Jon graduated from Evangel University in May of 2004. He decided to stay in Springfield that summer and tried to find work. During that summer we had a long distance relationship because I did a youth pastor internship in Lubbock TX. I returned to Springfield, MO at the end of August for my final year at Evangel University.
In the middle of October, my brother called to say there was a job opening at his work called Allied Insurance. If Jon and I were serious he could come up to Iowa, interview for the job, and if he got it he would have 8 months to set up a life for us in Iowa if we were going to get married right after I graduated. I can honestly tell you I had no idea what Jon’s response to this idea would be. I ran over to my friend Mandy's room and had a total freak out moment. She laughed at me, encouraged me, and prayed with me. If it was God's plan for us, it would all work out.
That night Jon came to EU to see me and I said the notorious “we need to talk.” He and I walked the track behind the gymnasium for two hours. We had our “what are we” talk as some would say. Once all was said and done we knew one thing for sure: this was it for us. We wanted to be married as soon as I was done with college. If this job opportunity was where God wanted us Jon would get the job. We prayed together and Jon took the job information my brother had given me to call them the next day.
To make a long story short, Jon did get the job, but the job didn’t start until January. He moved in with my parents in Iowa at the end of October. He got a job at Younkers department store in November. We did our best to see each other every 2-3 weeks. He worked both jobs until after we were married. When I was home for Christmas we set a date for the wedding and looked at rings. In February he moved out of my parent's place and into his own apartment and that same month he bought an engagement ring for me. Yes, I realize that we were not officially engaged when we set the date, but like I said before we pretty much did everything backward.
On Friday February 11th of 2005, I drove home to celebrate Jon’s birthday with him. On that Saturday the 12 he and I went out for our early Valentine’s dinner since Valentine’s Day was on a Monday that year and I would be back at my college by then. I knew this might be the night of the engagement but I had talked myself out of it. I didn’t want to be disappointed and he had me guessing for so long. We went to dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant called Biaggis. We had a delicious meal. He kept dropping hints the whole time and I kept ignoring them he told me later. After dinner, he asked if I would mind if we went to our church. He wanted to talk to more about the wedding and my thoughts on decorating. I should have known this was a lie because honestly, what man cares about wedding decorations?! But I told myself he was taking an interest in our wedding and I was going to run with it. We got to the church, and he had gotten the key to get in which he got from my dad. We went inside and he turned on all the lights in the sanctuary.
He walked with me arm in arm down the center aisle of the sanctuary to the front of our church where I saw a giant bouquet of fire and ice roses on the communion table up front and my heart started racing. He said “these are for you. They are your Valentine’s Day gift.”
He paused for a moment. My eyes started welling up and I quietly replied, “Thank you. They are beautiful.”
He then reached into his pocket, pulled out a ring box and said, “This is your other Valentine’s Day gift.” He got on one knee, opened the ring box, and started a wonderful speech, of which neither of us remembers. He finished with “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
I stayed silent for a moment because I was expecting “Will you marry me?” So I just said “Ok…”
He looked at me funny and said “I’m gonna need a little more than “Ok.”
I laughed and said, “Oh that was it? Then YES! Yes! It’s totally a Yes!”
We laughed he put the ring on my finger and I was in shock for about an hour. It was perfect. It was in our church at the same altar that we would get married at six months later. It was a beautiful and holy moment. We stopped to pray together before we went back to my parents’ house to start telling everyone.
The rest of the night was phone calls, tears, laughter, and celebration.
We met up at church the next morning and I got to tell some of my friends there too. Once we were in the car on our way to lunch after church I told him why I gave him an "ok" instead of "yes".
I explained “You never said “will you marry me?” so I wasn’t sure if you were done or not.”
As if a light bulb went off in his head he said “Oh that’s what it was! I didn’t really know what I wanted to say and I was really nervous. I thought you were like “Ok…I’m not sure.”
We laughed, and then he said “Tiffany, will you marry me?”
I heartily replied, “Yes Jonathon I will.”
Tune in next week for the story of our wedding day.
This was taken before we left for dinner the night we got engaged...
..and this is us newly engaged!
(Doesn't he look exhausted from nerves? I am obliviously happy.)
Our official engagement photo.
(We look SO young)