This past week is a difficult one to describe, because the last 7 days showcase the amazing, redemptive, sovereign hand of God that carried me through the 26 years leading up to them.
The hand that knew He had so much better for me, and no matter how many times I tried to take it into my own two, saved me from myself.
But that story is for another day. Because I can barely process the events of the past week; I can barely accept that this is truly my life. When I think of what I have been through and the journey that has brought me here, I am overwhelmed with the goodness of God. It’s like I did everything I could to try to have my life go my way, according to my plan and based on what I thought I wanted. Two years ago when I thought my life was over and I would die of heartache, God knew it was only the beginning.
The past 7 days have been a roller coaster of emotion. Change has always been hard for me, even amazing change, so processing being engaged has been an experience in itself.
I have felt pretty much every emotion on the spectrum of human feelings. The main ones are shock and total disbelief. Is this really my life? I have barely been able to believe it, let alone move forward in wedding planning.
I have felt utter joy. I have been scared- let’s face it, change can be scary. I have sobbed in Max’s arms out of pure relief and thankfulness. It was like 26 years of tears that came out in one hour. My body shook as I told him I never thought I would get a happy ending. I have been stressed. I have felt unworthy- I don’t deserve this. I have been giddy. I have been anxious. I have been excited. I have been overwhelmed. It hasn’t always been pretty- but it’s me. I have felt guilty for feeling ANYTHING other than happiness, but I have quickly learned that my story is my story and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s (also because I have asked approx 16 people and they say I’m normal-ish).
With all my shifting feelings, there are two things I am sure about. God’s faithfulness and Max. I guess those are the only two things that matter, right?
I’m feeling more settled now, but I have also learned not to get too dependent on how I am feeling, and instead anchor myself in the things I know to be true.
So with all that said, here are some pictures of the day I got one of those things on my hand that I have been trying to get since I was the legal age of marriage.
We were in Port Huron and to be honest, I had been in a mood all week because I was convinced I would never get engaged as long as I lived. I had actually told Sami the day before that I was never painting my nails again as a sign of my mourning. I had been confident all week he was going to propose the coming weekend, but Max had convinced me he didn’t have the ring, so I was in grieving.
I ate two coney dogs and a side of fries on Saturday so between that and my overall depressed mood, I actually told Max on the day he was going to ask me to marry him, “I thought you were going to propose today but I’m glad you’re not because I don’t feel like myself.” Poor, poor Max. This is such a typical Jenna story.
Like a champ, Max let it roll of his back. I say many things in the course of a day. He has this unique talent to decipher which things I mean and which things I am saying just to get them out into the air to see how they feel.
We had planned to go out to dinner with our friends Taylor and Eric, so they picked us up and drove us toward downtown. Taylor filled the air with forced and awkward words, not finishing any story she started. We passed the restaurant and kept driving and everyone kept filling the air with words and I was confused as to why we didn’t go to the restaurant.
We pulled into this lot down by the water and Eric made a comments about getting out and taking pictures.
This was weird. Eric HATES pictures.
I started to get a feeling something was going on and I grabbed Max’s hand as we stepped out into the cold.
Taylor and Eric didn’t follow us, and to be sure of what was about to happen, I side-hugged Max *aka body slammed* him to see if I could feel a ring box in his pocket.
I’m the worst.
At this point, the memory gets fuzzy.
How does the body and mind react to all your dreams coming true in a moment of 10 seconds? And then remembering you told him not to propose that day.
Well my body couldn’t handle all of the emotions, so I pretty much just shut down. I didn’t black out, per say, but I was so nervous and shocked, I barely remember it.
Max walks me down by the water where there are blankets and candles, as the snow gently falls.
He pulls my hands into his and says something about loving me and church and then gets down on one knee and asked me to marry him, (I’m assuming).
My friend Kendall was hiding in the bushes taking pictures and captured every moment so well they looked posed. They truly look unreal. I think that is an amazing symbol for me and Max. I spent a lot of my life posing and trying so hard, but with him, I don’t have to anymore. It just works.
Then, if I wasn’t overwhelmed enough, we head back up and a caravan of cars arrive all at once. All three of his sisters step out, his parents, my parents all smiling and coming toward us. I was in pure shock. (#missedyouEli)
Then I look to the left and I see my little Floridian sister running to me and I lost it. She had booked a flight to be there. She and Kristen ran up to me and I just couldn’t even.
We went to a restaurant for dinner. I didn’t touch my food. If you know me, you understand the depth of my shock.
Afterwards, there was a big engagement party back at my house.
I kept looking around at signs like “She said yes!” and I kept thinking, “Who did?”
“Who are we congratulating??”
When I say I didn’t believe it, I truly mean it.
I feel so totally loved.
It has been a week and I have settled in. I have had a chance to process the night, process my current stage in life, and begin to accept that this is reality.
I truly never thought it would happen for me. That there would be a person who so fully understands me and loves me and cherishes me in his words and his actions. A man who is patient, steady and waits on the Lord for His timing. A man I can follow the rest of my life and know with total confidence I am following the Lord in doing so.
I would do it all over again if it meant having this great love find me.
Every lesson, every tear, ever heartbreak. In the end, they brought me here. God is so good.
Thank you to everyone for their amazing support! We are so overwhelmed and excited for the future.
Future Jenna Maxwell
Photo Credit: Kendall Sattleburg