“…and God, please give us a perfect sunrise tomorrow…”
A simple prayer prayed by my now husband from the top of a moonlit lifeguard chair on June 8, 2004.
We were on vacation at the Outer Banks with our families and had stopped during an evening walk on the beach to sit and pray. With that we said goodnight and with plans to wake early the next day to see the sun peek over the horizon.
One of the many things my father instilled in me is a love for sunrises. No matter how many I’ve seen they still take my breath away. I always get up at least one morning while on vacation to watch the sun come up. I roll out of bed, grab my Bible and my camera and claim my spot in the untouched sand to watch God put on a show. Adam, however reluctantly, would some times get up to see it with me.
That summer he seemed particularly concerned about the sunrise that next morning and was awake and ready even before I was. I rolled out of bed, threw on a pair of mesh shorts and one of the many free college T-shirts that filled my drawer, and, with zit cream still gracing my make-up-less face, headed out to the shoreline with my boyfriend.
June 9, 2004.
And it was, indeed, a perfect sunrise.
He sat. I took pictures. We talked. He pulled out his Bible.
After I sat back down, Adam said he had something to share with me. Fully expecting him to share something he had been studying in his quiet time, I listened intently while he read 1 Corinthians 13.
And he paused.
Anyone that knows me (particularly then) is fully aware of my struggle to sit in silence. So I opened my mouth. And clumsy, sarcastic words fell out.
“Pfft. I thought you were gonna ask me to marry you or something.”
Another awkward pause.
This time Adam broke the silence.
“Oh, you did, huh? Well, Megan, will you marry me?”
Yes, you read that correctly. I totally ruined my own proposal.
There were more words he wanted to say. More he wanted to explain. More of his heart he was ready to reveal. A knee he had been planning to get down on…but hasty sarcasm didn’t let him get that far.
Obviously, I had not been expecting this.
Though we had been dating for a long time and though I desperately wanted to marry him, I still didn’t see it coming. In fact, I didn’t expect it for another year. At least.
I was a few months shy of 21 and had just finished my sophomore year of college. A college that was 2 1/2 hours away from the one Adam was attending. And we knew we didn’t want to get married until after I graduated. This early proposal was not in my plans. Oh, if I only knew that would be the first of many times God would lovingly remove my fingers from the stirring wheel and change my plans.
After I humbly removed my sand covered foot from my mouth, I said YES.
There was no professional photographer hiding in the sea grass (though there was a dad “fishing” with his camera down the beach). There were no fireworks or fanfare or bands playing. And because of a conviction to strive for a higher standard of purity and a decision made 8 months prior to not kiss again until we were husband and wife, that morning’s proposal didn’t bring a knee weakening, frame-worthy smooch either.
Just a hug and promise.
It was simple. It was quiet. It was raw.
And it wasn’t perfect. But the proposal during the sunrise of June 9, 2004 welcomed the beginning of a deeper love and stronger commitment than I could have ever imagined.
I was learning to surrender control. I was learning that trusting God would now mean trusting Adam. I was learning that life (and love) wasn’t perfect or well-planned out, but it was beautiful and so very good.
Saying YES that morning ushered in a sweet time in both my relationship with Adam and my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I couldn’t wait to be Adam’s wife…and I was never so enamored at the thought of being part of Christ’s bride.
Two years later I wore white and said “I do.”
The weather was hot and sticky. The church wasn’t air conditioned. The humidity flattened my perfect hair and our unedited photos gave evidence of our glistening sweat.
For as long as I can remember I wanted to get wedding pictures taken in my parents back yard…in front of the woods I played in growing up. A few weeks before our wedding a bulldozer pushed those trees away to begin building a neighbor’s house. And our unedited wedding photos gave evidence of dirt and rubble in the background instead.
One of my favorite wedding photos was taken next to our church cemetery after our ceremony. Unfortunately, there was no editing of the photo either…and there is still a tombstone off to one side.
Our wedding day wasn’t perfect and neither were our photos. But the love promised and the smiles that couldn’t be erased were beautiful and so very good.
The following summer I lost that stunning engagement ring while playing a riveting game of keep-away in a lake with our youth group. That beautiful ring that was placed on my finger on June 9, 2004 is now at the bottom of a dark, murky lake in Pennsylvania. But the grace and surrender that came out of letting go was beautiful and so very good.
9 years after that proposal. That ring. That hug. Those pictures. My eyes are welling up with tears tonight and my heart feels like it might burst.
I’m so thankful that I said YES.
YES to zit cream and fumbling words and desperate prayers.
YES to sweat and work and tears and dirt and rubble and walking through the valley of the shadow of death.
YES to murky dark moments in ministry and letting go of the past and loosening the grip on our security.
YES to two sinners learning (and too often failing) to live together selflessly.
YES to long late night chats and boisterous laughter and learning to be still and quiet.
YES to imperfect appearances and babies crying and sleepless nights.
YES to unedited photos and messes and crazy schedules.
YES to moving trucks and goodbyes and hellos and new beginnings.
YES to seasons of empty pockets and seasons of baskets overflowing.
YES to perfect sunrises and thunderstorms and gray clouds.
YES to learning “I was wrong” and “Please forgive me” and a better understanding of grace.
YES to smashing my definition of “good” and replacing it with a satisfaction that can only come from God.
YES to a man that kisses me passionately and hugs me tight and lavishes extravagant love and graciously forgives and daily points me to Jesus.
YES to joy. True, deep joy in the depths of my heart regardless of circumstances.
YES to an imperfect, broken, BEAUTIFUL life that I wouldn’t want to spend with anyone else.
Our love story may not have the perfection of a good romantic comedy or the well edited charm of a Pintrest board, but I can’t stop thanking God for this one that He’s writing.
I may be biased, but I think it’s the best.
And I’m still desperately in love with the boy that prayed for a perfect sunrise from a rickety life guard chair.
Adam, in case you were wondering, if we could do it all over again, I’d still say yes…
But with a little less sarcasm this time. 😉
I wanna finish the way we started
Just two broken souls clinging on to Jesus
We’ve seen His faithfulness and grace and I wanna love you that way
Cause I wanna finish the life we started
I wanna be two old beautiful souls that stayed with it
And in those times our feelings fade I’m gonna give you the one thing
That makes all the difference
You have my commitment
I’m with you, through any kind of weather
I’m with you, sunny days or disaster
I still do, and it’s never gonna matter
What we’re going through, cause we’re in this together…
– Sanctus Real