The story starts in 2006.
How does one start a true story and testimony to God's goodness? The words we can come up with just don't seem fitting enough. :)
In 2006, I posted some dresses and jumpers I had made and no longer wanted on a homesteading message board in the barter board area. I also stated I would barter for milk goats in VA. I got a pm (*private message) from a Nathan Black who wrote and said he may know some people in his area that have nubian goats. At the time, goats had been a wish/desire of mine for 2-ish years. I was REALLY excited at the possibility of getting goats. :) Nathan shared some of his goat knowledge and our pm's stayed mainly on topics related to that (farming, chickens, goats, government, etc.). At the time my family was renting a house and were unable to get the goats. Nathan and I lost contact after a lil' while, but I considered him a friend.
I don't know about you, but when I see certain things I lift up others to prayer. For example, I have a dear friend whose deceased dad use to drive Covenant trucks and when I see a Covenant truck, I lift her and her family up in prayer. I did this with Nathan's family too. We had a road near our old rental home that had the name "rose" in it and when we passed that way and I happened to see it, I would pray for Nathan and his family as their farm is named Rosewood Farm. We moved last year in April 07' to our own home and 3 streets down is Rose Valley Rd. When I thought on it, I would pray for him and his family.
In mid-January, I saw a post for toggenberg goats on the homesteading barter board area. Nathan was posting for some friends who didn't have Internet access. I posted back to the board, along with 3-4 other people, asking for more information. 2 days later, Nathan pm'd (private messaged) me and said he went to my blog, glad to hear I finally got my goaty girls and that he hoped my dad's work was going goodly. I replied very blandly and stated simple facts about my goats, family and didn't ask him any questions. He replied again (not-so-blandly) and our conversation picked up where it had left off in 06'. We discussed the Bible, government control, farming, goats (of course), general things about our families, etc. My mom sat with me and read each email going in and out like she normally would. We do this 99.99% of the time as we enjoy looking online together. I read her emails and she reads mine. ;) Several more private messages flew back and forth between us on topics like the food industry, fluoride, farming, missionary work, our families, etc. Just basic things that he and I would discuss with everyone who will talk about them. ;)
On Feb. 19. 08', my goat, Melita, had her kids!!! What an exhausting day! Mom and I were outside in the cold all day helping Melita birth, cleaning up, making sure the 3 kids were goodly and finally at about 8pm we sat down for the night. Everyone was in the living room. Mom and I opened a pm I had received from Nathan. Dad was sitting in the lazy boy chair and my 2 brothers (Justin, 20 and Jon, 17) were lounging on the couches (Jon had the flu). As mom and I read, dad caught the word "tractor" and said, "What does that say?" Mom read him a little and he wanted to hear the rest. Nathan's conversation went from tractors to tomatoes, then solar power to diesel fuel and finally he said...
"Jessica, forgive me for being long-winded tonight, but I have something to ask you about. I have tried to find your parents' phone number but according to the online White Pages it is unlisted. I would have talked with them first before telling you this, but since I have no way of doing so, I must go ahead and "say it!" I have been impressed as we have been talking for several months now that we share alot of similar views, and I would like to discuss with you what your views and desires are for your future family and home, with the intention being to find out whether the Lord has brought us in contact for that reason. I have strong convictions regarding family and children (as I do about most other things :) ), but I do not want to talk about these things with you without first making my intentions known.
Please prayerfully consider this and discuss it with your parents. If you have no other attachment to someone else, and you feel peace that it is the Lord's will to discuss with me regarding your wants for your future family and the possibility of marriage, please let me know and also provide me with your phone number so that I may ask your parent's permission to discuss these matters with you, and I suppose I'll need to tell them a little about myself before they'll feel comfortable with me (after all, gotta keep 'em comfee!). My one desire is a marriage and family that brings glory and honor to my Lord, and it seems that you are someone who is committed to serving Him with all you are. So, if you would like to discuss this with me, please let me know. If you are already attached to someone else, or just don't feel at peace about this, that's fine too. I have enjoyed getting to know you a little, and certainly won't let your decision affect that friendship! Just take it before the Lord, and through his Spirit and the guiding influence of Godly parents, obediently follow what he shows you is his path for you."
What was the reaction in our living room? Dad and mom were in tears, Justy was excitedly laughing and Jon was holding back laughter. I sat big-eyed and near tears. For some time, my family had been sleuthing out Nathan, unbeknownst to me!! They had been researching him through posts he posted on homesteading and through his dad's blog. Just checking him out to make sure no "weirdo" was writing me. ;)
I prayed about Dad contacting Nathan for 2 days. The night of the 19th, I lost sleep, as did my mom and Justin. I got MAYBE 3-4 hours of fitful, unrestful sleep. Same thing the next night. :) On Wednesday at about 3pm, the Lord gave me the thought, IF he isn't what your husband should be, he is not your husband.
What was my requirements you ask?
Fire for the Lord, bold, truthful, burdened for the lost, loves children (and would not use birth control), has an adventure beard, a warrior, has room for my goats, prepared for a family (stable), would love and cherish me for who I am...etc. etc. etc. :) I had made out a list last fall of requirements for a hubby.
In November of 07', the LORD had given me PERFECT peace about being single.
