and looking forward to spending a lifetime with my friend.

Once upon a time I used to sit on my bed, contemplating over whether I should be a lawyer, hair stylist, or missionary when I grew up.  When I was 21 I attended a law school’s conference as I still contemplated over my big “what I’m going to be” decision.

Across from me in the conference room sat a young man named Nicholas.  Unbeknownst to me, he watched the speakers intently, but also watched me.  He had heard of me… the girl on crutches from having been hit by a drunk driver a few years before.  When he found out I lived in a house in Manhattan he figured I was a wealthy high-class girl who would never be seriously interested in him (later he found out I was from Manhattan, Kansas – not NYC – and he, being a Missourian, had vowed never to marry a Kansan).  I got to know his sister that week and, on the way home, she told her parents on her cell phone that Nicholas found his girl.

Well Nicholas went off to the mortgage industry and I went to Washington. A few years passed as he contemplated asking me out.  It was one day, while at seminary in Ft. Lauderdale (when I was making my weekly DC to FL commutes) that I received his e-mail asking whether I would be interested in starting to date.  I showed my friend, Susan.  I was quite shocked, particularly because I knew I was getting engaged the next week to a Washingtonian.  I think it mainly shocked me because my engagement to this other man was not smooth and there were increasingly concerns over this and, years before, my mom had mentioned how she had felt the man I was going to marry was at that conference.  Was this just a crazy coincidence or was this God doing something?  I wrote back to Nicholas and he was sad but realized the best thing was to entrust it in God’s hands.  I was engaged a week later but, a week before that wedding took place, my fiancé cancelled it when he realized there were some significant areas of his life that were not solid.

Several months later Nicholas got in contact with me.  I ended up getting stuck in the Midwest after speaking at a conference during Hurricane Wilma before the Ft. Lauderdale airport opened again. I spent a few weeks chatting over things with him and our families better getting to know each other.  We were engaged several months later.  However, soon after, he called it off, feeling that he wanted a girl who would be content to pursue the world’s glitter instead of the Lord.  He wanted a girl who would look good standing next to him when he ran for office and wanted me to really delete so much of my heart and soul’s joy and life calling.  I told him I couldn’t do that and he told me to mail him the ring back.  I didn’t think I’d ever talk to Nicholas again but, every so often, I’d look online to see if he’d married someone else.  This was such a painful time for me… but the Lord gloriously showed me His goodness… wow… that’s a story in itself.

The years passed.  I graduated from seminary, was offered a job at Coral Ridge in the Women’s Ministries department, eventually headed Women’s Ministries there, graduated with another degree, traveled all over the place, etc. etc… so much fruit and growth these past few years.

Last fall – September 26 – I was at a conference in NYC (the city where I go to refresh) and God really encouraged me there.  The speaker talked about barrenness… I was feeling barren in many ways… who would ever actually want me as a wife?  I felt very non-choosable.  The heart song I had spoken to hundreds of girls – how they are precious, chosen, delighted in, beautiful, etc. etc. to the Lord as His Cinderellas – needed a strong refreshment personally from the Lord.  I had also gone through a terribly painful year of ministry and was just worn-out.  And, the doctors had just given some discouraging news about my medical issues.  That weekend was a weekend of deep healing.

That same night Nicholas wrote my dad an beautiful letter of apology, healing, and restoration. My dad and Nicholas started writing and calling.  My parents could see an incredible transformation in Nicholas’ life – he had become a passionate pursuer of God, full of such humility, vision, and grace.  When I found out about this I wrote out a list of 5 pages.  He had to be everything on these 5 pages or forget it.  I didn’t want to date guys anymore who were compromises.  They had to be everything on the list or I would not get married.  And I seriously meant this- that through God’s grace, I would be OK if that meant not getting married.  I only was willing to date and marry someone who would encourage me to b be stronger in the Lord, someone with whom I could serve God better than remaining single, someone whose life I could orbit around as I sought to be a complement to him.  Well he was everything on those 5 pages. Everything!

Although my dad thought I would accept Nicholas' apology, he thought the hardest thing for him in pursuing me again would be for me to trust him. I’d been hurt so many times.  But that day when he first wrote me, until today, that has never been an issue.  I know that is the Lord’s grace to both of us.  I have seen Nicholas’ heart and it is led by God.

Earlier this year I went to Thailand and thought and prayed about the relationship a lot while there (as Nicholas freaked out about my safety).  I returned secure and ready to run with it.
“Our song” – and the song playing when we had been engaged in 2005 - had been What a Wonderful World. I sent him a link to that when I responded to his first e-mail to me this time. He wasn’t sure what that meant… was I open to his apology?  Would I forgive him?   Or maybe was I even interested in developing a friendship again?  Would I maybe even be interested in marriage?  Whatever I meant, he thought that was a good sign.  We were so excited to talk that first day he called.  We hit it off – this time deeper than ever it had been.  This time there weren’t masks but instead was true vulnerability – I could see his heart and we came to delight in each others’ souls and realize how amazingly God had woven our journeys these past years to tie in with each other.  Our life hopes and dreams are the same and we have been increasingly delighted in what God has done.

I love Nicholas and am in awe that he would ever have chosen me.  We have so much fun together!  We just truly delight in each other.  He leads me spiritually as we discuss the day’s events, every night he reads the Bible to me on the phone, and we never run out of things about which to talk.  We agree on almost everything in life except liking black licorice.  We love to have long-distance "dates" together... both of us watching the exact movie at the exact same time as we stay on speaker phone.  Together we make each other better, encouraging each other and strengthening each other.  I believe we have an exceptionally deep and solid relationship that I know comes from God’s overflowing goodness.  We talk about our “usness” – how we have this amazing dynamic together.  We know that comes from God being at the core and from being honest and forgiving toward each other.

So that’s our story (from my eyes) in a nutshell.  I can hardly wait to be his girl officially.  We hope you’ll be able to join us on October 3 when we celebrate God’s’ faithfulness.
Oh, and the neat thing is that Nicholas did start law school… and I am scheduled to begin this fall. And in the meantime I learned how I could be a missionary throughout life.  And, I have become a hairstylist as well (you should see how perfectly I can make his hair stick straight up after he goes swimming… although his sister can almost make a mini-mohawk so I need a little more practice).  And, now, what I most want to do “when I grow-up” is be his wife and serve the Lord together no matter what each day brings.
Truly God has turned our tears into a song of His lovingkindness… turning mourning into joy (Psalm 30:11).  God promises to do that.  When He takes away or allows something into our lives that seems so painful, we can cling to His promise that He will restore joy as we rest in His faithfulness.

God is in the fairy tale business indeed!  I look forward with expectation of the fairy tale of being His eternal bride. Truly I am His Cinderella.  But I am also continually amazed as He brings facets of heaven to earth, weaving reflections of that eternal glory and joy into our earthly lives.


“But if the world of the fairy tale and our glimpses of it here and there are only a dream, they are one of the most haunting and powerful dreams that the world has ever dreamed…” - Frederick Buechner (from “Telling the Truth, The Gospel a Tragedy, Comedy and Fairy Tale”)

“[The fairy tale]…does not deny the existence of… sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of the deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat…, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” - J.R.R. Tolkien