Friday, October 12, 2012

When I Knew I'd Marry Him

Note: This post is kind of long. And it includes some writing that is straight from my journal, 4 years ago. I love looking back and seeing how God was at work in my life!

It's pretty common to remember where you were when major news events happen. We can all recall where we were on 9/11. Our parents remember where they were when President Kennedy died. Some of us remember where we were when the Challenger exploded, and when O.J. Simpson's white Bronco was followed on live television. We remember where we were when it was announced that Osama bin Laden was killed.

I work in news, which means for most (a.k.a. ALL) of the major news events of my adult life, I have either been in a television newsroom, or at the scene of the actual breaking news.

The news value of this story is not on par with the examples I've listed above.
BUT the news factor of my personal life, is.

The last few months of this presidential campaign keep bringing 2008 memories rushing back.
Because when you work in news, not only do you remember where you were when certain events happened, but all of life is framed in this sort of news-timeline.

It was August, 2008.
The Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I was Dana Brown. I was 28 years old, and I was covering my first political convention. I think I look like a baby here! I think I need one more thing hanging around my neck, what do you think?

I was covering the convention for my old job, with Hearst Television, producing morning reports for close to 30 TV stations across the country.  I was working overnights, and I was just thrilled to be out in the field, because unlike my current job, that job was mainly a control room job, so getting out in the middle of the country was really exciting!

I was there for Sarah Palin's speech, and John McCain's speech, and I watched the big balloon drop from our skybox.  It was fun.

But what I remember the most from that trip was the moment I realized I was - for sure - going to marry Michael Ritter.

At the time, Michael and I had been dating - long distance - for about 9 months, officially. Things were moving fast, and we had fallen in love. Michael was living in Texas, I was in DC. Over the Summer, he had been looking for opportunities to work in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area.  His brother and family lived there, it was only about 4 hours from me, and he thought it would be a good move for him.

But - nothing about it was working. The logistics were just not going to happen.  He'd need a job, an accessible apartment, and someone to help him with his personal care. None of the above were lining up, even though he was trying to work it all out. It was frustrating.  We wanted so badly to just be closer to each other!

Then, one day while I was at the RNC, I got a phone call.
Michael left me a message, "We need to talk."
Those are not normally good words when you're in a relationship.
I was in a trailer where we had our workspace, working.
But I stepped outside and called him right back.
I was surrounded by satellite trucks and generator fumes.
I will never forget what happened during that conversation.
That was the moment I knew I'd marry him.

The following is from my journal, September 2, 2008:

He beat around the bush a little.  Told me that God was speaking to him about ministry and opportunities and he’d been thinking a lot lately about the kids and the youth at Vineyard.  He said it’s not what he wants, he said, but it’s what God is saying to him.  Calling him to dive into the ministry there in Nacogdoches. 

My first reaction was shock.  Utter shock.  You’re going to call me in the middle of one of the hugest events of my professional life and drop this bomb on me?  What?  Seriously?   For real?  You’ve got to be kidding me. (my filter kept this thought to myself)

He said he’s going to really be focusing on that for the next 3-4 months, that we both know that he’s not going to make it up to Durham by the end of the year.

I asked him, "you don’t think this is going to mean you don’t want to be with me, do you?"  I almost had tears welling up in my eyes and a huge gulp was forming in my throat.  His reaction was great: No!  No way!  He tried to tell me this in a way that made it very clear that I am very much in his plans.  

I want him where you want him, Lord.  That is my prayer.  Use us where you want us.  I encouraged him, ever his cheerleader, as he says... that this is really exciting!  I had to go because Sally and Eric and Russ were about to leave.  I told him I loved him, twice.  David was joking me, “awwww, puppy!!” Etc.  It was funny. 

I called him when I got back to the hotel and asked him if he talked to Jim.  He had.  He was excited.  I pray for him, Lord, as he goes through with this.  Keep him close.  Give him your vision.  Oh, Lord, keep him focused.  I love this man and I thank you so much for him.  Thank you so much, Lord.  I am truly grateful.  He is amazing.

Also, when I talked to my Michael on the phone, he asked me if I had been talking to his sister-in-law, Crystal.  She apparently told him that all he needs to do is ask me to marry him.  That I’m just waiting.  I kind of laughed it off when we were on the phone.  But the truth is, it’s true.  And I now secretly wonder if maybe that would be possible to do that soon?  To get engaged.  And look forward to getting married possibly next summer? Then, we could be together.  All of these dreams we dream of going through life together could happen.

One more thing he said to me that was cute: He said he knew I was in it for the long haul when I asked, “They make adjustable beds that two people can fit in, right?” :)  There is no way I’m sleeping separately from my man.  

Phew.  I think that’s it for now.
I’m in love.
I think that’s about it.
And, I’m thankful.
And hopeful and so very excited about the future that we will have together, laughing and learning and doing ministry and supporting one another.

Very excited.
For now, I need to get this day started.
The GOP convention is re-gaining momentum and I am so blessed to be here.

My Michael sent this message to my blackberry first thing this morning, I got it on my way into work:

Philippians 1
3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

How cute is this!?!? Do you ever look back at old journal entries or think back on memories, and see your life coming together? I love to do this. And this is a reminder to me of how important it is to document our lives - so we can go back and see where God has been faithful, and where we've grown.

Thanks for reading.


Kristen Maddux said...

Aw--Love it. To have all that written down is a very, very special thing.
I used to always be envious/hitting myself when I read of other people's well-kept journals like this, because writing life out can be so important, so noble even--and I HATE taking the time to do it *ducking in shame*.
Can't tell you how many adorable/studious/hip/moleskin/whathaveyou journals I've bought, all of which have two very well-intentioned pages written on them. sigh. :) I've finally, over the years, cut myself some slack realizing...I have other gifts. :)
I do wish it were my thing, though. For the exact reasons you said here.
The closest I get is writing it out whenever I see God speaking to me in a very specific way. And that's been awesome to track and look back on in black and white.
Hope you all have a great weekend as a MARRIED COUPLE! Who would have thought God would do THIS MUCH thru you in the small span of four years? Beautiful.

Unknown said...

This post makes me miss you times 10. I can't wait to see you after the election!

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