So many times you only see the "after" posts. It is pretty rare that you see what goes on behind the scenes or what it takes for someone to reach their "after". I am so overjoyed to say that my "after" means that Hunter and I are ENGAGED! This is such an exciting and memorable time, but I want to share with you our "before" that eventually brought us to this incredible "after". I think it is so important to share the crazy ways that the Lord works in life- and this situation is no different.
Hunter and I have known each other since I was a freshman and he was a sophomore at Mississippi State University. We were members of the Roadrunner student recruiting group together and had a lot of mutual friends. We would see each other in passing on campus or at meetings but never had a strong friendship because we didn't really have anything noteworthy to talk about or bond over. Just the usual "hey how are you?" between classes or at functions, and that was it. Until junior year happened.
Hunter's dad, Ken, had been in remission from cancer until it came back with a vengeance, as it does all too often for many people. In January of Hunter's senior year, Ken lost his battle to cancer. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I've heard he and Hunter share a lot of similarities, so he must have been pretty amazing.
During that same time, my mom, Cindy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is in remission and really healthy now (thank you all so much for the continuous prayers!), but at the time, this cancer rocked my world. If you have ever had a sick family member, you know how this feels. It can be really hard to talk to anyone about the struggle, because you don't want to sound like you are whining, complaining or being dramatic. You don't want to burden anyone with your problems. If you've been there- you also know how important it is to be able to confide in someone and get all of the anxiety off your chest. It keeps you sane, and I was going crazy.
Enter Hunter Reed.
It was a few months after my mom was diagnosed when we found out that she would need surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Boom. Triple whammy. A friend of mine sent an update on my mom's condition to the Roadrunner group message, so Hunter knew what our family was in for, having been there himself not once, but twice.
Hunter took the time to reach out to me, check on me and give me advice on how to handle a sick parent. He told me things to expect, ways to cope and led me to scripture that really helped put everything into perspective. We would talk about Mr. Ken, how Hunter was handling this super tough time and ways that I could help him grieve. What a strange and morbid way to start a relationship, right? Yeah, we know. It wasn't ideal for anyone but it was, without a doubt, God's divine plan. If our parents hadn't been sick, we might not have ever had a reason to talk to each other. We both wish that we could take away the sickness and pain our families have endured, but since only heaven can do that, God gave us a really awesome earthly substitute- each other.
Before Hunter got down on one knee, he held my hand and read to me from Mr. Ken's bible.
I think that this verse is just right. Even though we do not always agree with our present circumstances, if we remember that the Creator of the world finds JOY in giving us the kingdom- we can rest and know that this earthly struggle is all part of God's will, which is always perfect and pleasing.
So for the happy stuff, Hunter completely surprised me with THE most romantic and perfect proposal of all time. He had the dock at Browning Creek in my parents' neighborhood decorated with lights, roses, photos, candles, chandeliers and ferns. It honestly looked like something out of a fairy tale. I was super impressed! My family had me thinking that we were all going to dinner at Old Waverly but that my mom's car wouldn't start so we had to go out to my parents' house to pick her up. They tricked me into going to Browning Creek, where I found Hunter standing at the end of the dock, looking like a full on smoke show.
I was too excited to cry, all I could do was smile ear-to-ear like an idiot. I will never forget the sweet words that Hunter spoke or the way that he looked at me when he got down on one knee. It was the best moment of my life and it only got better because our families were there! (Minus Ethan and Ashley- stupid plane delays. They had to tune in via FaceTime!)
(Side note: LOOK AT MY CUTE FUTURE NIECE!!! When we got in the car she said Nunner (she can't say Hunter) when I grow up like you and Padden (she can't say Payton) I want to get married to my Daddy and be with him forever. HOW ADORABLE!?!?!?!?!)
I thought that the night could not possibly get any better. I was beaming. Hunter said we should go back to my parents' house so that I could call my friends and family and tell them the big news. We headed towards my house and when we hit the driveway, there was a diamond engagement ring balloon on the mailbox and tons of cars in the driveway. I said "You didn't" and he said, "I did."
All of my best friends from high school and college flooded the porch and congratulated us with champagne, balloons, cake and lots of hugs. It was so special to be able to share the best night of my life with the people that I love more than anything. I don't think I have ever felt as content as I did in that moment, surrounded by my biggest blessings.
We have mourned, laughed, healed, and danced together. On July 14, 2018- it's time to build together. We are so excited to start our life as husband and wife and build our marriage around the Lord.
While I can't promise that your trials and tribulations will result in the worlds cutest and most perfect fiancé (cause he is already taken), I can promise that no matter what you are facing, God is working in the background for you. He intercedes on our behalf and gives us exactly what we need before we even know we need it. So chin up, there may be an enormous, gloomy gray cloud over your life right now, but with a little patience and a lot of faith, God will reveal your silver lining.
Thank you all for your congratulatory texts, calls, comments and posts. We are truly blessed. We can't wait to be the Reeds!