A New Friend
In 2003, God began taking me through a journey in life like none other. This journey would be prove to be the most exciting, happiest, and also one of the toughest journeys of my life.
On April 27, 2003, I joined an internet forum called, “The Crossings.” The members of the site were mainly between the ages of 14-25. The discussions on the forum covered a wide range of topics. I quickly became involved in this online community. My favorite discussions were politics and theology. I thoroughly enjoyed debating people.
Then, on June 13, 2003 a young man named Jason J. Fedelem joined the Crossings. I didn’t take much notice of him right then. But three days later I did. =)
An elderly gentleman that was an acquaintance of ours was looking for someone to maintain a website for a non-profit organization. On June 16, I posted a thread on the Crossings asking for advice from some of the geeks there. One of the first people to reply to me was Jason. He was very friendly and encouraging. He generously told me that I was free to e-mail him or IM him for suggestions and advice regarding my computer question. At first, I did not want to bother him, but after he sent me several PM’s about my question and repeatedly told me that I could IM him, I took him up on the offer.
Getting to Know Him
At first, we just discussed the computer issues. But as he began posting more on the Crossings and we found out that we had so much in common we began talking about everything and anything. We were both interested and active in politics and we held to the same theological doctrines.
We began to talk more and more often. We never seemed to run out of things to say to each other. We had some wonderful deep conversations. We never could seem to find anything significant that we disagreed about. The only thing we could find that we disagreed about was Dr. Pepper. He liked it, and I didn’t.
My respect and admiration of Jason had always been high and it continued to grow as we got to know each other better. The main things that impressed me were his single-minded focus on the Lord and doing His will, his boldness and courage in speaking the truth even when everyone else disagrees (the name he uses online is “MrValiant4Truth” which describes him well), and his humbleness and willingness to be corrected when others point out his errors.
God, You Can’t be Serious!
Just a few months after Jason and I began talking, the Lord began to impress on my that it was His will for me to marry Jason. I was shocked, to say the least. I doubted God and questioned Him. I would argue with God and say, “God, I haven’t even met him!” “God I don’t even have emotions for him!” “God this is impossible! He lives in California and there is no way for me to meet him, how can I marry him if I haven’t even met him?” On and on, I would question and argue with God. I even became a bit angry with God as He continued to impress this upon me.
On October 31, 2003, God was really driving His point in. Finally, I said, “Okay God, if this is really your will then give me a sign that it is your will.” The verse that I was meditating on that night was Ps 143:8 “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.” So I said, “Okay God if this is really from you, you can give me a sign in the morning.” (I felt rather triumphant thinking that I could get away from God because I didn’t believe that He would give me a sign.) The next morning, I was shocked to find out that Jason was moving to Texas. Not only was he moving to Texas but he was moving to an apartment about 4 miles away from me! God seemed to say to me, “Is that a good enough sign for you?”
I had invited Jason to our church since we held the same main doctrines and it sounded like the church he was attending in CA was similar to our church. On Sunday January 18, 2004, I met Jason in person for the first time. It was a rather awkward meeting because I felt like I knew him really well but at the same time I had never met him. However, after that first meeting there was no more awkwardness.
January 2004-February 2005
I felt completely comfortable around Jason. My friendship with him grew and so did my feelings for him. He was the first friend that I had that really encouraged me and helped me grow spiritually. He was sensitive to my feelings and gentle with me but at the same time, he was a man. I always felt like I could be completely open with except for one subject…my feelings for him. I knew that it was by no means the right time to tell him how I felt about him. What was difficult was not knowing if he had even the slightest interest in me. At times, I thought he was interested in me but then I reasoned that my mind was just making it up because I wanted him to be interested in me.
Since Jason was in law school and wouldn’t be finished till 2006, I thought that I wouldn’t know his intentions (or lack of intentions) until 2006. The thought nearly killed me. But, God was gracious to me, and He allowed me to draw closer to Him during that time.
