It was a crisp, cool day as Mason and I rode the windy back roads to my grandparent’s farm. He would barely talk to me. My mind was already whirring and aware as Mason had drawn my dad away at lunch to “show him his drum set”…for almost an hour. Of course it didn’t help my case that I had woken up that morning with a strange pang of prediction, “I’m going to get engaged today.” I couldn’t shake it.
I tried to convince Mason to talk to me on the drive, but he kept diverting the conversation to impossibly dull topics such as sports and the weather. We arrived at my grandparents’ house and I knew there was still one thing standing between me and a proposal: telling my best friend Jaclyn that there was a chance I could be engaged soon. Indeed, the engagement stage had approached quickly, but not un-expectantly, in my mind. And she needed to know.
Predictably, my family decided to take a walk before dinner. I was hyper-aware of Mason’s every move, but I pulled back from the group enough to catch Jaclyn up with all the latest developments. Hiding our excitement was difficult.
We walked a while longer then stopped to take family pictures…no proposal. We kept walking. As we passed back by our picture barn, unbeknownst to me, Mason showed my cousin Jenaye a note he had written on his phone: “Stop here and get your camera ready.” A glance—awareness. She followed obediently.
My siblings and two cousins and I took a detour as my brother, sisters, and I posed. Mason tried to work his way into the picture as my youngest sister Anneli protested, “No Mason, this is a sibling picture! You can’t be part of the family until you put a ring on it.” Oh the dramatic irony.
My siblings left, leaving Mason and I alone in front of the barn as the sun set over the horizon. His words were simple, but meant the world to me: “Marina, you’re in your favorite place with your favorite people, and I can think of no better place to ask. Will you marry me?”
Instant tears. And I’m not even a crier. The ring glistened in the sunlight as I slipped it on my finger. My family’s silent disbelief turned to jubilant squeals and tears. We all hugged.
As we walked back to my grandparent’s house, I had to conceal my ring—no one else knew yet. After Mason made the announcement, the house erupted with tears of joy. We shared our story—the parts in between these two blog posts—of God’s Sovereign hand and clear direction. We cannot wait to share it with you in person too! Everyone listened in amazement. We ate dinner and finished that night with more bliss and deep joy than I had ever known. Not just that I was engaged. But that I was engaged at my favorite place with my favorite people.
Flash forward about 7 months to our wedding day. This was the day we had planned for, prepared for, and prayed for. I was TERRIFIED of throwing up on my wedding day. Especially at the altar, because that would totally happen to me. Plus, I had been feeling really sick the night before. But guess what? The day went PERFECTLY! It was everything I dreamed and more.
Notice I spent the least amount of time throughout this whole series talking about the “wedding.” Although it’s important, it is simply a stepping stone—the celebration of two lives joining. Don’t let the details of your wedding take the place of Christ and His work throughout the engagement process.
The marriage that we celebrated that day was more than an event or a cool story–it was a tangible representation of sacrifice and love. Marriage is not about happiness, it’s about holiness. Marriage is not about feelings, it’s about commitment. That is what we testified to.
In the planning stages of this wedding, Mason told me, “Good thing we don’t have to stress because we are planning God’s party, not ours!” And he truly meant it. We both played in the worship band and spoke during our wedding. We shared the gospel. We didn’t want anyone to leave not knowing the saving power of Jesus Christ. This is not just something we did from the stage to make ourselves feel better or look better; rather, it is a way of life.
To this day, we have people in our home often. We tell them our story. We tell them what God has done. We continue the lifestyle of evangelism and praise because He is worthy!
Although this brings us to an end in “Our Story” series, you may be able to tell that our story is far from over. Stay tuned for more life lessons and God’s continued teachings in the Shelton home.