Our best friend Mandy and new best friend Randy are officially engaged. Here’s the reader’s digest version.
Mandy and her son Brandon were scheduled to spend the weekend in Baton Rouge, visiting with Randy and his family. They were going to go out on Saturday night then she would go to his home church on Sunday morning where he was supposed to be sharing his testimony that day. The whole testimony deal was prearranged on the one hand with his pastor and the other with some of Mandy’s closest friends and her mom. So, while Mandy was getting ready for service that morning, little did she know that Tina Gaspard, Amy Stovall, Mona Talbot (Mandy’s mom), my wife, Paula, and I were all meeting at a McDonald’s to head over and sneak into the meeting to do our best paparazzi impression.
We drove to the church, got out of the van, stood somewhat nervously against the building, hoping that Mandy wouldn’t for some reason have to take a walk back to the car or something. At one point, we sheepishly walked in and heard footsteps coming from the bathroom. All of us scurried out, slightly embarrassed as a well-dressed, middle-aged woman came out and gave us a quizzical look followed by a partial smile.
So, we finally made it inside and waited in the foyer. Randy went forward. He began his testimony. He was getting choked up a bit as he talked about “God moments” – dates where he encountered the grace of God which marked new chapters in his life. He talked about his conversion, being set free from drugs, becoming part of the church, knowing and being mentored by his pastor, Jim and wife, Joanne. Then our cue arrived. He said, “fast forward to August 18th, 2007”. In the foyer, we hit the power switches on our cameras and prepared for entrance. He started talking about Mandy and how God brought her to him. Even though we could only see the back of her head, we could tell she was tracking his words closely – to put it mildly! Then he said, this morning was going to be a “God moment”, since he wanted to ask her for her hand in marriage “right here in front of all of you.” Her neck extended forward. If you know Mandy, that means I had to pan right. Then Randy invited us to come in and join them. When Mandy turned around she saw us in single file walking toward the front, shamelessly snapping pictures the whole time. We took our seats on the front row, wiping tears with one hand and flashing pics with the other. That’s when Randy went down on his knee, having gotten the ring from Mandy’s 7 yr old son, Brandon, and asked her to marry him.
She said yes. We all clapped. We all hugged. And Pastor Jim preached a wonderful sermon on spiritual revival and how God shapes us through trials. After that we went out to eat (Mrs. Mona’s treat!) and had some laughs.
What a joy to see the providential workings of God. Paula and I were doing anything and everything we could to find Mandy a husband – including enrolling her in the New Attitude choir when she can barely even sing. Mostly kidding there. But, seriously, God had written a story we never would’ve imagined. And on October 24th, the foreword ends and the story begins. To our best friend and co-blogger: Mandy, we can’t wait to see how this unfolds to God’s glory!