I made up a little song in my head and would often sing it to myself, “So many questions and so few answers, so many things that I want to know. So many feelings that can’t be explained, I put my trust in You. You alone know the future; You alone have the answers. I put my trust in You.”
As time went on, people began seeing my attraction to Jason. Within one weeks time I had 3 people ask me if I was courting/dating Jason. People continued to ask me. It was irritating to have them ask me, because I myself had no idea what his plans were.
I knew that there was the possibility that I was wrong and that God wasn’t actually the one tell me all this. I loved Jason so much that I wanted what was best for him, whether that was me or someone else. I prayed for him daily. Often I would lay in bed crying at night out of frustration and uncertainty.
It was so hard not knowing how he felt. I would get impatient and question God, asking if I was really going to marry Jason because I didn’t see God doing anything. God would always tell me, “Look didn’t I tell you that he is the one for you? Just trust Me. I will work things out.” It wasn’t easy just leaving things in God’s hands but that was what had to be done. I knew that it must come from God. God would have to tell Jason that I was the one for him and Jason would have to initiate.
My mother would occasionally ask me if I still felt the same way about Jason. My feelings about Jason and God’s impressing upon me that he was the one constantly increased. One time when my father was in Iraq my mother asked me, “What would you do if Jason asked to court you and Daddy said no?” I couldn’t even bear to think about that situation happening. I said, “I guess I would never get married.”
In April 2004, we were able to meet Jason’s parents when they came to Texas for Joshua’s graduation (Joshua is Jason’s brother). I was a bit apprehensive about meeting them, but once I met them, I loved them.
The rest of the year my feelings continued to grow and deepen. I always looked forward to seeing Jason, and during the week sometimes I would come up with excuses to e-mail him. We both worked in the sound booth at church and somehow we often managed to manipulate the schedule so that we would get to be in the sound booth together. (No, of course we never admitted it to each other!)
I think deep down in our hearts we both knew that we had feelings for each other but our minds kept us from believing that the other was interested in us. The only ones we were fooling were ourselves. 🙂
February 14, 2005
February 14, was a beautiful sunny day. I tried to forget that it was Valentine’s Day, but I couldn’t. I kept thinking of how I wished I could send Jason a Valentine’s Day e-card or something but knew that was impossible. That evening we ate supper and then began doing devotions. During devotions the phone rang and my mom went to answer it. She called me. I went to the phone and asked her who it was but she wouldn’t tell me. I picked up the phone and said, “Hello?” If I remember correctly the voice at the other end said, “Hello Rosetta this is Jason…” At first I thought that he was calling to talk about some business cards or database that we’d been working on. He continued, “I had a talk with my parents and your parents…” His voice was so serious that I got worried. I thought something was wrong. I wondered “What now!” I thought maybe they didn’t want us e-mailing each other anymore or something. I braced myself for the worst. He finished his sentence, “…and they gave me permission to court you. I was calling to see if you would be agreeable to that.” I was completely shocked! I was so shocked that I couldn’t talk. I managed to say, “YES!” After a few more seconds of silence I said, “I don’t know what to say!” I was still speechless and had lost the use of my tongue.
A few minutes later, Jason drove up. (When he called I didn’t realize that he was just down the driveway; I thought he was in Austin.) He came inside and I was still in shock. I’m not sure if I even looked at him. Daddy was finishing up devotions but I wasn’t even trying to listen to what he was saying. A flood of emotions swept over me. After devotions, we all prayed. I cried. It was probably the first time in my life that I cried tears of joy. Jason gave me the most beautiful and special jewelry that I’ve ever had—silver horse heart earrings, with a matching broach/necklace, along with a silver collar and silver chain.
We called up Jason’s parents to tell them. Neither of us could say much we were still shocked. Then Jason and I went to the table to talk. We didn’t talk too much but just being together and knowing each other’s feelings was wonderful. That Valentine’s Day will live in my memory forever.
During this time we continued to learn more about each other and become closer. We planned on getting married and even knew the approximate time but we were not officially engaged. People thought it was strange that we were planning on getting married but were not engaged. We viewed engagement as a formality that we would eventually cross.
