on being 31 and engaged:

I was 21 when my best friend’s older cousin got engaged. I remember thinking, “Wow, I’m glad it happened for her… because she’s old.”

After getting engaged this year I called that friend up and asked her how old her cousin actually was during that time. “31,” was her response.

Exactly my age now.

It’s funny, I don’t feel old, but I work with college-age students and I know I probably seem like a grandma to them. At least that’s how I viewed 30-year-olds back then.

I’ve always known I didn’t want to get married young (too much life to live!!) but as I inched closer to 30 and everyone around me was walking down the aisle & popping out kids, I started to wonder if my happily ever after might actually end with a feline instead of a fairy tale.

On one hand, I 100% believed I would get married.
On the other hand, I feared it would never happen.

Some days were fun, leaving my number on restaurant receipts and having the waiter text me later that night.

Other nights I cried myself to sleep.

The ache can’t be explained. It was always there.

I started dating Justin 2 months before my 30th birthday. It was nice to be dating someone when I turned 30, but I was so unsure about him at the time.

Marriage still felt light years away.

Our dating relationship wasn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies. One time, a few months in, I asked if we should break up. It seemed pretty obvious that we should. Justin laughed. “Of course not!” He responded like that was the silliest question in the world.

This is how he won me over. Through all our fights and all my fears, he never stopped loving me.

When he got down on one knee in March, I had already made the decision in my heart to marry him. All I had to do was say yes and BOOM. I was engaged. Closer to marriage than ever before.

The first 2 weeks of being engaged didn’t feel real. Eight days in I wrote,

Wearing a ring on my finger almost feels like I’m a little girl playing house. Getting engaged has always been something *other people* experience. It was something I hoped, dreamed, and longed for… but it was always out of reach.

Until now.

I will always remember that feeling of “who, me??” the first few weeks after getting engaged.

Soon after getting engaged I felt something I didn’t necessarily expect to feel – sadness. I felt sad for my single friends who wanted to be married. I kind of felt like I was betraying them. I know what it feels like when yet another friend gets engaged – a mixture of ‘yay I’m so happy for you’ but also like you are dying inside and forgotten by God. Like HELLO HAVE YOU HEARD ALL MY PRAYERS AND SEEN ALL MY TEARS? GUESS NOT…

{I still don’t understand why all these funny, wonderful, beautiful women remain single. I know this post will be hard for many of them to read. I’m sorry.}

I quickly learned I LOVEDDD wedding planning. For the first time in my life I was no longer just dreaming of a wedding ‘one day’ – I was actually planning my wedding. All those times I had been to weddings and thought ohhhh I like that or ehhhh not for me could actually be taken seriously.

It wasn’t stressful. It was magical.

When Justin and I visited a venue 2 weeks after getting engaged, I knew it was the one. It was the first venue we visited, but I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else.

I left that venue sad, frustrated and confused because we couldn’t afford it.

30 minutes later I sobbed in the parking lot of a bbq restaurant because my parents made it possible for us to book the venue. I couldn’t believe God was giving me the wedding of my dreams.

It brings tears to my eyes now, that feeling of being so tangibly touched by His grace.

For years it like God was torturing me by giving me the desire for marriage only to not fulfill it.

Little did I know the abundance he had in store.

I went wedding dress shopping a month after getting engaged. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find the dress I had in mind (and in my price range!)

I picked three dresses to try on. When I put the first one on I couldn’t stop smiling. In a blur I tried on the other two, but before I knew it I was back in the first dress, smiling like an idiot. That’s how I knew. When I said I was getting it a few ladies cheered, as they had been watching the whole thing. The dress was everything I dreamed of (and more!), in my price range, and would be ready in a few months.

That smile was stuck on my face the rest of the day.

The first 3 months of being engaged I stayed up waaaaay too late – I was giddy over Justin and Googling everything wedding related. I showed up to work with bags under my eyes, happier than I’ve ever been.

The ache had vanished.

Being engaged has made me experience what I call ‘spiritual shock.’

7 years ago I was in Kenya, heartbroken over a boy when God promised me a great man. I’ve been waiting for him ever since.

