One year ago, my heart felt wild with freedom. I was detached from any romantic relations or romantic expectations. I would be heading to North Carolina in May to, in God’s timing, fulfill a life-long dream. God had opened several doors of ministry and brought unique people into my life, and I was content. I had no plans of looking for or locating the person I would want to spend the rest of my life with. Not yet. I was almost 21 with endless possibilities before me. I was finally content with who I was, and what I was without. People still teased me though. A friend told me one year ago, “I bet you’ll meet someone at camp and get engaged by the end of this year.” I laughed and declared, “No way!” We put money on it. I was certain I’d be receiving those $20 by January 1st, 2016, because there was just no possible way I would meet someone, fall in love, and get engaged that fast.
But, by the grace and providence of God, I could not have been more wrong.
May 16th, I lay on the top bunk in a quiet dorm after a crazy day of flying to Greenville, SC, grabbing sushi downtown with a friend, and driving along the winding roads leading to The Wilds. May 16th, Joshua Rushing was just a name in a forwarded email about coming early to camp for May staff. But May 17th, a tall fellow with dark hair and a killer smile sat a few rows behind me during the morning service, and someone told me, before he came up and shook my hand, that his name was Josh. Little did I know how this wise, fun-loving, genuine guy would change my life.
You basically know what the rest of the summer looked like. I chose his couch, he asked for my number, and the rest is history. We went on adventures like hiking to waterfalls, going out for ice cream or Mexican with friends, countless trips to Walmart, and kayaking together. But some of my favorite memories are when we would just talk. He is a tremendous communicator, and so whenever we had free time we usually just sat and conversed. We started a “game” over the summer called “Ask Me Anything.” It was a great way to get to know each other better. We started out with the basics like favorite color, favorite food, favorite movie. But then we would open deeper topics. I found out what he wanted to change about himself. He learned my biggest fear. I told him my dreams of travelling the world and he told me his greatest accomplishments. And the more we talked and the more time we spent together, and I saw how he responded in various situations, all the times he served me, and how much he loved the God Who brought us together, I realized more and more that I loved this man. It was no surprise when he whispered, “I love you” in my ear, although he did seem a bit shocked when I said it back.
Fast forward to December 29th. The day had finally arrived. I hadn’t seen my favorite guy since a short surprise visit in October, and I was anxious to get off work and get home to change and head to the airport. He called me while I was on my break and informed me his flight had been cancelled due to weather complications, but he would be on a flight to Newark the next night. Although I cried and was discouraged at first, I didn’t realize that he was more disheartened then I was . . . because he was planning on proposing to me the next day.
His flight to Newark came in on time the following night, but his luggage didn’t! The adventure continued when we decided to wait an hour and a half at the airport for his luggage to arrive, instead of hoping it would be sent to our house before he went back to Mississippi. While we waited, snacking on beef jerky and talking about changes in plans for the week, one of his friends texted him, “good luck with the proposal.” I saw it and questioned, but Josh quickly dismissed it as a joke, and I shrugged it off.
Our double-date with my sister and her boyfriend was rescheduled for the following day: New Year’s Eve. We went to Havre de Grace to eat at The Ritz and walk the town and promenade. Josh didn’t really seem like himself during lunch, but I assumed he was just tired so I held his hand and laughed at his weirdness as usual. After we ate, Lizzie suggested we head to the promenade–a sort of boardwalk by the river. We took some pictures, and Josh casually slipped on the jacket he had been carrying around all day. After walking a bit further, Lizzie and Nathan randomly stopped to lean on the railing and look out over the water, so Josh and I did the same a little ways off from them. He put his arm around me and pulled me close, and I saw Lizzie taking pictures of the water and us being cute.
Josh looked down at me and said, “Remember that time at camp, when we first started talking, that night when I let you borrow my jacket?” I smiled. “Yes. That was so sweet of you.”
“And we colored–I colored you a picture, remember?”
“Yes, I remember. I wasn’t sure you liked me then!”
He mentioned something about the time he painted my nails (true story) and I laughed. We stood there for a little while longer, when he said, “Ask me anything.”
I giggled into his jacket and, after a minute, said, “I can’t think of anything.”
Several more minutes passed, and, somehow, I remember seeing my sister pointing the camera at us . . . almost at the same time I noticed my boyfriend reaching for his pocket. “Well,” he said, “I have a question to ask you.”
It felt surreal, as he slipped his arm from around me and got down on one knee. My hands flew to my mouth as I realized what was happening. I’ll never forget that moment, when he said, “Bethany Rebecca Wilson, will you marry me?” I’ll also never forget that I was nearly hyperventilating. “Is this real?” I said through my hands. I remember looking into his eyes, and realizing how huge this was. This was the moment I had been dreaming about since I was five. This was the man I had been waiting and praying for, kneeling in front of me, asking me to spend my forever with him. Everything I had planned to say when I was proposed to, every reaction I thought I would exhibit, all vanished when I looked into those brown eyes. I had never thought before about how heavy this question was. But I knew my answer.
“Yes!” I squeaked. His smile grew even wider as he stood up and slipped the ring on my finger. It honestly felt like a dream. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing and looking at the ring and looking at the man who chose me. And eventually couldn’t stop crying. I was thrilled.
We took some more pictures; Liz and I took a bathroom break and I screamed with joy and scared the stranger in the stall; and grabbed coffee at my favorite coffee shoppe before heading home. I was still in shock and amazement as we turned onto my road . . . and saw the three extra vehicles in my driveway. “What in the world . . .”
A surprise, for me, mini engagement party. Both sets of grandparents, one of my good friends, and my youth pastor and his family were all there, with snacks and cupcakes with sparkly sprinkles and a bouquet of flowers and balloons, and my parents waiting at the door. I was overwhelmed with joy. We told the story and we all laughed and viewed all the pictures Lizzie took on the Wii and took more pictures. It was delightful. All the while, I kept looking at my fiance. I get to marry Josh Rushing, I kept thinking. This is really happening.
I am so very blessed to be engaged to this man. Thanks for following along with our journey so far (#shechosemycouch), and I can’t wait to see the adventures God has in store for us as our story continues.