December 19, 2008

The Fifth Day of Christmas: My Golden Ring

1 Peter 5:7 ~ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

When my husband proposed, I told him no. He stared at me in disbelief. "Why not?" he shouted over the crowds in the concert arena as we made our way back to the concession stand for another beer.

"Well, first of all, you weren't on your knees." I mused at his probing eyes. "Second of all, where's the ring?" A girl has to have her standards.

I didn't expect that he would make me wait a whole week for his repeat request. It was the longest week of my life at 19 years old. It was torture. Did he know that I really did want to marry him? Had he changed his mind?

When he finally asked me again we were driving along together after dinner one night and he stopped at twilight in the park across from a house where my mom had grown up. You could see her childhood home across the street. He took my hand and led me to the park bench where he got down on his knees.

"Will you marry me?" He said softly, his eyes sparkling like saphires. Of course I said yes. Are you kidding me? The boy was like crack. It was useless to resist him.

After the kissing stopped, I asked, "Where's the ring?"

His eyes grew wide. He had forgotten. "I can't afford one right now, but I'll take you to pick one out."

We hopped back in the car and went to Service Merchandise where I picked out the tiniest diamond in size 4. They had to send it off because they didn't have my size in the store. When it came time to pay, Kev asked me if I could pay for it now and he could pay me back. [How romantic.]

Aside from owing me over a hundred dollars, he never got me a wedding band. My grandma gave me a cracker jack gold ring that looked like a band as a gag gift a few years in to our marriage. She liked Kevin a lot, so he wasn't too insulted.

I was happy with my ring and wasn't complaining... however, after about five years went by, I told him I wanted a nice ring for our ten year anniversary. We still had a few years ahead of us. No rush.

The year before my 10 year high school reunion (which happened to be around the time I was in the market for said ring), he took me to the mall. Usually we walked right past the jewelry stores. I'm not big on expensive bling-bling (lucky him). He calls those kinds of girls "high maintenance". I was always a cheap date. I just wanted to be with him and didn't care if it was Subway sandwiches instead of a Japanese Steakhouse.

"Let's go in here" he said. I knew we didn't have a lot of money, but I saw the half-price sale sign and figured it wouldn't hurt to look. It so happened that there was a really great ring on sale. I fell in love with it. He told me to take out the checkbook and buy it. I hated spending the money. It just felt so frivolous. I'm not one to spend on big ticket items. It depresses me to spend money. But he was adamant. He wanted me to have the ring. I knew it was a way that he was telling me he loved me, so I scratched out the amount and handed the check to the sales person.

A few weeks later, they called for me to pick it up. After all these years, I had my pretty wedding ring. It even came with a wedding band. Too bad my grandma couldn't be here to see me with it on. I decided it looked funny any way, and it has stayed in the box all these years.

The first weekend I had my ring, I wore it to church. My hands were dry, so I took it off in my lap to put on some lotion. It slipped off my lap as I got out of the car on to the asphalt. I was engrossed in our conversation and did not even notice. We went to church, came back to the car, drove to lunch and back home - with me still unaware that the ring was even missing.

That night there was a bad storm. Trees were down and tornadoes touched down in many parts of the city. The wind and rain were awful. Some time after dark I panicked when I found the ring missing. In a flash, I remembered that the last time I had seen it was when I put lotion on my hands at church.

I felt really hopeless that we would ever see it again. I figured that it was a frivolous purchase that God didn't want me to have. I should have spent the money on something else or kept it in savings. So I prayed that if God wanted me to have it, that he would help us to find it. If we didn't find it, I would know that He wanted me to not waste money on things like that.

Kev took me back to the church (at night, as it sprinkled after the storm). Tree limbs were everywhere. In the road, along side the sidewalks. He tried to prepare me for the worst. "You know, Heather, the church is in a busy area. People walk by there all day. If it was in the parking lot, someone either drove over it and crushed it, or they found it and kept it."

"But what if it was someone from church?" I argued. "Surely they would have taken it inside to the lost and found."

"I hope so." He said. "I just don't want you to get your hopes up. It's probably gone."

I sat quietly as we got closer to the building and held my breath as we turned in to the parking lot. The leaves and tree debris littered the concrete. Our headlights illuminated the rain drops and painted stripes as we pulled in.

Then something caught my eye. "STOP!!!!" I yelled.

"What?" Kevin asked. He put the car in park as my door flung open. There in the headlights, a tiny flash of starlight seemed to twinkle off of the ground. The diamond was in perfect angle to reflect our headlights and I didn't even have to look for the ring. It had been a tiny beacon - showing me exactly where it was. Not only did we find the ring, but it was in perfect condition - no tire marks or damage at all... even after sitting in the parking lot all day through two busy church services and a tropical storm.

Suddenly I felt really small. God felt really big... and more loving than ever. Why would he care if I had such a trinket? Such a small and unimportant thing in the grand scheme of things. I was speechless. I prayed a silent, tear-tinged thank-you as I slipped the cold, wet ring on my finger. It felt different now. Like a gift from heaven - not just from my sweet husband. Everyone in the car was buzzing about how amazing it was that I found the ring. I ran my fingers over it and listened to them with a pondering smile.

A month after the miracle of finding my ring, I sat down to do the checkbook. I had been waiting for weeks for the check to clear for my ring. I noticed that it was still outstanding as I reconciled my bank to the numbers I had. For a moment, I wondered if I should call the jewelry store. It was tempting not to. After all, it was their mistake.

No, no. After feeling so blessed for finding the ring that was lost, I had to do the right thing. So I called them. I notified them that they had never cashed my check. I called again and reminded them, too. They said they would check in to it both times and call me back when they found the information. Months passed and the money never left my bank.

Proverbs 10:22 ~ The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

I couldn't believe it. An expensive ring restored to me after I thought it was lost forever... that ended up being free. And no one can tell me that God doesn't care about the details of my life any more. I know He does.

He freely gave me all He had. His very best. The best Christmas gift of all time. The promise to be the bride of the Son of Man. That will be the wedding feast of a lifetime... and I'm already wearing my golden promise ring.

Revelation 19:7 ~ Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

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Sarah Bray said...

Such a beautiful story! God is so faithful, and it always amazes me how he pines after us. :)

Amy said...

Beautiful, Heather!

The Happy Housewife said...

Love the story! We have so much in common, my husband proposed without a ring too, and I said no the first time! Not sure who bought the wedding bands but didn't have a diamond for a while. Haven't lost it though...

Tracy said...

Amazing story!The same thing (sorta) happened to me, but it was a memory card for a camera, that DIDN't belong to me with important pics on it! We drove back to the church after the storm and there it was! NOT DAMAGED or in a puddle!

KarenW said...

That's a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

I signed up for your blog tonight. I'm really enjoying reading your posts.

dianne - bunny trails said...

What a beautiful story. I love it when we are able to see God's hand in the details of our lives. That's so awesome! :D



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