As a little girl I embraced the wonder of princesses. I liked pink and puffy skirts (when my mom would allow me to pick my own party dress) and clip-on earrings and fancy tiaras. I sang along with Snow White, knowing that someday my prince would come. I imagined pumpkins turning into chariots with Cinderella. I tried more than once to go on a magic carpet ride like Jasmine. I wondered what it would be like to fall in love with a beast in a castle with talking teacups.
But, none of that was real. I wanted it to be, but it just wasn’t.
I think that many little girls have grown up wanting to live inside these same fairy tales, to dress in beautiful ball gowns, to be sought after by Prince Charming. Unfortunately, most of us do not live in castles (even if we are only the servants) and we do not get invited to balls, some of us do not even get invited to prom.
But, sometimes reality is better than the best fairy tale one can imagine.
I am confident that I am living a real-life fairy tale. I am not sure how it happened, but I am sure that I do not deserve it. To be honest, I have wondered many times why it is all happening to me when there are so many amazing women in the world, many in my own life, who are completely worthy of such beauty and wonder. I do not know the reason why, but I am thankful. I am ridiculously blessed.On Christmas morning in Paris on the steps of the Sacre Cour Cathedral, I became engaged to an amazing man. He is far better than any prince charming. He loves me well. He makes me a better woman, and he points me to Christ. He shattered my expectations and revealed something so much better. There is no one else with whom I would rather spend the rest of my days.
We met in Cambodia in June 2010 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. He had been in the country for just a few days, and I was preparing to leave in just a few days. He returned to the US, and I returned to Cambodia. A few months later, we began emailing back and forth, which started as somewhat professional correspondence then turned to friendly notes. Unbeknownst to the other, we planned simultaneous trips to Le Rucher, a retreat center in the French Alps, in the fall of 2011. He was spending the autumn volunteering, and I was planning to go through a de-briefing session prior to a brief furlough in the US. Shortly after both of our plans were solidified, we discovered that our trips were going to coincide. We were both hopeful but unsure of what that time could mean. While in France together, we spent hours chatting, watched The Sound of Music and Nacho Libre (save your judgment, please), explored Geneva, shared dinner and wine, and he mourned with me when I learned that my Grandpa had passed away. He took me to the train station and prayed with me. Then, we emailed nearly daily for the next several weeks while he remained in France and I returned to the US. We planned to meet for a day in December when I would be visiting my brother and his family in Tennessee and he could drive the few hours from his family’s home in Georgia. The day ended with hugs and huge heartaches. In January 2012 I returned to Cambodia with a heavy heart. He remained in Georgia with a hurt of his own. After a long couple of months that include a lot of prayer, a few random phone calls, a painfully honest letter, a couple important conversations with good friends, we decided that while the situation was not either of our ideals or something we knew what to do with, we would give it a shot. Thanks to emails, Skype, Facetime, gmail’s 1 cent/minute calling rates, and a lot of patience and intentionality, we have spent hours upon hours falling in love with each other over the last several months. We spent a great week together in Indiana in June with my family. We had an amazing 2 weeks together in Cambodia in August and September. We had a better-than-fairy-tale time together in Paris and Edinburgh for Christmas and New Year’s. And, we have the most wonderful future ahead of us…happily ever after will simply not be sufficient.