Courtship: Jordan’s perspective

    (Disclaimer: This is the long version. I hope you read it, but if you want the short version, I liked Ana Marie for some time. I finally made a move. We dated. We are now engaged to be married. There, I think that covers it. Ha!)

So there I was. I had just arrived in Louisville a couple of months back, and I was trying to settle in, trying to find a church, trying to set up life for the next however many years. I had started school and visited a few churches, trying to find a home, but I was unsuccessful. Then the guys said, “Hey, let’s go to Kenwood, you know, the one where James Hamilton preaches at.” “Sure,” I said, “Might as well.” So I went, and I loved it! I knew I had found where I would spend the rest of my time here in Louisville.

    And as I was looking around at all the new people at Kenwood, there she was. “Wow, she’s really pretty, and she seems nice,” I thought to myself. “I wonder if she’s married…nope, no ring…boyfriend?…Hmm, don’t see one.” Ha! I didn’t even know her name, but I was already sure that I wanted to get to know this girl. I suppose I asked someone, “Who is she?” “Ana Marie,” they said. “She’s a great girl. You should get to know her.”

    “Ana Marie. What a beautiful name. Ana Marie.”

Shortly after, and completely unbeknownst to her, I began to observe (hopefully in the least creepy way possible) who she was through the lens of her ministry at Kenwood. I saw that she loved people, “alright, good start,” she always someone’s baby in her arms, “OK, keep it coming,” AND (the pièce de résistance) she could cook! (no, but seriously, a bachelor does think about that kind of thing). And really, I thought these things were great, but what really attracted me about her was that I could see clearly that she loved Jesus. She loved my wonderful Savior, the one who had loved me so much, the one who had come down and given his very life in order to save me from the condemnation I absolutely deserved. That Savior. I could tell it on her face. I could tell it by the way she loved the body of Christ. And I could tell it by her actions. She loved my Savior, and my Savior loved her. THAT. That is what led me to pray, “Lord, if it’s your will, let me marry this woman.”

And so I waited….

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m way too shy for my own good….Let’s just say that I waited a year and a half to gather the courage to do anything about it. I mean really, how is a guy like me going to get response other than a laugh from a girl like her. So beautiful and godly and…Seriously, I thought (and still think) I was WAY out of my league trying to pursue her.

I did make attempts to get to know her in the hopes that maybe a conversation would spark. I would get to Sunday school early and sit by her normal spot. But she would come in and sit on the other side of the room….I began sitting near her in service. She would take off right after the benediction or begin a conversation with one of her girlfriends….I would get in line for lunch at the same time she would. She would inexplicably disappear or begin another deep conversation….I would go to get-togethers hoping she would show. She didn’t show….Things just weren’t working out….I just needed one opportunity….

So Spring semester ended this year. I went home, and in retrospect, I think God really got a hold on me. “Come on, son,” he seemed to be telling me. “You should ask her out.”

“Ok Ok, I’ll ask her out! Next time I see her.” I had never felt so motivated. At any cost, life or limb, I was going to ask this girl to go on a date with me. No more waiting.

So I come back to Louisville on Sunday. “Guys, I’m going to do it,” I told my roommates. “I’m going to ask Ana Marie to go on a date with me.”

“Yeah yeah yeah,” they said. “We’ve heard it before.”

“No. Seriously. I’m gonna do it. Next time I see her.”

    And so I planned. Wednesday night was going to be D-day. I was going to MAKE conversation happen.

    Monday rolled around.


STOP!!! Ana Marie is asking for help moving a desk from school to her place. “Uh oh, boys. Here we go! Here’s my chance.” She needs a truck. “Well, technically, my Xterra is built on a truck body….I’ll make it work.

    So, I go to The Attic at school, and there she is, pretty as can be, with a load ready for transport. And in walks Nathan Klein to help move the desk….

    “Noooo!” I thought. “He’s gonna hang around at her place and I won’t be able to ask Ana Marie to go on a date (‘cause that kind of conversation is awkward even without other people around).”

    “Well, it’s in God’s hands, anyway.”