In 17 days I marry that great man at the venue of my dreams in a dress that makes me feel like a princess. My spirit is like WHATTTT ARE YOU SERIOUS!?! It happened. It happened and it’s better than I could have ever imagined. There are so many ways God has come through in this season leading up to my wedding – if I wrote about all the ways I would bore you, so instead they are tucked away in my heart, never to be forgotten.

Getting engaged at 30 and married at 31 has given me a deep, deep appreciation for what I’ve waited for.

As painful as it was all those years, I would do it all over again.

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About Hope Naomi

Lover of all things tea and travel.
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14 Responses to on being 31 and engaged:

  1. Brant Copen says:

    Keep up the good writes Hope! I’m truly excited for you guys!

  2. Paige Harris says:

    Hope! I just returned from The World Race and have followed your blog over these past 11 months, along with so many women on my squad. After a fire message, I made the joke at launch, “Hope punched me in the face… it was AWESOME” (from the movie Mean Girls about Regina George). HA! Anyway, a blog comment is well over-due. On behalf of N Squad 4th Gen (Ash Fran), I want to say thank you. You challenged and inspired us this year. We had so many conversations referencing your posts about porn, dating, and marriage. And we are better because of it! Thank you for ‘calling us higher’ (I don’t mean that flippantly). I will continue to follow your journey. Congrats on your marriage and dream-wedding… this single girl is EXCITED WITH YOU! 🙂

  3. Bill Swan says:

    I’ve loved being an observer for this. Can’t wait to party at your wedding!

  4. Ashlin Horne says:

    You’re amazing and your story is so full of joy, grace, and hope. You carry your name so well. Love you, sweet girl.

  5. Shayna says:

    You got your man and your cat!!! Love you!

  6. Shawndell says:

    {I still don’t understand why all these funny, wonderful, beautiful women remain single. I know this post will be hard for many of them to read. I’m sorry.}

    This post brought me to tears, both in joy for you and with some sadness for myself. But you have encouraged me with hope… everything in it’s season, and God doesn’t forget the desires of my heart. I’m not forgotten. So thanks. ❤️

  7. alysseay says:

    As always, I am a big fan of your life and how you live it!

  8. Erin Knight Calderon says:

    I get this. ALL of this. Married at 31 as well. 🙂
    I am SOOOO happy for you!!

  9. When I saw this blog post come in my inbox, I didn’t open it. I didn’t roll my eyes (I can promise you that), but I didn’t have an eagerness to read it because of the obvious. And then when you addressed “us” – yes, I’m claiming that you were talking to me – ha! – I did get tears in my eyes. Because you get it. Not many do. And I’ve sat through so many comments that are similar with a fake smile. But I just love that you get it. And I also love everything else you wrote about after that statement. Because it’s perfect for you, that’s exactly what I want to hear. A part of me was scared you might talk about the stress of wedding planning or how being engaged is still “hard.” Blah blah blah…and then I would have rolled my eyes. But you didn’t. And that’s why I loved it. Because it shouldn’t be. When God finally gives you the desires of your heart, it should be the most magical experience ever! So thank you! For not being another person that says “marriage doesn’t solve all the problems.” Because duh! It just has to be soooo nice to share life with someone…a someone that makes you smile bigger than you ever have before! And I don’t say this lightly (and rarely anymore honestly), but I’m so happy for you!

    • Let me clarify..when I said I’ve sat through so many similar comments with a fake smile…I didn’t mean similar comments to yours. I meant the similar phrases that people tell single people over and over…usually the ones that got married in their early 20s.

  10. Ryan Otto says:

    I’m so so happy for you Hope!!! Hope to see you and Justin and all hang out next time we’re in Georgia!!!

    Are you having the wedding in Georgia or Ohio!?

    Blessed are those who wait on the Lord and blessed are you friend – Jeremiah 17:7-8

    Ryan

    http://www.ryanotto.org/

    Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things…

    Love never fails…

    – 1 Corinthians 13:7

    >

  11. chelseatracy says:

    SO HAPPY FOR YOU HOPE!!!!

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