I was never the girl that had her whole wedding planned out at the age of 16. I knew what age I wanted it all done by (23, only 10 years later than my original plan), but the details hadn’t embedded in my heart just yet. But I was the girl who silently trusted and waited on God’s perfect timing, and perfect choice for me. As all my friends got married and started having babies, I was off travelling and trying to enjoy being a career woman. I waited, then pleaded, and even sometimes denied the desire for a husband thinking that that would somehow bring it to pass more swiftly. All the while, I knew deep down that God’s gifts come at the right time. And this past weekend a dream came true – Troy and I got engaged!!
I am going to do two separate posts – one that shares the story of how we met and fell in love, and the other of how he proposed (it’s worth coming back for!). So for this post, take a journey with us on how we met, nine months ago, and how our story has begun…
Last summer was busy. I had a full plate of things to do like getting a new puppy, reno’ing my older townhome, serving at my church and dreaming of the next trip I would take. I had dated a lot over the past couple of years and to be honest, was tired of putting myself out there. (Apparently my nephew said to my brother-in-law the night we got engaged “It’s about time, she’s had too many boyfriends!”)
I’ll take the summer off, settle into my home, and then maybe in the fall I’ll go online again.
But, my sister and her husband would not have it. He said, “Lani, your dog is going to die, your house will sell, but you need a husband!” Fortunately for all of us, I took their push, and on August long weekend 2013 I found myself at home alone on a Saturday night with Indiana Jones on the TV and a dog for a companion. THREE, I said, THREE, ads for online dating sites played within a period of an hour (apparently single white female was the demographic for paid advertising for Indiana Jones that night!)
Hmphf. Maybe I should just go back on again. There’s no harm right?
I took the advice of the best-marketed ad, Match.com, and signed up.
(our first selfie together, last summer by the lake as we finished our ice cream and the sunset, Troy said “We need to take a picture!”)
Meanwhile, on the other side of hello, was Troyden Lupul. A guy who had recently been through extreme heartbreak, but God had carried him through and made him stronger for it. A man who knew that God wired him to have a wife and was determined not to give up; a man who was already tired of ‘trying online dating’ and was ready to close his account the next day.
Two hours after filling out my profile and carefully choosing my photos, my inbox was filling up with ‘hi’ and lacklustre responses.
Really? That’s it?!
I was already disappointed. I went to bed, and then came Sunday, August 4.
That Sunday evening I got a note from Troyden. It was kind, brief, and really just said he loved my profile and what I had to say. (He has since told me he read my profile before he saw my pictures and then was won when he saw my photos ;) ) I was sent to him as a match on the day he was going to close his profile! And, on his birthday ;) He had facial hair (usually not my thing, and now I absolutely love it!), strong arms (mmmmm) and seemed adventurous. The three things that stood out for me in his profile were that he clearly loved the Lord, had travelled, and said ‘chivalry isn’t dead’. Ding, ding, ding! We may have a winner!
Unfortunately, the site has deleted our emails since we logged off so I honestly don’t remember all of what we shared! But 10 days after our first hello, and countless texts and emails (we hadn’t talked yet!) Troy came to town to visit J He fortunately was just finishing a job (hardwood flooring) so he had five days in a row off. We were both hopeful. Scared that the other might have some freaky voice. And filled with great anticipation.
Wednesday morning came and I had the morning off. We had planned to meet at 9:30am at City Hall Park; somewhere public should either of us end up being crazy, bald, or both.
I was early. I wore white skinnies and a green tank top. Accessorized with curly hair and a lace vest.
A good first impression I hope!
As I stood in the middle of the park I kept turning a 360; my heart racing and my bladder’s need to unload ever increasing. As the nerves grew I finally saw this guy with a sweet smile walking my way. He had a t-shirt, vest, good shoes and a MAN PURSE!!! WHOA! I was impressed. Ding! Points earned ;) His hair was neatly in place (immediate points for having hair!). I knew Troy worked in trades, but was also a musician, so I really had no idea what his style would be! But he made a very good first impression. We hugged, heard each other’s voice and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, in true Ledingham fashion, I stuck my foot in my mouth.
“I have to pee!”
And we walked. To a coffee shop named Dose a few blocks away. Troy paid, as a gentleman does, and we sat out in the morning sun sipping lattes. After about 20 minutes or so in, Troy handed me a note, one I still have in my Bible. It said:
Lani, to say I have enjoyed getting to know you is an understatement. I am so thankful I get to meet you today. No matter what, you have been a huge blessing and encouragement. Thank you for being you. Troyden.
And on the back of the note was a beautifully hand-drawn rose.
Ding! He was earning more points.
We walked back to the park, and sat under a tree with a blanket I had in my car. And those three hours disappeared. While we sat in the shade and told stories of travel and family and what we want out of life (because when you’re 32, you just don’t waste time!), Troy asked, “Are you feeling comfortable? I sure am.”
I stopped, and smiled, “Yes, yes I am.”
Ding! He cares about how I feel in the moment!
Since the morning went so well, Troy asked if he could barbeque me supper that night at his family’s RV at the lake. Of course, I said yes and asked if I could bring my puppy. To say I was distracted at work that afternoon was an understatement!
And that night – well. WE began. A perfectly seared steak. Walking the dog for ice cream. Troy grabbing my hand and me feeling tingles and ever amazed at how natural it felt. A bonfire, and even our first kiss. Now let me tell you – I NEVER DO THAT! But, with Troy, there was ease and chemistry and I just decided to go with it! I think that first day we spent about 11 hours together. And the next four days, whenever we could, we were together. And every weekend ever since (he lives almost two hours away).
That is how we began… online, by the lake, with some good coffee and ice cream. God is so so good.
Troy makes me laugh when I’m feeling crusty. He has a third personality, ‘er, accent, we call “Hank” that he brings out when I’m down. Troy is the most generous, strongest, godliest, best friend I could ever ask for and it makes me tear up to think about how much I love him and he means to me. The little things like a man in a tool belt and that can play guitar – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will watch movies with me on a Friday night, or plan trips with me – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will call me on my crap without making me feel like less of a person, or share honestly from his heart – God brought me that. Little things like a man who will dream up inventions and pray with me every night – God brought me that. Troy is a man that challenges me, loves me as I am, has embraced my friends and family, and will even go shopping with me ;) He just, well, feels like home.
God is faithful. And I hate to say it – but I wasn’t looking. But my Heavenly Father was, all along. And His timing is perfect!
Tomorrow….find out how Troy proposed this past weekend!