    So Nathan and I move the desk from school and up Ana Marie’s impossibly narrow stairs, and then she asks, “Would you like some water?”

    “Sure,” we said.

    He knew! Praise the Lord, Nathan knew, or at least suspected that something was up. I have never seen someone down a glass of water that fast.

    “Thanks. I’ve got to go to work now,” he said, practically running out the door. Best. Roommate. Ever.

    And there we were. The moment of truth. After a year and a half of patiently/un-patiently waiting I was going to ask Ana Marie to give me a chance.

(Note: this is not an official transcript)

“So…got a busy week this week?” I said.

“Um, well, I’ve got this and that and something else.”

    “Huh, interesting. What are you up to on Thursday?”

    “Oh, I’ve got this until X o’clock,” she said.

    “Neat. What are you doing Thursday night?”

    “I don’t know. What’s on Thursday night?”

    “Well,” I said (then time slowed down. I could hear my heart beating). I thought, “Here goes nothing.”

    “Well, I was wondering if you might like to go to dinner with me…”

    And there it was. Everything out on the table.

    She said after a few moments of giving a blank stare, revealing the debilitating shock that my offer rightly provoked, “Let me check my calendar. I’ll let you know on Facebook later tonight”

    “Ahhh, come on!” I thought. “At least give me something. A smile, a look, anything,”……Nothing……

    “Sounds good,” I said.

    I don’t remember leaving, but on the drive home I remember thinking, “Well, I did it. It’s in the Lord’s hands now. Lord, if it’s your will, let her say yes.”

    About halfway home, I was thinking, “Wow, I might actually go on a date Friday with the girl I’ve had my eye on for so long. Friday…

Thursday? No, Friday…Thursday?” Dread. Pure, undiluted dread washed over me in waves. “I told her Thursday, but I meant Friday…Oh Lord preserve me. What have I done! I have to work Thursday night! Oh no!”

    So I got out my phone. “Oh no again!” Her phone had decided to literally fry itself as I was asking her to dinner. I couldn’t call. I couldn’t text….“Facebook!”

    Let’s just say the last half of my drive broke the world land speed record.

    I got home, ran up to my room, and proceed to correct my Thursday night proposal. “Hey Ana Marie. I made a mistake. When I said Thursday night, I actually meant Friday night.” I expected the worst.

    Silence…six hours of long, agonizing silence. And then she replied, “My phone is not working. Just wanted to let you know that I will be able to go out on Friday night.”

    I sat there, not comprehending what had just popped up on my screen. No seriously, already thinking the worst, I didn’t read her reply correctly.

I got up and moped into Harrison’s room. “She said no, man. She said she wouldn’t be able to go out with me.” We talked about it for a minute, and I went back to my room feeling dejected. I looked at my computer screen and read it again. “Well, at least I tried,” I thought…..“Wait…what? What does that say?…..HOLD THE PHONE!!! HOLD ON JUST A SECOND!!! SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!! SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!”

Praise the Lord, she said had actually yes!

I cannot even BEGIN to describe joy, the happiness, the thankfulness to God that filled me in that moment. Beyond words…I was ecstatic. What I had wanted to happen for so long was finally happening. The Lord was graciously blessing me. Apart from salvation, this is truly the greatest act of undeserved favor that I will ever know, to know her. How good and kind the Lord is….

Friday came around. In the morning, I was still undecided as to where we would go for dinner on our first date, so I went and scouted around and found and made reservations at the Grape Leaf on Frankfort. I ended up being fairly nervous all the rest of the day praying that the Lord would perform some kind of miracle so that she would have a good time. I got dressed, hopped in the car, headed over to her house, knocked on the door, let her in the car, and we went to the Grape Leaf.

Thankfully, the restaurant had good food and a good atmosphere, and we talked for a good while about life, and our different views of things. Everything was checking out, but i was really after one thing in particular, her testimony. I wanted to know her heart. I wanted to know how she had become the loving daughter of Christ that I had seen at church. Almost needless to say, she knew that the Lord had bought her at the price of his Son, and she was trusting Christ to take her sin and shame. Praise the Lord!

