It was 1984. We had fallen in love our senior year in college, and graduated. He had a life long dream to hike the Appalachian Trail. I didn’t want to stop him.
So I accepted an invitation to work in the Rocky Mountains, thousands of miles from the east coast mountains he’d be trekking along. That’s what I’d do! I’d just climb higher ones.
No cell phones. Long letters. Little souvenirs from the Trail – a rock, a feather, a twig to remind me of him.
Months go by. He’s half way through and definitive obstacles cause his difficult decision to forgo the rest of the journey. After logging in over 1000 miles, he jumped on a Greyhound bus headed west, to give me the surprise of a lifetime.
I had told all my friends about him. Many advised me to try to forget him and start something new. But my heart heard other things. It beat on a path of life-journey with him.
He walked in on me, and the dining room broke out in a joyful applause. Bearded and brawny, weary and worn, the man that I loved reached my arms.
But hang on to your backpacks folks.
One brilliant fall Colorado day, we set out on a challenging hike. After exploring the vistas miles high in the mountains, we wearily crawled on top of a huge boulder in the midst of a gushing stream to relax on as we made our way back on the trail.
The sky was brilliant blue, the aspen were turning gold, the cool and pine scented Colorado air livened our senses, and the water sang in rhythm around us. In just the right moment, so full of romance, he said, “Will you marry me?”
And I said……”Heck, no!”
Lest you think that I have no heart at all, to be honest, I just felt unprepared. Yes, I knew that I loved him, but were there other things?…. things that make you sure you are ready?….ready for ….marriage?
He had the shirt on his back, no direction, no plan. (And I joke that the only “rock” I could see was the one we were both sitting on!)
And we both believed in God- did He have a say?
We left in silence…really awkward silence. But there was resolve in our minds….we needed to find out if this thing was right…this promise to be with each other forever.
Four months quickly passed, as did decisions that prepared. Jobs, heart to heart talks, and finding out “wow, this is really serious!”
But more than anything else, we both were asking God and sensing His Fatherly approval and love for us- as an “us”.
January 26th now, in the midst of mid-winter, and another walk down a snowy road ends in his being down on one knee in proposal. I exuberantly said, “YES!” Yes to engagement and to the call of being a wife and starting a family.
We’ve called it E-Day ever since.
Decades pass, and my mom is moving out of the house we were raised in. She gives me my “box” from the attic. In it is saved all the tokens and remembrances from my youth- the diaries, the dolls, and the old report cards. Way at the bottom I find a long thin box- and joyfully realize it’s my baptismal candle….the date? January 26th.
Coincidence? Not when you walk with the Lord.
January 26th is also my Baptism day. The day of my birth into God’s Kingdom…B-Day.
On January 26th, God opened up the way for me to participate in the heavenly Kingdom and be part of the heavenly family.
He cleansed me from my original sin, giving me adoption as a daughter of the Father. I have a Mother to guide me, and all my brothers and sisters in baptism. This was all won for me through the dying and rising with the Savior, Jesus. He became my Brother, and Friend who willingly gave up His life to save me.
And January 26th is the same day He called me to be part of an earthly family….to live out that call to holiness, by way of marriage and motherhood of children.
Had I not consulted Him in that decision, my E-Day would not be my B-Day.
And I would not be celebrating both later this week!
God writes the events on the calendars of our lives. What script is He writing on yours?