I, for years, had cried out to the Lord and said, "Why am I not married? Is there no one for me?" I would give God my burden and then after a while (a week maybe ;), snatch it back up and place that burden on myself again! This past November, I had perfect peace, sweet peace...that is, until Nathan emailed Feb. 19 about pursuing the Lord's will. ;) ha
I shared with mom my thought from the Lord and then I shared with dad. :) Thursday Dad called up Nathan and then Saturday morning dad went out to Nelson, VA (2 hours away) to meet and get to know Nathan. As dad left his home that evening, Nathan asked if it would be okay to discuss more serious marriage matters with me and dad gave his consent. Sunday morning Nathan sent me an email. On Sunday evening, we went back and forth by email on topics like child training, marriage, birth control, what he wanted in a wife and what I wanted in a hubby. We were able to share what we stood on as convictions without fear of stepping on toes or offending each other. I would "bait" him and ask him questions without giving my input. He then would respond back with MY answer! Sunday night at about 7pm, our emails were crossing and it was getting confusing, so dad said he could call me.
At 7:30pm, we talked on the phone for the first time. I asked him his stand on a few questions and then we discussed what was going on. He shared he had been "sleuthing" me out for a few months on the board. Keeping an eye on what I posted and what I said and praying for the Lord to reveal His will in all this. When he found my link to my blog on my post, he checked that out too. We talked a lil more and then he then ended the conversation with prayer that the Lord would give us a sign. We would keeping discussing by email and he would call me the upcoming weekend. Inside me, I knew already that this was it. I was afraid to leave my family though. My family is VERY tight knit. I love them all so dearly and although I had desired for years to be married, I was afraid to leave my family. :) As Nathan told me on the phone, "I will get back to you this weekend and see what the Lord has said." I was thinking..."Good! I've got a few more days with my family!" Selfish ol' me!
I had been very guarded in my emails, using terms like, "if I marry", "my husband"...etc. I had a wall up around me and was trying very carefully to make sure I didn't get involved with Nathan emotionally. Monday at 3pm I had peace and realized I was stalling and just afraid about leaving my family. I told mom as we pruned apple trees, "I know this is the Lord's will...now what?.." As we went into the house at 4:20ish, I said, "I love Nathan for what he is and what he stands for, I love him like a friend. I love him cause' of who he is and what he stands for....does that make sense?"
That night (monday), we went back and forth by email and I let the wall I had built round my heart be knocked down. I started to LOVE Nathan not only for what he stood for, but I had a true, pure genuine love for him. Not a puppy love or a infatuation...I can't explain this to you all. I just knew I loved him purely and genuinely. We stayed up until 11pm going back and forth (my family was around me the entire time...laughing at our replies and getting excited!). At 10:58, I wrote an email about the Lord's will about this, BUT I did not send it. I stuck it in my save box and bid Nathan adieu for the night.
Tuesday I woke up to an email sitting in my box (YAHOO!). It was 7am (I had been awake since 4:30am!) and we started writing back and forth.
At 7:38am, Nathan emailed and asked me 2 questions. 1. When can I come and visit you? 2. Will ya marry me?
I sent thru a yes (which I don't think got sent to him in all the excitement!) Then I sent him the below...
"You have got to be kidding me.. ;) asking me to marry you on the Internet? ;)
Here is the below email I wrote last night at 2 minutes until deadline (11pm) but didn't send it....
Just to let you know you asked me this week to pray for a sign from the Lord. I just want to let ya know that prior to that I knew it was the Lord's will. I was just chicken cause I don't want to leave my family. When you said "pray for a sign, I will call u this weekend"...I thought...okay I can prolong this til the weekend, but it was selfish of me. I talked to my mom bout this today and she said "it's sad, but so verry happy at the same time.. we have prayed about you all marrying godly spouses for years and exceeding us in our lives for years and this is the Lord's doing." (I told her first what I knew the Lord had done before she told me this)....."
To make an extremely long and adventurous story short... ;)
Nathan and I started courting Sunday morning (the 24th) and were engaged on the February 26 at 7:38am. We met in person for the first time on the 28th (Thursday...2 days after he proposed).
For all you curious girlies, yes he did propose to me in person that Thursday in my goat yard on bended knee and then he asked me in front of my mom while she snapped some pictures later that day!
So, this is my testimony to God's goodness. There is a lot I have left out. How God has been preparing me for years to be Nathan's wife, all the little instances and circumstances that the Lord has used to make me ready have been numerous. I feel totally unworthy to this great thing that the Lord has brought about! Of ourselves, neither Nathan or I could have orchestrated it! It's been amazing the past 2 weeks to see God's hand upon our lives, to see His will be shown to us and to be struck by the awe of the Lord for all the things HE has brought to pass!
One thing I am VERY thankful for is my mom taking the time to show me the ropes of being a wife and mother. For her training me up, in my teen years, and being a proverbs 31 momma'! Christian mommas and daughters, as I write this to you, my heart bleeds for the moms and daughters whose relationships are frazzled and burned out. I can truly share with that; had it not been for my mom's training (and the Lord using her as a tool) I would be a very different woman than I am today. I know too many daughters and moms that have the "me" mentality!! Mommas, take time to train your daughters and daughters, be willing helpers and observant listeners to the gifts of womanhood that your mom is trying to pass down to you!
Praising the Lord for all HE has done!!!!