After dinner, we went up Frankfort to the river and went walking in the park to the walking bridge just as the sun was about to set (and yes, I did plan it that way). We continued to walk and get to know each other, and then we headed back to her house.

Let me just say that I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what she had thought of our evening together. She was a stone wall. I hadn’t the foggiest whether she enjoyed herself or if she liked me or hated me. I had no clue. So I just asked if she would like to go out again sometime. I don’t remember, that whole night was such a blur, but apparently she said yes.

    And so we went on a second date to Ramsi’s Cafe on the World (Don’t, I repeat, DON’T get the “Egyptian Kitchen” dish. It’s pretty gross). We talked more about life and how we viewed things. Everything went perfectly, I think, and the more I began to get to know her, the more I liked her.

    I found out at some point that she was going back home to Tulsa for two weeks. Bummer. I knew that I liked her and was pretty sure she was interested in me. I wanted to make it official. I had to tell her how I felt, and I knew I couldn’t leave things hanging for two weeks.

    So on the day before she was to fly out to Tulsa, we went on a third date, a lunch date, to Blue Dog Bakery where we talked some more over really good food. Then we headed out to Cherokee Park to walk around a little bit. I had planned to sit down with her at some point and share what I was thinking. We walked and talked and eventually realized that the trail was going nowhere and decided to head back.

    And as were were close to exiting the woods near the parking lot, I saw a rock and said “Hey, lets go sit up there and talk.” So we sat down on the rock and I told her how I felt. I told her how much I liked her, what a godly and beautiful woman she was, and that I wanted to ask her father’s permission to officially begin courting her. She said she would like that.

    “Wow,” I thought, “Are you kidding me!?! She must really like me!” I guess I still expected her not to be that interested. It all felt like a dream. “Is this really happening?” I thought. The fact is that, yes, she really did like me. She really did want to enter into a relationship with me, and I was so happy. So happy.

    At first I had a plan to tell her all about what I was feeling, and if she said yes, I would make my way down to Tulsa and talk with her father (I like to have serious conversations in person), but she had other plans. She told me that her father would probably like to know right away everything that was going on and that I would like to ask for permission to make things official. So she gave me his number.

    During our conversation, she asked me what I thought courting means. So I told her. I believe that two people want to get into a relationship (call it courting or dating or whatever) the goal should be to discern whether you should get married. Otherwise, what are you doing? Just having a good time? Really (and this shows how I truly think about it), if you don’t have marriage as the goal of the relationship, or if you aren’t purposefully trying to assess whether the two of you should get married, you’re probably taking advantage of the other person, leading them on, so to speak, to nothing in particular. My advice: When you find someone you would like to marry, pursue them, tell them your intentions, don’t leave them hanging, set up good boundaries (i.e. act like a Christian), and try to find out quickly if you should get married. If things don’t work out, that’s ok. You have just saved yourself and the other a great deal of heartache. But (BUT!) if things do work out, you will be headed toward marriage! In either case, you have acted honorably toward the other person, his or her parents, and most importantly, God.

    And that’s what Ana Marie and I did. We agreed that finding out if we should get married was to be our goal in our relationship.

    After our time in the park, I dropped her off and went to work probably looking extremely goofy with the huge smile on my face. On my hour break, I called her father. No answer…“Oh well, I’ll leave a message and call him tomorrow.”

    When I got off work I headed home and told the guys about everything that happened that day. After a couple of minutes, and in the middle of my conversation with Harrison, my phone buzzed with a text from Mr. Ort, “Is this Jordan? I’m calling in 5 minutes.”

    “Oh, well that’s VERY unexpected,” I thought in shock. “But I was going to call tomorrow. Ok Jordan, let’s get our thoughts together. This is happening whether I’m ready or not.”

    So I stopped my conversation with Harrison, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

    I rushed out to my car for some privacy and sat and prayed. “Lord, help me. Give me the words to convince this man that he can trust me with his daughter.”

    My phone rang, and Mr. Ort was on the other end. He was very kind (he could have interrogated me to the nth degree but he didn’t). He really wanted to know four things. My testimony, what I planned to do in life, what my perspective was on debt, and whether I liked soccer or not (ha!). We talked for a little bit and he informed me that both he and Mrs. Ort gave their blessing.

