My family first met the Fourniers in the summer of 2007, through phone calls made by our parents. Later that year our families met in person at a campout for the biblical Feast of Tabernacles. It was then that I first saw Brianna, and from that point on she stood out to me in a way no other young lady ever did.
After the campout that year, our family visited the Fourniers at their home in Missouri, and later that winter they came to Colorado for a ski trip and stayed a few days in our home. The following summer, we traveled back to Missouri for a family reunion. While there, our family stopped by the Fourniers' home once again. Later that fall, our families kept the Feast of Tabernacles together for the second year. Afterward, we visited their home before heading back to Colorado. During this time of about a year since I had first seen Brianna, she still stood out to me, though I really could not place exactly why. I wondered at times if she might be the one I would marry. I prayed, asking for a leading if this was the Father's will, but at that time I had no clear leading to pursue the possibility.
One night on that trip, shortly after we started to head back to Colorado, I had a dream about Brianna. A few nights later, I had a second dream about her. At this point we were staying with some friends in western Missouri. Our plans were to head straight home the next day. Almost as an act of providence, my dad changed the plans and decided to go back and visit the Fourniers once again for the weekend! Between the dreams and this very unexpected decision, I felt it was a sign that I should begin to pursue the possibility that Brianna was to be my wife.
My desire had always been that my parents and I would be in agreement over any potential spouse. I wanted the safety of having their insight and wisdom in such a life-changing decision, because as my authority and friends I knew they would have my best interest in mind. So one evening during that weekend, I shared my dreams and thoughts with them. After our talk that night, I spent the next many months waiting and praying as I continued to seek the Father's will. The wait was seemingly long that winter, and during this time I continued to have occasional dreams about Brianna.
"I began to have high expectations"
The next year, in the spring of 2009, our family traveled to Kentucky for Passover and a week long camp called Family Week. It was there that my dad, on my behalf, first broached the subject of my interest in Brianna to her father. Nothing really happened until after we got back to Colorado, but gradually things began to come together. Later that summer, during August and early September, I came out to visit their family and to help with an overload of work, and as it turned out, to help them begin to move to Tennessee. Even though my intent was still that nothing would be known to Brianna, at least not yet; she happened to find out about my interest before I arrived. This made things somewhat awkward while there, since the relationship was still in the consideration stage by her parents.
By the end of my five-week stay, things seemed to have become quite promising, and I began to have high expectations. I really only foresaw the end result being marriage. Shortly after my return home, our family went out to Tennessee to keep the Feast of Tabernacles at a state park along with a bunch of families we knew, including the Fourniers. I was anticipating that while there, I would be released to ask Brianna to marry me, but other plans were in store.
During the Feast of Tabernacles, I broke my leg severely while playing flag football. A few days later I learned that the seemingly promising situation was becoming somewhat questionable. By the next spring, through many long and drawn-out months, my request for Brianna's hand was finally returned, but not as I had expected or hoped. I was devastated. After having spent nearly a year thinking this was going to work out, I was very upset and could not bring myself to accept this news. I felt depressed and hopeless. I had not wanted to become this attached to the possibility of marriage to a specific person, especially since it could result in an answer like I received. But somehow in this process I had become entangled in the hope of marriage to Brianna rather than in waiting to see what the Father's plans were. It had just seemed so right, so likely, and I was still so sure that the Father had given me this leading. I did not understand why it had not worked out.
Over the remainder of 2010 and on through late 2012, I was still struggling with this issue. I wanted it to work out so badly. I knew the answer was no, but yet was not able to release the situation and leave it in the Father's hands. During this time we occasionally were at events the Fournier family also attended, and I always had a hard time interacting with or being around them. Seeing Brianna always brought the pain back, and I would feel depressed and troubled for days and weeks afterward. This time seemed to go on forever. It was only once I finally was able to release the situation to the Father, that I had the peace to move on instead of focusing on my desire to marry Brianna. It was a wonderful place to be: where I was able to give that care up to the Father rather than worry about it myself. I think it was one of the most important lessons I needed to learn, and probably even why I had to go through this time of hardship.
"To me that was another confirmation"
From there, the story started all over again when in April of 2013, I felt the Father leading me to approach Mr. Fournier again about Brianna, for what I knew would be a final time. At that point I knew I could have peace this time no matter the answer I received, and to be honest, I expected the answer to be a clear and upfront denial. Before I had even mentioned this leading to my parents, my dad brought the subject up. To me that was another confirmation of the leading I was feeling and a green light to make my approach soon, especially when a few days later my mom told me she also had a peace that it was the right thing to do and the right time.