I had several ideas as to when Jason might propose. Since we had talked about a short engagement, I didn’t think he would propose until sometime in 2006. The two dates that were the most likely were on Valentine’s Day or my birthday. Honestly, I hoped that he wouldn’t do it on either of those days because it wouldn’t have been much of a surprise.
For Christmas we went to my grandmother’s house in Eagle Pass. Jason went with us and was able to meet lots of the extended family. He fit in well and they all liked him.
On Christmas Eve, Jason and I went on a walk. We walked to the gazebo in the park where my parents got married. They had lights set up for Christmas but since it was daytime the lights were not turned on. Jason mentioned that he wanted to take some pictures of lights before we left Eagle Pass.
Christmas day was beautiful. In the evening, after it was starting to get dark Jason said, “Let’s go on a walk. I want to take some pictures of lights.”
We set out on our walk. Jason was walking at a very fast clip. That was unusual to me because usually when we are out on walks he wants to walk slowly to make them last longer. As I was walking briskly trying to keep up with him he asked, “Why are you walking so fast?” I replied, “To keep up with you!”
Several blocks later we arrived at the park. It was lit up beautifully! Jason wasn’t too interested in looking at the lights or taking pictures. Instead he lead me up to the gazebo. We sat down and he started telling me how much I meant to him. There were lots of people around which was distracting. Jason saw this and got up. We walked over to a bench beside a cactus light display.
There he sat me down on the bench. He got down on one knee and proposed. After I said, “Yes!” he put a beautiful ring on my finger and prayed a very sweet prayer asking God to bless us throughout our life together. Then we had some passersby take a picture of us. Later we went back to the park and had Marcelino take some pictures of us. It was so very special having him propose where my parents got married, that meant a lot to me, my parents, and the whole family.
It awes and amazes me how God has worked out all the details in bringing us together. I am richly blessed to have such a wonderful man! We are eagerly looking forward to our wedding and to serving God as a team.
I was taking a break from studying one day, and looking at the instant messenger profiles of some friends. One had a link to her website on it, and that website had a link to a message board for people who had been connected with ATI in some way or another. I joined immediately and started posting.
Several days later another member made a post asking for help with a website she and her brother had been asked to develop. She didn’t know anything about web design, and I didn’t know much either, but I instant messaged with her and gave her some general pointers (most of which I have changed my mind on since then as I’ve learned more).
We started instant messaging on and off about the website. I saw her as nothing more than a friend at this point, and wasn’t really looking for anyone special in my life. However, as time went on, some very controversial threads came up on crossings and I came to the realization that she was something very special. Not only did we agree on issues, but the methods by which we arrived at conclusions were very similar. I grew a lot spiritually thru this time, and ended up changing a lot of my opinions because they wouldn’t stand up to the grail of logic.
Rosetta and I were always on the same side of the debate, and many times it was uncanny how we would say the exact same thing.
Around the end of October 2003 it occurred to me that I might want to pursue a further relationship with her, but I wasn’t sure. I also had two other people on the possibility list and no real attachment to any of them as of yet. The other two quickly dropped off the list as I got to know them better.
About this time I started looking for a legal internship. None of the local law offices had room for an intern, so I started emailing friends who might know of openings. I emailed a few friends at HSLDA, a few friends from my law school, and whomever else I could think of. I received only one response. Kevin Faulk emailed me back within 10 minutes and said that the Law Offices of Bill Malone in Austin needed someone. I had a phone interview with Mr. Malone and was hired.
All this time I only knew that Rosetta lived somewhere in Texas. I had sent her some CD’s for her dad who was in Iraq several months before, but I had thrown away the address and didn’t remember the town she lived in. The next time we instant messaged, I told her that I had taken a job and would be moving soon. She asked where, and I told her I’d be working in Austin, TX but I’d be moving in temporarily with Bryan P., whom she knew. I couldn’t remember the name of the town, but she did because it was Belton and she lived only about 7 miles from where I would be living.