Praise the Lord! I had a girlfriend!

(This thing’s getting long so I”m going to speed it up a bit)

Ana Marie left for Tulsa, and over the two weeks that she was gone we moved really fast. I wasn’t even physically present with her, but we talked on the phone A LOT, and we got right down to the business of finding out whether we should get married. We talked about everything you could think of that you would want to know of the person you would want to marry, life philosophies, particulars, the whole nine yards. By the time that she came back to Louisville, I felt that I really had begun to know her. And I began, slowly but surely, to love her.

Over the next seven weeks (yeah, we only dated for seven weeks) I got to know her better, seeing what she was like in all sorts of situations. We were (and still are) joined at the hip. We went down to the beach for a vacation with my family, and they loved her. All the while we were still trying to ascertain whether we should get married (though really, I think we knew for a while before we got engaged. I, at least, definitely knew).

And so I got a ring. I tossed around a few ideas of how to propose, but there was still one thing I needed to do. I wanted to ask her father for permission to marry her, in person. Thankfully, we had already planned a trip down to Tulsa for Mr. Ort’s birthday.

One morning, Mr. Ort and I went to breakfast together. He was definitely expecting the question, and right away we talked about Ana Marie and I getting married. It didn’t take long before we finished breakfast, and I had his blessing to ask Ana Marie to marry me. Praise the Lord!

And so we ended our trip to Tulsa, and I was really impatient to put a ring on her finger. I had planned to propose the day after we got back from Tulsa, but there was one problem, well two. She had a paper from a summer class to finish, and she wasn’t feeling well. She planned to work on the paper on our 12 hour drive back to Louisville. “Come on, you’ve got to stay awake and work on this paper…You don’t want to get a bad grade. You should work on your paper….I’m not going to talk so you can work on your paper.” I tried EVERYTHING. But she was feeling bad. And I should have felt bad about pushing her, but I REALLY wanted her to be free the next day so I could surprise her with the proposal. But it just wasn’t going to happen. Oh well, plans change, and I’m glad they did.

I had an extra day to make sure everything was just right. On Wednesday, I arrived at her house. Ah! but it was 30 minutes before what we had planned. I parked down the street, out of view of the house and waited for Elda (her roommate) to come out. When she did, I took her to Cherokee park, and we quickly scouted out the best place to propose. When I was satisfied, I left Elda and went back to Ana Marie’s house to pick her up. She had mentioned going to the park to sit and talk (which played right into my plan), and so I had prepared, grabbing a blanket and a cooler.

We headed down to the park, got out, and found a good spot to lay the blanket out and talk. It was on a big rock right by a beautiful stream with some good shade. The weather was perfect!

I also brought my Bible along.

So we sat and talked for a minute, and then I pulled out my Bible. I had selected a few passages to read, and so I began. I read out of one of the Gospels, Genesis 2, Proverbs 31, and Ephesians 5. All of them were about marriage and the kind of woman I believe her to be. As I was reading out of Ephesians 5, I got to the part where it says, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church,” and I couldn’t help but cry. That’s what I want to do for her, to love her in the best, most real, most true way possible, to love her like my Savior loves me.

I stood her up, and I took out the ring. Getting down on one knee, I said something in the way of “Ana Marie, will you marry me.” And she said yes!

I have found in Ana Marie, something, someone I thought I would never find, a woman who loves and cares for me deeply, who challenges me to godliness and holiness in a way that I cannot begin to express. The Lord has dealt graciously with me, and he perfectly planned everything so that we would come together at the right time. The Lord has been so good, and I praise him for everything that has happened over the last several months. He has given me the woman that I love, and with whom I will joyfully live the rest of my life. I cannot wait to see how our lives together will unfold. Ana Marie, I love you!