So on April 29, 2013, I called and asked Mr. Fournier if he would reconsider. The conversation was short and to me seemed to be negative, but at least it was not an outright denial. I expected a return call in two weeks, but it was about four weeks later when my dad got a call inviting us to come visit the Fourniers for a weekend. By that time our family was already traveling to Tennessee to see my parents' first grandchild, my first niece, and to be in the area for two upcoming weddings. Plans were made for us to visit the Fournier family in two weeks. The day before we got to their house, I spoke with Mr. and Mrs. Fournier in person, but there was still no indication of a decision being made one way or the other. The weekend was very much a blessing to both families. Though I was around Brianna again, I now felt peace that when an answer came, it would be correct and that I would be okay with it; not like it had been before when I had expected only a positive response.
After the visit, I left expecting another longer wait before I would hear more; but just a few days after leaving their home, I received a call from Mr. Fournier telling me that he and his wife had peace about the situation and had already shared with Brianna the recent news of my asking this second time. I was thrilled! A few days later, another call followed in which Mr. Fournier gave me his blessing to ask Brianna to marry me when our families would see each other next at a weekend campout where we were both planning to be. It was a week later, on June 14th, that I finally had the chance to ask Brianna to marry me; and to my great joy, her answer was as I had hoped and longed for these many years!
It was my desire to have our betrothal and marriage closely picture that of ours to Messiah, in that when we say 'yes' to His calling we are fully and irrevocably His from that moment forward. So that very evening, when our families shared dinner together, I offered Brianna the cup. She took it, thus sealing our betrothal and marriage commitment before witnesses. The betrothal from that point was complete, but still we wanted a small celebration to further commemorate the season of our commitment to one another. Just five days later we had a small but formal betrothal celebration together with our two families, where in a short ceremony and in our own words we spoke our life-long commitment to each other and signed a written copy. We also exchanged rings and drank of the cup again, along with other symbolic tokens of our commitment and inseparability now as husband and wife. I stayed with the Fournier family another few days working on many detials for the wedding before I flew home to prepare for the coming day when I would return to take my bride.
Fitting to the picture we wanted to portray, we decided to set our wedding, the day of my return, for a day no one would know with certainty until its arrival . . . the Feast of Trumpets! After nearly three months since we were last together, and on a day we both longed and waited for in excess of four years, I returned to take Brianna as my bride. I will always remember the first sight of her as she stood by her father's side anxiously and longingly waiting for me, and then at my approach came running to me for our first embrace and kiss. That moment alone made the long wait so worth it.
It often was not easy, but the Father was faithful to see us through the hardships and to bring us to the end of one season and a new beginning. The wait was long, but the gift and blessing of true love was so worth the wait.
"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." ~ Proverbs 13:12
As long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a wife and mother. I believe the Father puts that desire in each girl's heart for a reason, but the timing and learning how to reign in our emotions are two of the greatest lessons I believe the Father desires to teach us as women. Growing up, I have watched the sweetness of my parents' relationship. They have a love and devotion for one another that I have noticed is very rare. Their loyalty for one another has spoken to us children louder than their words. This example of theirs blessed me beyond words and gave me a desire, that if the Father would bless me with a husband one day, I would want my relationship with him to be just as sweet and as close as the example that my parents have set for me.
Throughout my teen years, I spent a lot of time praying and asking the Father to begin to perfect His will in me. I wanted to begin learning the lessons of honor and respect, love, patience, and selflessness in my parent's home. I knew that if I did not already have that work being perfected in my heart, I would never have the dream marriage that I have longed for.
On September 27th, 2007¸ the Father allowed us to meet the Williams family and spend four days with them at a campground in Emminence, Missouri. I was seventeen. During that visit, I learned that their family was much like ours in many ways. I remember thinking right off that if Yahweh would ever give me the gift of marriage, I would be blessed to be a part of this family. My dream had always been that I would marry a man that loved Yahweh with all His heart and had a passion for worship and music as I had. I also desired that my husband’s family would love Yahweh and that I would feel a closeness and bond to them. This first week of meeting them I observed their family as a whole. I saw that they had a close walk with Yahweh, that the children honored their parents, and that their family loved to sing and praise Yahweh. During those few days of camping, our families spent a lot of time singing, talking around the campfire, and sharing meals together.
For two years our families visited each other often. The more we saw them, the more I was drawn to their family. As a young lady, I was learning to guard over my heart and to be shame-faced. Now new feelings were being awakened that I had never experienced before, and I wanted to guard myself closely. As a young girl, I always wanted to keep my heart and life for the one whom the Father had for me. I knew that the greatest gift that I could give to my husband was my purity and my whole heart. Since I had that goal for my life, it made it easier for me to guard over my thoughts and emotions.