She suggested that I go to her church since it sounded a lot like the one I attended in California. Bryan P. also suggested that I attend there (remind me to ask him why 😛 ). It only took about two weeks before I realized that she was the one for me. However, I didn’t have any feelings for her at this point. I just noticed that we would fit well together.
I moved to Austin and for the next year I would survive thru the week and get down to Killeen on the weekends. As the year progressed I started have feelings for her and by September I was head over heels. Sometimes I would drive down Saturday morning just to be closer to her, even though I didn’t see her until Saturday night Bible study.
I knew that her family believed in courtship, and I wanted to try to establish good relationships with everyone involved. Her father had came back from Iraq in February, but I didn’t have everything in order to approach him until about two days before he left for his second deployment in Iraq in July. I decided that it wouldnt be appropriate to approach him at this time. He was home for two weeks in September (I think) and I tried to approach him, but it wasnt the right time. He finally got home at the end of December, but due to school, I wasnt able to broach the subject until late January.
The day I broached the subject Rosetta’s dog killed the neighbors chickens and a family friend died. Mrs. Klassy called me to let me know that it was going to be a while. I was under the impression that they wanted Rosetta to get rid of the dog before they would let me pursue her. Needless to say I was very unhappy and discouraged, but a few weeks later they asked to meet with me, and subsequently gave me their blessing to pursue her.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sometimes I would think that she liked me, other times not. The signals seemed to be mixed. But on Valentine’s day I drove over to her street and called her and told her that both parents had given their blessing for me to pursue her and would she be interested? She was speechless, but finally managed to tell me that she would like that. I drove up to their house and gave her an earring/necklace set I had gotten for her.
The next few months were growing times. It felt as if we were starting over with our friendship, and it seemed as if we had to get comfortable with each other again. We started going thru John Piper’s book “Desiring God” on Sundays.
Nothing really remarkable happened during this time. I went with their family to Eagle Pass for Easter, which is where Mrs. Klassy’s mother lives. I met some of their relatives. Then in May we went to Marcelino’s graduation from IMI and Joshua’s graduation from ALERT. In September we bought a house and started fixing it up for our future home.
About this time I started thinking about when I wanted to ask her to marry me. At this point it was a formality because she had made it crystal clear that she wanted to marry me. I knew that she wasn’t expecting it until next year, and figured that she would probably not be surprised if I did it on her birthday or Valentine’s Day. I also knew that if I waited until after those days she’d be expecting it. So I decided on Christmas to surprise her.
Christmas Day, 2005
We were all going to Eagle Pass for Christmas. Almost all of Rosetta’s relatives would be there (over 20). Mr. and Mrs. Klassy were married at a gazebo in Eagle Pass so I decided to propose to her at that gazebo on Christmas day.
That evening as the sun was setting I suggested that we go for a walk, and made the excuse of wanting to take pictures of Christmas lights at the gazebo. When we got there I took her up to the top of the gazebo and we sat down. However, there were too many people around so I took her down to a park bench that was below, sat her down, got down on one knee and proposed to her. I don’t even remember what I said because it wasn’t planned, but she said yes. We prayed together and then had someone who was walking by take our picture (the one at the top of the site). We went back to her grandmother’s house and announced it to all the relatives who were there (more than I can count). We called my parents, grandparents and the Ericksons. After that, Marcelino and the cousins and Rosetta and I went back to the park and took pictures of me on one knee with Rosetta sitting on the bench (under “pictures”).
I would like to thank the people who have made me who I am. Mom and Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Klassy, John Erickson, Doug Gamble and Edward Fasolino for their positive influence on my life.
“The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Word made flesh. I like to think that, in a small way, each of us is also the Word made flesh; that each of us has a story in which the kindness of God is made visible to the world. Think how clear His kindness is in your salvation story. And when you listen to the salvation stories of others, don’t you see how unique is the way He captures each of our hearts?”
(Elisabeth in “His Love Stories” at Boundless.org)