Courtship: Ana Marie’s perspective

Being a wife has been a deep desire of mine ever since I can remember. Like most girls, I struggled with contentment even though the Lord was faithful to assure me of His love and goodness over and over. My time at seminary contained great joy in the midst of sorrow and also disappointment concerning my singleness. Without warrant, I did get to the point of doubting my God’s love for me and power to bring a good man into my life. I started out the summer of this year with a renewed sense of purpose and resolve in living as a single woman to the glory of God. On Monday, May 20, I shared this, along with thoughts I was having about the future after my education at Southern Seminary, with my accountability group. On the morning of Tuesday, May 21, I sat in a local coffee shop journaling my heart out to the Lord. My thoughts were filled with ways in which I can glorify Him in my daily life, and my prayers petitioned Him for help in these endeavors. But, as I had requested a million times before, I again asked that He would bring a man into my life.

That same morning, on Facebook, I requested help moving a piece of furniture to my house. The only response was from Jordan Lingerfelt, a guy at my church who I considered merely an acquaintance and was definitely not interested in romantically. However, being a girl in need of help, I accepted the offer. He and another friend moved the desk to my house that afternoon. Attempting to be hospitable and express my gratefulness, I poured both of them a glass of water in my kitchen after the task had been completed. The other friend promptly left, and left Jordan behind. Not wishing to appear rude, I continued in conversation with him hoping he would leave soon. Then he asked “Would you be able to join me for dinner later this week?” I needed a little time to think about it but let him know later that day that I would go with him.

Although Jordan and I had been at the same church since October 2011, and had both participated in a few events, I really didn’t know him. The day after I accepted his invitation to dinner, the Lord providentially arranged a meeting with two couples from our church who knew him better than I did. During this providential meeting, I was shocked to learn that Jordan had been interested in me for 1.5 years. This intrigued me, as it revealed that asking me out was not done on a whim and, presumably, Jordan had been thinking and praying about it for some time. Also, one of the men knew Jordan quite well since they were in the same accountability group, and was able to validate his character. Who but God could have arranged this meeting with people who knew him and could speak some reassuring words to me?

On Friday, May 24, right after my housemates surrounded me in prayer, Jordan picked me up for my first date ever. I was not interested in impressing Jordan, so approached our time together like I would getting to know a new friend. Except…this was a date…with a guy…who I knew was not interested in a mere friendship.

Jordan took me to The Grape Leaf, a Mediterranean restaurant. Jordan was extremely polite and gentlemanly throughout the whole evening, always getting the door for me and making sure I was comfortable. Still, while we waited for the waiter at the restaurant to show us to the table that Jordan had reserved, I thought “I hate dating!” Yes, there were awkward pauses, but I found that our conversation flowed quite naturally as we both talked about our lives and it seemed quite easy for me to converse with him. I was impressed by the fact that Jordan had traveled extensively. After dinner, he took me to the walking bridge. We walked the entire length, talking the whole way. Two and a half hours after our date had started, he was driving me back home and, since he hadn’t asked to go out again, I was worried that I had said something that he didn’t like. The Lord was already starting to change my heart. Before arriving at my home, he said that he did want to get to know me better if that would be okay with me. I responded very noncommittally because I wanted him to recommend a specific time to hang out. Thankfully, my lack of enthusiasm didn’t dissuade Jordan from asking me out on a second date ten days later. The thoughtfulness and heart for God that I observed in Jordan during those first few weeks when we became friends quickly won my heart.

We went on a second date ten days later and then coffee after church one Sunday. During that coffee date, a very key conversation happened, which convinced me that I would be in favor of going further with our relationship if he wanted that. I asked Jordan what pastoring (what he is preparing to do) meant to him. I was very pleased with his answer as it revealed that our hearts for ministry seemed to be on the same wavelength.

Our times spent together grew more frequent and then, on June 21st, I went home for two weeks. Before that, though, on June 20th, Jordan took me to Blue Dog Bakery where we enjoyed a delicious lunch, and afterwards to Cherokee/Seneca park where we walked along a creek and found some trails. Finally, we found a rock to sit on and Jordan very calmly shared what was on his mind. He said that he had known me since October 1.5 years ago and, because of what he saw in me, had kept his eye on me to see if I was who I said I was. He said many sweet things, including that I am the kind of girl he was looking for. He asked to court me and wanted my dad’s phone number to also ask his permission. The things that Jordan said floored me. Never had a man spoken to me in that way, and I knew that he meant what he said. He told me that he really really liked me, and I told him that I liked him as well.

