. . . Continued from “The Ring”

Evan and Marie - HQ-7365.jpg
Daniel Swanson Photography

In the picture, it looks like I’m knighting him.

He’s kneeling behind a pillar, and I have this giant rolled-up paper in my hand that could pass for a scepter (especially as the picture is blurry). In another one we’re kissing, and the poster is blocking his face.

If you read the previous post and are a particularly attentive reader, you may be wondering, “How are there pictures of the proposal? I thought he didn’t plan this out.” Evan didn’t plan it, but I can’t help feeling that Someone Else did.

We didn’t plan anything, but Someone Else did.

In the midst of my astonishment, I remembered that we were late for the concert. I grabbed Evan’s hand and pulled him toward the theater door, wondering if we were going to scoot awkwardly past people’s knees in the middle of a song. (The answer to that was yes.) As I touched the handle, someone called out, “Wait!” A woman approached us with her phone in her hand.

“I saw you kneeling down,” she said, “and I thought, ‘I should take pictures!’ Would you like me to text them to you?”

I had already been crying, but I think at this point I started to sob. I felt sorry for the woman; being thanked by a weeping person appeared to make her uncomfortable. Evan gave her his number, and now we have two of the photos framed side-by-side on our mantle.

On the way in, Evan suggested that I add a note to my poster telling Jon Foreman what had happened. I had left my permanent marker in the car, but I found a pen in my purse and scrawled the message.

The concert was amazing. Jon Foreman has the gift of intimacy: he made us all feel like we were the only ones in the room. From the stage,  he held conversations with individual audience members, dedicating one song to a toddler named Daisy in the first row and bantering with a joker in the balcony. He even invited a girl onstage to sing a duet with him. Then, a few songs in, he asked us to dance.

Evan and Marie - HQ-8582.jpg
Daniel Swanson Photography

“This next song is a waltz,” he announced, “and if anyone wants to dance, feel free to come to the front.” It was too perfect. I really had to push because Evan isn’t the showy type, but when I stood up and yanked on his hand, he followed. People started cheering when we went forward.

Eventually, two other couples joined us. Well, I remember thinking, this night can’t possibly get more amazing. Jon asked us our names, and we shouted them out. “Thank you for coming up,” he told us. “No one’s done that in any of the other concerts.”

Evan and Marie - HQ-8589.jpg
Daniel Swanson Photography

It was a few songs later that he picked up my poster. He took his time reading it. “I don’t know if you can see from out there,” he told the audience, “but someone is really artistic: look, there are all these little hearts around the edges. . .” He paused, and I got butterflies. “I want everyone to see this,” he said at last. “The song title is written in big, black letters, but there’s a smaller note at the bottom. It says that someone just got engaged. Evan and Marie, where are you?”

We walked to the front with our knees shaking. “As far as I’m concerned, this is your night,” he told us. “If you don’t like a song, come up halfway through and tell me to play something else. What would you like me to play?” In the silence that followed, every song we had ever heard fled from our minds. The only title I could recall was the one written on the paper.

“The reason I requested that song,” I heard myself saying, “was that God spoke to Evan through it. We were going to break up, and he heard your song, and God told him to stick with it . . .” So Jon played our song.

Here, my dear
This is where
We’ll shake the nightmare free

I dream to hold you in my arms
I dream to hold you in my arms
To hold you in my arms
Wide awake
In my arms

That night, I had the awesome sense that I was observing God. He wasn’t performing for me. He was simply being Himself, and in a rare moment of clarity, I could see Him at work. After the concert, someone in the audience approached us with a video she had taken of our waltz and offered to post it on Facebook. Many strangers congratulated us on our way out, and my secret miracle followed me into the next day and beyond.

I had the awesome sense that I was observing God.

All along, I’d been afraid of backing out. Would I doubt my decision? Would panic block my way forward as it had in the mall jewelry store? I had feared that my chronic uncertainty would continue into engagement, but instead, I experienced joy. Confidence was the gift that lasted from the concert to the altar.

I wish we could tell Jon Foreman how much he did for us that night, but I doubt I’ll ever get the chance. The truth is, he probably participates in stories like that all the time without realizing it. God orchestrates private miracles continuously for His people, and only occasionally do we notice. I’m thankful for the one He showed to me.


The Reluctant Bride


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