"The more I saw of him, the more I admired"
Then a surprise awaited me that would change my life forever! In May of 2009 Daddy and Mamma came to me and told me of Jonathan's interest for me. Daddy told me that he did not know Jonathan very well since he had been so quiet and reserved every time we saw them; but, if I was open to the idea of marriage to him, he would be happy to get to know him. When I first heard of Jonathan's interest for me, I was very overwhelmed and blessed. The first thought that ran through my head was, "He would think about or consider me???" I felt a sense of unworthiness. Here the Father was beginning to grant me my heart's desire. The greatest thing that blessed me about Jonathan was that he guarded himself and his eyes so carefully that I never once knew that he had thoughts for me. As that was one thing that I had prayed for, that was the first clue to me that this young man might be the one the Father had for me.
Three months later Jonathan came to our house in Missouri and stayed a month with us. Daddy made it very clear to all of us girls that a young man was coming down to get to know HIM, no one else! During the month that Jonathan stayed with our family, I had many opportunities to observe his character. The more I saw of him, the more I admired. Here he was living with us a whole month, but yet he did not treat me any differnet than my sisters or give me clues that he liked me. That to me was a very admirable trait! I knew that if he could guard over himself that well in my presence while my parents were still considering him, then he would be able to remain loyal to whomever his wife would be and not go about showing attention to just anyone.
At the time Jonathan asked for me, my family had a lot going on. Another young man was interested in my oldest sister, and we were taking a big step as a family to move from Missouri to Tennessee and live off the grid. My father wanted me to experience living off the grid together with my family for at least one year before I would marry anyone. During this time my parents and Jonathan’s parents did not have a complete peace about us pursuing marriage. Both of my parents loved Jonathan, and so did all of my siblings, but my father felt that Yahweh’s answer for me was no. Through this initial season of expectation, and then an apparent end to the situation, Yahweh was asking me to give up my hopes and desires to marry Jonathan. This was not an easy thing; but, with the Father’s help, I was able to submit my will to my father’s, knowing that he was my leader and authority, and he only wanted Yahweh’s best for me.
During those four years, the Williams family and ours distanced ourselves a little to give Jonathan and me space. Looking back now, I am so grateful for the waiting period the Father had us go through. I know it perfected in me a deeper walk with the Father. Though it was hard, after about two years I was able to finally relinquish my will to the Father. I began to accept the fact that I would probably never marry Jonathan; and rather than selfishly desire it, I began to pray for him and his future wife. I prayed that Yahweh would bless him with the perfect woman who would be able to be a crown upon his head. I felt that if I truly loved Jonathan, I would want Yahweh's very best for him. If His best was not me, then I desired to accept His will. As time passed, I felt like I could love Jonathan as a brother, and if I ever went to his wedding, I would be able to look at him and his wife and give them my full blessing. Little did I realize that in giving up Jonathan, my Father was going to give him back to me!
"He indeed knows what is best for each of us"
In May 2013 a surprise awaited me. We got a call saying that the Williamses were going to visit us. I was very happy and excited. I did not dream that with this visit the subject of our marriage would be in the picture again. I was just happy that after four years, our families could go on with life as friends together again. So the evening they arrived I came walking down the stairs and who, but Jonathan, was the first person I saw? My heart started racing. After a quick hello to everyone, I decided to take a walk out in the garden and again commit my will and Jonathan into the Father's hands. After the initial first meeting, I was able to mostly be my normal self for the rest of their visit.
The next day though, I found myself longing for Jonathan. I kept crying out to the Father, "Why? Why are You allowing me to go through this again?" I thought that I had died to this desire. It was while I was having this inner struggle, that Mamma told me that she and Daddy wanted to talk with me. I just assumed that they wanted to know how things went for me over the weekend the Williams family was here, but Daddy began with, "About three weeks ago, a young man asked for you . . ." I covered my face with my hands. It was too much for me to handle. Here my thoughts were again for Jonathan; I could not dream of thinking of another person who wanted to marry me. I told Daddy that I did not want to know who the person was because I did not think that I could handle it at the time. Then Daddy asked me, "But, if it was Jonathan, would you consider it?" I said, "Yes!!!" Then Daddy went on to explain that Jonathan was indeed the young man who had asked for me, and now he and Mamma had a peace for us to pursue a relationship together. I felt like I was in a dream - the news was too good to be true! After waiting four long years, Yahweh was answering my prayer. I was so happy, so blessed to know that Yahweh loved me so much!
About a month after we were betrothed, as I was looking over a letter that my mother had written to me prior, the last sentence in it caught my eye. It read, "Just remember that there is nothing that you give over to Yahweh that He does not give back to you one-hundredfold . . ." This is what I felt Yahweh did for me that glorious day. How beautiful and rewarding it is to trust Yahweh with your life. He indeed knows what is best for each of us. "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' declares Yahweh" (Isaiah 55:8). How wonderful it is to know that our Father loves and cares for us; and though we may want something, His will and timing is perfect. How happy I am, now that I look back, for the time of waiting that Yahweh had Jonathan and me go through. It has perfected in both of us true love. Now I can love Jonathan with a passion that I could not have otherwise had if I had not waited. True love is worth the wait!!!