That evening, Jordan spoke with my dad on the phone, and he gave permission to court me. The next day, I was to fly home to Tulsa, and Jordan managed to meet me at the airport for 30 minutes during his lunch break. During that conversation, I asked him what courting meant to him. He told me that, rather than just dating for fun, he really had a goal in mind: marriage. My desire had been to only date someone I could imagine marrying, and it was wonderful to be pursued by a man who thought the same way. Jordan asked me to accompany him for his family’s vacation at the beach during the last week of July, and I asked him if he would go with me back to Tulsa for the second weekend in August for my dad’s birthday.

While I was in Tulsa for 2 weeks, Jordan and I spoke on the phone for a total of 13 hours. We would discuss a chapter of Romans and then talk about all sorts of important topics: family, children, ministry, finances, the roles of a husband and a wife, and more. We had both thought about such topics extensively, though it seemed to me that Jordan had thought much more about what kind of husband he wants to be than I had thought about what kind of wife I want to be. This amazed and humbled me, knowing that he wanted to be a husband who loves his wife like Christ loves the church to me. Our conversations were very encouraging, in part because we were on the same page concerning every important subject we discussed. Increasingly, I could imagine myself marrying Jordan.

After those two weeks, my parents drove me back up to Louisville, which had already been planned before Jordan and I started dating. This provided the perfect opportunity for them to meet him. After spending some time with Jordan, they expressed complete support for our relationship.

We started spending a lot of time together, continuing to have deep meaningful conversation about various topics. It didn’t take long at all for me to be convinced that I definitely wanted to marry Jordan. He was better than anything I had hoped for. In bringing Jordan into my life, God proved all of my doubts about His power and love utterly wrong.

Getting to know Jordan’s family during their beach vacation at the end of July was a wonderful time. I felt very comfortable with them, and they welcomed me into their family with open arms. The memories of relaxing at the beach and walking along the shore with Jordan are ones I will treasure forever.

On August 10th, Jordan and I were with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday. It was encouraging to see Jordan get along well with both of my brothers. During that weekend trip, Jordan asked my dad for my hand in marriage, and I knew that my dad gave permission. As of that time, I expected the proposal anytime, but tried not to figure out the details. On Wednesday, August 14, Jordan picked me up at 3:30. I noticed an ice chest in the back seat of his car and thought it was very sweet that he had packed a picnic for us. He drove to the park and creek where he had asked to court me. We found a large rock by the creek and sat down on a blanket that he had brought. He picked up his Bible to read some passages. This was not terribly unusual, as we had discussed Scripture together frequently and wanted our relationship to be centered on our relationship with God. Pretty soon, though, I realized that this time in the Word was different.

Jordan first read Luke 11:1-13. He told me that he had asked for and searched for me for many years, and God had answered his prayers through me. He then turned to Proverbs 31 and told me that he had found that woman in me. Next, he read about the creation of woman in Genesis 2. Here, I could tell that he was starting to become emotional. Finally, he turned to Ephesians 5. When he read the phrase “Husbands, love your wives…,” Jordan broke down. I asked if he wanted me to read, but he insisted on continuing. After he got out a few more words he was still weeping, so he put down his Bible and looked at me. “I want to love you like Christ loves you,” he said. And then he said “I love you.” Now I knew for sure that the proposal was happening because we had agreed to wait to say those words until engagement. He asked me to stand with him, and then he knelt, held up a gorgeous ring (made up of 7 diamonds which symbolize completion/perfection), and asked me if I would marry him. I responded “Yes, of course.” As we were hugging, I finally noticed one of my housemates taking pictures. Jordan had planned the proposal perfectly, along with a photographer! He then opened the ice chest and pulled out a beautiful bouquet of 21 roses (3 times 7!). The Lord truly wrote a perfect love story for us, and we are looking forward to our upcoming wedding on December 7th.