Hi dear folks,
It has been a silent year from this blog, I know. That’s partly due to busyness and also to health problems and trying to keep priorities in order. But I’m due to share some major blessings/news.
In February a year ago I started to have a sharp pain in my neck and shoulders. Throughout the last year the ache became chronic. Especially in working at a computer, driving or marking/correcting student work. An MRI showed a bone spur in my neck. Physiotherapy helped for a time, but didn’t really find relief and struggled through all last year, and even now have significant pain and discomfort in my back and neck. I did slow down in my endeavours and projects, but the pain didn’t really lessen. I was fatigued and constantly sore. As the year progressed, it would vary, but still struggled with a lot of symptoms, with very little relief. More on the physical struggles in a bit.
Many of you know that a Godly young man from Canberra, Steven Messenger, and I have been courting from May last year. We began by looking to the Lord for guidance and wisdom as to whether we should marry. Throughout the following months we grew closer together in finding out more about each other and seeing the Lord working to bring us together more. Steven was away for 5 weeks in August and September visiting the USA and Canada where he was able to meet my sister and parents. That trip also helped us get to know each other better.
With much prayer and discussion on timing for engagement/wedding we tried to account for my teaching commitment that was to continue to the end of 2014. There is a three hour distance from where he lives to Sydney. We had set a wedding time before he proposed. 🙂 I know it’s a bit funny in timing but it was okay for us.
We picked out a ring and two weeks later Steven asked me to go with him to pick it up. On Saturday, the 9th of November Steven had a scheduled practice flight. He is working towards getting his private pilot’s license. When Steven was finished with his flight he let me know, and I drove out to meet him at the airport. Steven was holding the purple box when he opened my door for me. And we went over to a table under a gum tree.
As we approached the tree, he teasingly asked me if he had to get down on one knee, I said “yes of course”. Then suddenly he was on his knee and saying some very special words. He said ”I love you. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life without you. Will you marry me?” It took my breath away, but I managed to say yes. I also managed not to cry even though I’d sort of been in tears on my way out to meet him. I had been asking the Lord to bless our relationship and that we’d be putting the Lord first, even though we find it easy to focus on each other more sometimes rather than on the Lord. That was the first time he had said “I love you” even though he had showed love to me in so many ways before. Then he put the ring on my finger.
We let our families know first, then our churches and friends. We didn’t put it on facebook for a week or so.
The next few weeks were preliminary planning. We set times for trying to get things decided, and prepared to travel to the US for Christmas. As the school year came to a close, I was getting dizzy and fatigued more with more headaches and pain in my shoulders, neck and back, but hoped that it would go away with a bit of a break. While we were in the States, we did some wedding planning and set a date for January 2015. Steven went back to Australia while I stayed with my parents a bit longer, then travelled to visit my sister in Western Canada.
I got back to Australia in time to finish some details for beginning a new school year and grateful to see Steven again. I was exhausted from the travel and the busyness of everything. My shoulder pain had reached a chronic state, and I was to go to a chiropractor in early February.
I taught six days of school with a fuzzy feeling in my head, constant aching neck and shoulders and fatigue. The chiropractor recommended a change of pace, so did my doctor. I had reached a point where even with limiting much of my activities, I couldn’t keep teaching. I was given the diagnosis of fibromyalgia like symptoms, and was told, “go rest”. I got two weeks sick leave, and I didn’t do a thing for two weeks. Steven’s parents took me into their home and took care of me. We logged diet and activities, and had a rheumatologist appointment. After several weeks of medical appointments and consultations, and five medical practitioners telling me that a change of pace/lifestyle was necessary, we came to a decision that I needed to stop teaching. That was a hard decision since I love my students, and didn’t want to let the school down, feeling like I hadn’t really even done anything for the school year.
February was a very hard month for us. Suddenly what was our plan for the year was changed. I had to admit defeat in regards to “not meeting expectations”. Steven had to point out to me that God’s plan is better than ours. So, we’ve rescheduled the year to the best of our ability. With no longer teaching, my visa was not going to remain active. I had to leave Australia in late April, and will not return until we’re married in August and can go back to Australia and apply for a spouse visa. We’ve got most of the basic/major wedding things planned. We still need to finalize several things though. It’s a nice feeling every time we can check things off our list.
So the long and short of this post is to say thank you for those who have been praying for us, please keep doing so. We appreciate it, and need prayers. There is much to do on top of our normal responsibilities. I’m thankful for many things, and those include my salvation, family, and then Steven’s part in my life this year. We’ve had a very fun and memorable courtship. We have challenges with distance and now time difference. We miss each other while we’re apart for the next three months. We still try to talk in my morning time before he goes to bed, and his morning (my afternoon) and my evening before I go to bed on his lunch break. We’ve also had to learn each others struggles, weaknesses and strengths. The blessing, is we’re already learning how to help each other in meeting needs and complementing the others skills. The Lord provides wonderfully and his timing is perfect.
Please praise God with us, and please know we covet your prayers as we prepare for a wedding, 2 Aug 2014. It will be in North Carolina, so we have much to prepare for, but we do want a simple ceremony and a time to celebrate with friends and family. Then we look to living in the Canberra area in the ACT, Australia, close enough to Steven’s work. We don’t know how the Lord will use us long term, but we want to be used of him.
Thank you and with much love,
Steven and Beth 🙂