Wings As Eagles: Our love story; watching God's plan unfold! Part 1

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our love story; watching God's plan unfold! Part 1

I know some of you have been waiting for the blog post of how Luke and I met and got to know each other for quite a while--well, it's finally here! The first part anyway. I started writing this a couple months ago and it turned into a book which I had to shorten before posting. :)

Part 1 - An Unexpected Best Friend!

When I think back on the last two and half years, it's amazing to see God's handiwork in so many ways in which Luke and I were both totally unaware. Why do I want to share this with you? Because it is a continual reminder of God's sovereignty and proves beyond doubt how He works even in what sometimes seems to us the most undesirable events. The events that transpired weren't just "circumstances". It was God working in the simplest of details in putting a fantastic friend named Joanna in my path and later bringing the one that God has intended for me for the rest of my life - Luke!

As Luke and I were getting to know one another, I found it such an encouragement to look back at the months before that time and see how God planned each and every detail! If I could have told Him what I wanted, could I have even pictured it and given Him an outline to follow? No way! I love looking back, seeing how God orchestrated every intricate detail and allowing that to continually remind me what an awesome God He is! As you'll see, there are a lot of little, what seemed at the time, insignificant details, but I really believe God put all those there for a reason. Looking back I can see how He opened my eyes to some things and completely closed them to others. And now to look back and see all those details make sense is just....incredible! So take a quick (or long!) journey with me back two and half years ago when it all began...

It all started with a miniature Krackle candy bar. In late November 2007, I attended a Bernina National Teacher's Retreat in Chicago for three days with one of my quilting friends. For reasons all of my own, it was a retreat I wasn't looking forward to that much. In fact, I almost considered not going, but knew it was a business opportunity I couldn't pass up. So I went, unaware of how God would bless in the upcoming months and years.

The first evening was a get-together-get-to-know everyone type of meeting in which I was introduced to this young lady named Joanna who was close to my age. In fact, that was the precise reason someone introduced her to me; because we WERE the youngest two in attendance there. I must stop at this point and comment that in the sewing/quilting industry, while younger generation sewers are becoming more common, they are still among the minority. So to have two people under twenty-five in a group of older ladies was unusual. That night Joanna and I didn't talk anymore than pretty much saying hi, where are you from, what do you do, etc.

That night as I returned back to the hotel, I was thinking, "Lord, why am I here? I've worked with Bernina machines enough that I'm learning little new in regards to the machines themselves. And I have classes and stuff piling up at home to do. I'm so ready to get back home." I knew that wasn't the right attitude to have, so my prayer was that God would change it because in Chicago was where I was at that moment and there was no changing that.

The next two days were full of classes and sewing/quilting chit chat conversations. I wasn't totally thrilled to be there, but that all changed in a heartbeat Friday night. That last night the group of 40 ladies was broken up into groups to tour the building by simply choosing a miniature Hershey's candy bar. I choose the Krackle variety. Unknown to me, Joanna did to.

We found ourselves in the same group traveling the building and eating dinner that night and talking back and forth discovering that we both loved machine embroidery, taught sewing/quilting classes, knew and loved working with Bernina software, etc. Before the last group meeting of the night, I asked Joanna for her email address since it seemed as though she could prove to be an excellent business contact in the future. That was it. The last meeting came and went. Everyone started to board the buses to head back to the hotel.

I climbed into one bus and crawled back into the very backseat and found Joanna next to me. We started visiting and then our conversation moved to conservative values, learning that we were both homeschooled, both believers and I honestly don't have a clue what else we talked about on that car ride - but I do remember being excited!

When we arrived at the hotel, we stood out in the lobby intending to finish our conversation we started on the bus and ended up standing there, talking for over an hour--an hour of intense conversation. I had just lost Mom the year before and still dealing with that tragedy and Joanna had just been through some hard things that summer and that was exactly what we were sharing with each other.

For those of you who know either one of us, we don't normally share that degree of our personal lives with just anyone--let alone a stranger who we just met! We have both looked back on that conversation and still don't know why we so easily shared those personal things with each other. The only possible reason - it was God working in both of us to bring us together.

We finally quit talking and once I reached my hotel room, I immediately called Dad, thrilled and excited and told him that I met someone incredible and he just wouldn't believe it. Not only did I meet someone my age who was intensely involved in sewing as I was, but also a believer who with very limited conversation, seemed to agree with my values in so many areas of life. Even he could tell how excited I was and it's one of his favorite stories to tell - how I met someone just like me! :) One insignificant detail about this night that stood out to me: both Joanna and I were wearing high heeled boots and she was still quite a bit taller than I was...

In the next several months, Joanna and I emailed each other every week or so, learning more and more about each other. We discovered that we were alike in so many ways! Not only did we share the same Biblical beliefs and values, but we both were heavily involved in the sewing and quilting industry. We both loved machine embroidery, worked in Bernina sewing machine dealerships, taught different sewing and quilting classes. Even in the little, insignificant details, such as we owned Siamese cats and the best way to watch movies is to sew at the same time! Yes, we had our differences, but yet again, I had never met someone who was "just like me" in the best and most wonderful of ways!

In April 2008, I drove out to Colorado Springs to spend a couple days with Joanna. As I met up with Joanna at the quilt store where she worked, I was once again reminded how much taller she was than myself. The first day I was there, Joanna took me to a bell choir practice where her older brother played. While we were there, Joanna asked me if I knew which one was her brother? Sure I did! Even though I had never met him or seen him. He was the tallest one there with the same dark hair that Joanna had! I now knew why Joanna had her height; her brother Luke was tons taller!

During the time I was there, Joanna and I had our sewing/quilting discussions among many other things. In the upcoming months, we traveled back and forth from Kansas to Colorado to spend several days together. While we spent the majority of our time together with our sewing projects and conversations, we did get to know each others families as well. When I would drive out there, we would do things with her family, which did at times include Luke, although to me he was nothing more than just another one of Joanna's brothers.

It was on one of those trips to Colorado that I did notice something about Luke that stood out to me. I noticed how kind and gentle he was and how he treated his mom and sisters with that same care. I saw that as a very excellent and Godly quality. And at the time, this was my thought, "Whenever Luke does get married, he would be someone who would treat his wife very well."

Yes, believe it or not, that is exactly what I thought, but my thoughts went no further than that...not once did I consider myself to ever be that person. I look back on that now and really believe that God opened my eyes to that fact, but completely closed them to the fact of thinking nothing more of Luke than just Joanna's brother. If my thoughts had branched out further, I probably would have been a little less at ease around him and Joanna's family on those trips to Colorado.

Even when Joanna and I couldn't get together because of our busy schedules, our email conversations continued. Through each and every conversation, we were such a blessing and encouragement to each other. I was amazed beyond belief how God had brought a wonderful person who become my best friend from a Bernina retreat I wasn't thrilled about attending and almost didn't. And even through the past difficult year that Joanna and I had both faced, God was working in allowing those things to happen to bring us closer together. I couldn't ask for more! I was more than content with my friendship with her, my business endeavors and staying at home with Dad. My life was complete; God had blessed in so many ways! Little did I realize that God wasn't finished yet...


  1. What a great story, can't wait to hear the rest. You are such a good writer this really could become a great book!! I hope this happens to my son someday.

  2. Thank you for telling the first part of your story, Serena! But, now I am eager to hear the rest! =) Hehe!
    That is so neat that you were able to meet Joanna, and become such good friends with her! =D
    Have fun wedding planning...which I'm sure is an ongoing process!


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