358 days ago, A and I had our first date after exchanging emails for a few weeks while I was away in Spain and France for a grad-moon (I coin this term now: the big trip you take before your life becomes consumed for 2.5 years from a medical graduate program).
Around that time, I wrote down these words of encouragement:
Today, we celebrate the result of many of our decisions made to turn toward God and allow His work to come first. Our cooperation got His work to where it needed to be- imperfectly as we make our lives- all the same giving full effort (and tons of errors, mistakes, and sin that needed to be considered and forgiven by Jesus in between).
In December 2016, I was finalizing my termination of discernment of the religious life with the inspiring religious sister that had woken me up to the possibilities of bravery and listening first and foremost to Christ’s voice for my life. These months led to a stronger conviction and action to get daily mass into my schedule, much more participation in Pro Ecclesia Sancta activities (the AMAZING group to which I was discerning- their work is outstanding and maintains an excellent tradition of service and integrity to the true, theological meaning of Catholicism), had I not been open to all forms of a vocation to Heaven, I would not have made it here to find my vocation and wait all the time it took for God to set up life in such a beautiful way despite so many problems, and sins, I create during any given day.
(I still have a special place in my heart for PES, learn about them in St. Paul, Minnesota- although they are originally from amd founded in Peru: https://vimeo.com/219465322 )
On that very same day as my morning meeting to finalize my decision to move forward with a vocation of marriage, I received a call of acceptance from the grad school I had loved the most.
Months later, I was getting nervous about this new grad school idea and I had been going on dates with a couple of fantastic men that respected me and grew my God-given faith, hope and love by their example, but I couldn’t find the person with whom my heart belonged to cheer each other to Heaven.
I was definitely about to eliminate a months-old account on a Catholic dating site and again try a more ‘regular’ dating style- I did live in a great city with tons of young adult events for faithful Christians seeking Christ in the life of a layperson.
I was 90% ready to eliminate my account, but there was one lingering message I thought I wanted to know more about the person who had kindly sent it, so I messaged back…it was that message that dropped me into the many situations that answered each A and I’s prayers by a sweet, loving, caring, prayerful relationship.
A is the love of my life, and it took God to find A and recognize his importance in my life: so many quiet, faithful decisions guided by mental prayer, spiritual guidance, and confession with priests acting on behalf of the real living presence of Jesus’ mercy for us.
Once you found him, once he takes you to morning mass at your childhood parish and takes you back to that Mud Lake park bench where you sat during your first date, and gets down on one knee to my WILDEST surprise (he had been ‘planning on Labor Day’ for some time now), and you enjoy those minutes alone in a park and share your first dance as an engaged couple…once you have been blessed by these moments forever imprinted in one’s mind, you get to celebrate with those who love you and support the process of prayer and blessings around us– but enough with words, let’s share smiles:
It just happened to be my 26th birthday barbecue with friends and family whom Andrea was meant to meet many for the first time, so we all had a great deal to celebrate together:
The desire to have a happy, successful marriage started with the examples before us in our childhood homes…I have so much thanks to give to my parents and A’s parents for their immeasurably great, priceless positive examples in daily moments of integrity.
So…how did God give me A, who gave me this ring?
It started with a purity ring, and this is my original one, bought by myself, for myself and given to my great friend in Lima during an experience together during Cruz Blanca. I began to wear a spiritual version of the purity ring throughout my entire life due only to the grace of God, but when I chose to spread that message and in a physical sense, give my ring as encouragement to a friend, I began to pray for much more to come. This is the ring that I hope will one day stand as a sign for many to stay pure and chaste in the most difficult way: of mind, spirit, and body. That ring is here too: