by Barbara Rainey
Love stories are always favorites because they mirror the greatest love story ever told; the proposal and engagement, already accomplished by our groom Jesus, and future wedding we will enjoy one day in heaven as His bride.
Until then we delight in hearing stories of God’s orchestrating the unions of male and female as husband and wife.
And I’m delighted to tell you a love story!
My youngest daughter who has been faithfully waiting for God’s timing just said “yes” to God’s provision for her, Josh Dries (pronounced Dreez). Laura is 31 and Josh is 35. Both have waited for God’s best, which makes today’s joy even greater!
As Dennis and I watched this story unfold starting last fall, we heard snippets of Josh’s character revealed as Laura shared about their conversations and dates. When we heard she asked him to step up and be more intentional we watched Josh step up because he really liked Laura and didn’t want to lose her.
She told stories of hundreds of faithful, consistent moments when Josh showed her again and again that he was who he said he was. That he could be trusted. That he could be counted on. That he would come through. That he’d call when he said he’d call.
Laura learned she could be herself with him. That made all the difference—to both of them.
Since they’ve dated long distance, Josh wooed Laura with the real stuff: long conversations late into the night, extra effort to connect regularly while they each lead busy lives apart, an intentionality to pursue her and be up front about that as their relationship progressed.
And now are you ready for the proposal story?
Something you need to know about Laura is that ever since she was a little girl she has had the hardest time sleeping before anything exciting happens: Christmas, birthdays, cheerleading tryouts, graduations, gymnastics meets, and anything else fun. And she is a passionate, energetic, loyal, creative, and very curious woman who loves surprises. So Josh had a challenge in front of him finding a time and a place that she wouldn’t expect or guess.
He asked us for permission to marry our Laura and said in his little speech that he “adored Laura.” I knew the request was coming, but his words of adoration for our daughter won my heart! He told us he loved her for not being the same every day! What a gem he is!
The plan was made and the proposal date was set for the first full day of our family vacation. My role was to pray Laura would not figure this out, that God would prevent her eyes and ears from picking up any hints. And God did.
Josh had told Laura he wanted to go on a walk on the beach with her every day of our vacation so that they had some alone time each day. They had to make a plan to be alone because our family is not small: five of our kids and their spouses and 17 grandchildren were gathered for this week at Orange Beach.
Sunday, June 19, Josh told Laura he wanted to go walk at 4 that afternoon. Everyone was “getting ready” for family photos at 5, which of course was a ruse. But Laura believed the story and carefully chose a sundress for their walk down the sand before picture time. Hand in hand they strolled. Once they reached the deserted spot of beach, Josh turned toward Laura and dropped to his knee.
Laura was stunned, truly surprised, and even speechless! Laura without words is well…EPIC!
Then Josh held out a ring, looked into her eyes and began to tell her how she was the woman he’d been waiting for—for 35 years—and asked her if she would marry him.
Laura was still speechless. But only for a moment. After his eloquent and honoring prepared speech to our Sunshine, she said YES, then she dropped to her knees and gave him a crushing hug.
Josh was now stunned! She hadn’t grabbed the ring. He was slightly confused. Did she even see the ring he’d been holding the whole time?
“Don’t you want the ring,” he asked?
Then Laura grabbed the ring, declared, “OF COURSE!” and they hugged some more.
A sweet detail that Josh pulled off was hiring a local photographer to trail them on their walk. He stealthily snapped pictures of the proposal, tears and all. Way to go, Josh! 30 minutes and 275 photographs later they made their way back to where Josh’s parents, Tim and Angie, and Dennis and I were waiting. On the balcony above, 27 family members CHEERED!
What a great moment of joy, thanksgiving and even more hugs, kisses, and tears.
We are now into serious wedding planning! It will be a short engagement and we’d love for you to join us on her journey to the wedding day as we share posts and photos along the way.
Laura grew up in FamilyLife, our ministry to marriages and families. Even though it’s still all theory for her, she is wise enough to know every marriage has challenges and trials. She knows their independent ways will take many adjustments. But I’ve watched Josh lead Laura well and have been so encouraged that already he is loving her wisely and steadily.
From day one we’ve seen God provide for this couple and work out the tiniest, sweetest details of wedding planning to remind us that He is in this.
We pray for Josh and Laura’s union that it will be a God-honoring day followed by a God-honoring life together. Would you join us in praying for these lovebirds and following their walk to the altar? We’ll keep you up on all the wedding details here as they unfold. Stay tuned to hear about wedding dress shopping!