Thursday, April 22, 2010

the story behind us

on october 3rd, 1979 in colorado a rather large (9lb 13oz) boy was born to a young teenage mother. she could not care for her son so she immediately put him up for adoption. when he was several weeks old he was adopted by randall and kathy, and they named him sylas dathan (with every intention of calling him dathan). they were missionaries in south africa until dathan was 4 and then lived in several different southern states while dathan's dad pastored different churches, and they eventually settled in alabama. dathan turned away from the Lord in his late teens and ran into some trouble. God grabbed ahold of his heart in february of 1999 and he has sought after His face ever since.

on february 6th, 1983 in california a girl was born to rick & donna, and they named her erica. she grew up in the same area her whole life (the antelope valley) and went to the same church her whole life (lancaster first assembly). she was a good girl who loved Jesus from an early age and followed Him her whole life. she always wanted to please Him on a daily basis and loved Him with her whole heart. she was a great student and goody-goody, trying to do her best in all she did.

as completely opposite of pasts that we led, God had an ultimate plan to bring us together. he took a broken yet healing young man from alabama and a bubbly naive young lady from california and crossed our paths in illinois... yep, illinois.

God called both of us to master's commission, which is a discipleship training program held at many churches all over the country. but out of the hundreds of mc's, God led us to the same one in rockford, illinois. i did my first year in 01-02 and dathan did his in 02-03. when you are a first year you are not allowed to date, so when dathan came for his first year i paid no attention to him. i mean, we were friends but i never once even had a crush on him. looking back i remember two specific instances where he did something and i thought to myself "i want that quality in my future husband" but the thought was never "i want him to be my future husband."

we were both very involved in the missions program and became friends there. towards the end of the year dathan started 'noticing' me but i was clueless to all of it. i just thought he was a cool guy. when the year ended in we both went our separate ways and during the summer of 2003 we started talking, almost every day... either on our cell phones, IM, or email. i was at a point where i was ok with being a young single female serving the Lord. in fact, when i first realized i had feelings for dathan i fought them for over two weeks. i had told the Lord that i didn't want to get into another relationship unless it was with the person i was going to marry, and what i didn't know was dathan had told God the same thing.

the day that i admitted to myself that i liked dathan just so 'happened' to be the day he told me he liked me. to be sure we were doing what God wanted, we decided to fast from each other and spend the time we would have been talking in prayer about our relationship. 3 weeks from that day we were going back to rockford, and so dathan said he would pick me up from the airport. that would be the day we would talk again. during that time i pleaded with God that His will would be done and not ours. that if it wasn't His plan to make it not work, and that when i saw dathan in the airport God would let me know if it was right or not. dathan was praying the same exact thing and we had no idea.

that day at the airport is engraved in my memory. i can still see his face and feel the overwhelming emotion that filled my heart the second he smiled at me. we went on our first date that night, and our relationship grew from there. as busy with ministry as we were in mc, we tried to take time to strengthen and grow our relationship. this picture is after a looooooong 2 weeks of ministry and little sleep.

we were both involved with missions again and worked together well. we had a LOT of fun together and enjoyed each other's company SO much (he is the tall guy in the back of this pic and i am right in front of him... we were going to see pirates of the carribbean with our fellow missions dept members

we weren't perfect and God had to work a LOT in our hearts. but it was His hand that put us together and He had (and still has!) big plans for us. in january of 2004 dathan proposed (i blogged about it a few months ago here) and i could not believe i was walking out my dreams with a man who was better than i dreamed (although when i look at this picture i feel like i shouldn't call dathan a man cuz we look like KIDS)!

on august 14, 2004 we said our vows in the very church that i grew up in. i remember being a little girl and dreaming of walking down that aisle with my husband and my dream came true that day! God is so good!

i want to encourage all the single girls out there that God has such a better plan for your life than you could plan out for yourself. delight yourself in Him, follow after Him, and He will give you the desires of your heart. it's ok if you've made mistakes, it's ok if you're not perfect... because it's in our weaknesses that HE is strong. and He wants to bless you with more than you can dream, but it has to be in His timing. and until that time, enjoy yourself! live your life to the fullest and give all you have to Him. instead of worrying about finding a man, focus on falling in love with your Savior. prepare yourself w/ a firm foundation to lay your marriage on, and strengthen your heart so you can be a proverbs 31 wife one day :)

i cannot believe it's been over 5.5 years since dathan and i got married! we have grown and changed so much and God has done so much in us as a couple. it's a daily choice to love, and it's the best choice i could make. it's not always easy, it certainly isn't a honeymoon 24/7, but it's our life and i am so thankful for it. a friend once said that our story could be a cheesy christian movie... i suppose it could, and i'm ok with that ;)

i'm linking this story up to kelly's site where you can read other stories of how girls met their men ;)


Ashley said...

great story! :)
Marrying a man from the great state of Alabama and being from A/G churchs - love it ;)
My husband, Josh, & I were at one point thinking about doing Master's Commission in Maryland!

I'm now a new follower, too!

Katie said...

What a great story!

hanneyjo said...

what a great story! :)

Anonymous said...

loved it. I saw this on Kelly's blog, too. I wish I had a scanner. It's no fun participating without old pictures.

Becca said...

What a wonderful story! I loved seeing all of those older pictures! Your wedding was very beautiful!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your sweet comment too. You have a precious family!

Natalie said...

thanks for stopping by my blog : )
I love your story! Such a great testimony to the Lord!
And I'm glad for your note to the single ladies--it's so true--His timing is more perfect than anything you can imagine!

JenB said...

I LOVE your story!! Timing is everything!! And thankfully, all in God's hands.

Nancy said...

Precious. That story needs to be told to all young girls! I KNOW just like you do, that I'm with the man God intended me to be the wife of. Blessed beyond belief, both of us!!

Cheri said...

Erica, thanks for the sweet comment on my blog! Yes, we did live in the Antelope Valley 20 years ago - when you were......4? lol Oh that makes me feel old.

You have a lovely story!! My hubby was a large baby also - 9lbs 12oz, and our boys were 9lbs 9 oz on due date and 9lbs even induced a week early. Did your boys also take after your hubby and come out half-grown too? lol

Thanks for sharing your story!

Fabiola said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love reading your story ; )

Shoshanah said...

Found your story through Kelly's Korner, and live it since I'm also a California girl who wound up with a guy from the South. And from that last picture, did you really have your wedding reception on a roller rink? What a fun and creative idea!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Great, great story....loved it...

Happy Sunday. I have a few hours to blog hop glad that I stopped here....Be sure and stop by and read about a miracle in our family....