Wow, you guys. As cliche as it sounds, this was one for the books. Sure it was on a mountain, in the snow, with dreamy light and a pretty piece of jewelry...but all of this is sub-par to what I'm about to share with you. I'm about to share about true love (yes, real-life, honest true-love), sacrifice, choice and tears. The happiest kind. Are you ready??
Here we go.
I got a text from Josh that read, "So I may or may not have purchased a piece of round jewelry that goes on the third finger on the left hand..." The rest after that was full of sweet intent to make Shelby feel as cherished and chosen as he possibly could.
Josh's grand plan was this: to propose in the midst of their hike up Horseshoe Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Colorado. He was going to hand her a wedding planner and as she looked at it they would walk across a bridge and as she realized what the planner was for, he would drop to his knee and ask her to be his bride. My handy partner-in-crime, Robyn, and I were to hide in the trees and capture the moment. A few hiccups and a lot of grace later, everything came together just as it should have.
I will never forget it. I will never forget how the moment Josh asked Shelby to be his bride, I understood Jesus that much more.
They were just ahead of the bridge, our marker. Josh said, "Shelby, I have something for you." Excited (and maybe a little expectant) she turned around to receive...a planner. She said "thank you" and put it in the hiking backpack. Then she hiked on.
As they passed the bridge, Josh assumed the position. One knee in the snow, presenting a ring in a box, the biggest smile, all the nerves and a burning question. "Shelby!" he said.
She kept walking.
"Shelby Liana, please turn around! I have something for you."
Walking ahead she said, "Josh I just need to hike. I need to clear my head."
Once more, "Shelby! Please turn around." She turned around. And she stood, arms by her side, in-shock for about an entire minute. Then tears streamed down her face as she slowly moved toward her Josh. As he asked her to be his, she said yes. He chose her and she chose him back.
Hugs, kisses, laughter, tears and a 20 minute virtual engagement party followed.
Later, I asked Shelby what was going through her head as she just stood there. She told me that she was humbled that Josh was still choosing her in her stubbornness. She said that every wall she had up broke down as she chose to walk over to him. That's love, you guys. That's pursuit and that's choosing. It was plain as day. That's Christ with us. He chose us. He's been there saying, "I choose you. I love you. Will you choose me too?" All we have to do is turn around, walk toward him and say, "Yes!" Then embrace happens. Warmth happens. Life happens.
To say that I was (and still am) honored and grateful to be a part of such an extraordinary moment would be an understatement. This speedy grand adventure where I got to witness and capture genuine choice filled my cup in so many ways and I will forever cherish it.
Josh & Shelby, thank you. Thank you for being such an example of Christ and his love. I am so excited for your adventure. It's going to be a great one.