the story of Theresa & Trent
He was a legend in our minds. All we knew about him was that he was a friend of Uncle Mike and Aunt Lynda’s, he was in his 20’s, he was coming to the area for farrier school, he’d be staying in a tent trailer at our neighbors’, and his name was Trent.
Teasing abounded. We were sure he was the one for my older sister, Karen. I remember walking in the poplar patch at my friend Rebekah’s house, telling her and my other friend Jessica about the mysterious Trent. They teased me about him, but I was indignant. What would I want to do with an old guy like that? No, it was surely wedding bells for Karen.
Finally the day arrived: March 12, 2008. He came. We sat around the kitchen table at our house, talking to him and his parents. Trent didn’t talk much. I was disappointed. Here we were hyped up for this wonder-man, and in reality, he was painfully quiet and amazingly skinny. Later, in a private moment, my sister Laura asked me what I thought. I scrunched up my nose and shook my head, “Naahh.”
A few days later, he came over for dinner. Mom and Dad were celebrating their anniversary at a restaurant and Laura was gone, so it was just Trent, Karen, and me. We made pizza and lingered over dinner, talking. Once we got to know him, we found he could really talk. I began to find him quite interesting, actually. He had such a varied knowledge on so many random subjects and he had a very attractive personality. He felt just like the brother we girls never had.
Time went by. Throughout the ten weeks Trent was at farrier school, he and I took daily walks. We would talk about everything. It didn’t take long for me to fall head-over-heels in love with this interesting, knowledgeable, gentle guy. Graduation day was a day of feeling proud of him, but also wishing that somehow we could defer the inevitable–Trent going home. As he drove down the road, I still can see him looking back and waving… and feeling waves of grief in my own heart. That was that. He was gone. We’d never see him again.
To my surprise and excitement, Trent emailed all of us a few weeks later letting us know about his new truck for his business. From then on, Mom would occasionally exchange emails with him as he kept us up-to-date with the growth of his business. Maybe Trent wasn’t gone forever!
That summer, Trent and I ended up becoming pen-pals over email. I didn’t expect it to last long, but he always emailed back! It just went on and on and the emails got longer and longer. (Trent’s sister Kristi was in Argentina during Trent’s schooling, and she recently admitted to me feeling quite jealous coming home from Argentina and seeing Trent writing such long emails to this girl she didn’t even know, when all she could get out of him while she was away was a few lines! She said she started to think this must be a pretty special girl to Trent!) We emailed for a year. It was such a thrill getting emails from him and hearing of how his farrier business was doing… and how he was doing.
As time went on, I fell more and more in love with Trent. I started to think about marriage as I began to see in Trent the man I wanted to marry. My only worry was that I wasn’t really sure how much he liked me…was it just friends or was it more? He didn’t seem like a guy that would have a pointless friendship with a girl. Even though Trent was very faithful in emailing back, sometimes I wondered if he really wanted to keep emailing, or if he just felt pigeon-holed by some teenage girl. Through all these struggles, the Lord guided me through a beautiful year-long journey of learning to love Him the most, more than any guy here in the world. It was a rocky road of coming to the point of truly giving all the love in my heart to Him, and then trusting He would take care of finding a husband for me in the right time. Yes, even if that man wasn’t Trent.
Monday, March 9th, 2009: It’s agonizing that Trent keeps his hand near his heart. He’s not giving anything away. Perhaps it’s because he’s waiting on You.
Finally, in May 2009, I graduated from High School. We planned an open house for a Sunday afternoon and invited several friends and family. Trent’s family was in the list of the invitees, and I really hoped they’d be able to come. It had been more than a year since I’d seen him, and I’d forgotten what that handsome, good-natured face looked like. I could only faintly remember his mannerisms and his laugh. I was so excited when Trent emailed me the news: he was COMING!
Sunday, May 17th, 2009. Graduation Day: I awoke realizing, “Today’s the day!” I fidgeted through Sunday School, nervous. Came downstairs… Mom caught my eye and with a special grin (RED FLAG) says, “Go into the sanctuary. Dad wants to talk to you.” Confusion. I walk into the sanctuary and whose eyes seem to burn right through me? Trent. He came early for church with Anna (his sister). That moment was the most special moment because it wasn’t canned. My reaction was honest and genuine surprise.. and joy not to be hidden! It was the most special moment. …Trent–wow. He’s grown up a LOT. He’s kind of come into his own with his truck and business (so cute to see him in love with his truck). What did I come to appreciate about him today? His reliance on You. His giving You glory. The carefulness to show anything. Lord, I do trust You. I don’t know what’s in the future. I can’t control it. But I have a desire to glorify and love You through my implicit trust. And watch with joy, no matter what comes, as my future unfolds.
That summer afforded more opportunities to see Trent. I made several visits up to visit my aunt and uncle with my friend Brittany as we prepared for our epic trip with them to Victoria, BC. I have to admit, seeing Trent trumped it all. It was a beautiful, simple, rich time in my life. As the summer wore on, I fell more and more in love with him, but this time, it was a refined love. God had taken over first place in my heart and had pounded a heart of trust into me. It was a beautiful summer of waiting and trusting.
Thursday, June 11th, 2009: How do I describe this? It’s a radiating hope and belief that every day blooms more and more to the blossom of joy, beyond doubt. That is what is in my heart.
One day in July, I found myself crying out to God, “Lord, how can I even see who he is if I see him so little? Please, Lord, give me more opportunities to see him.” Later that day, Mom announced that over Labor Day, we would all take a trip to see Uncle Mike and Aunt Lynda. I was ecstatic.
That August, I found myself in Alaska with my Mom and Dad, visiting Karen, who was working at a lodge there that summer. With the beautiful backdrop of the Alaskan mountains and lakes, the Lord did His finishing touches on my heart.
Saturday, August 1st, 2009, in Alaska: Right now, I am content. Married would be cool, unmarried would be cool too. “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
But, despite my trust, it was frustrating to keep waiting and not know what would happen with this friendship.
Wednesday, August 19th, 2009: My heart cries out, Lord how long?
Labor day drew near. I had a weird feeling in my heart. Like I was ready. Like it was time for something.
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009: Is this love awakening?
I saw him on September 5th. We spent the day at his family’s house. The parents all visited while us “kids” went hiking on the logging roads by their house. Just before dinner, I was sitting on the front porch steps with all the kids, petting baby bunnies. Trent’s dad was BBQing hamburgers and we were all in a party mood. I saw Trent and Dad go for a walk. My suspicion was aroused. What was going on here?
Saturday, September 5th, 2009: Trent, oh as far as he goes, my heart’s beyond being closely watched. How do you when you KNOW… he likes you? This is a man that I can trust and honor. He not flashy and pawed over and that is precisely why I like him. Trusting Your timing! (But not wanting to!) And wondering; how can You have changed my dreams so much? So different, so better.
Sunday dawned. We went to church. Trent was there. Everything felt inexplicably weird. And I, for one, felt like I was going to blow up! After church, Trent asked Dad if he wanted someone to ride home with him. Then it leaked out that he was coming to lunch at Uncle Mike and Aunt Lynda’s. I knew what was about to happen. Everything was a blur from then on. Dad asked me if I would like to ride with Trent. In a quavering voice I said yes. As we drove over the beautiful landscape, we had forced conversation. Then silence. Then, in a voice I’d never heard from him before, Trent said in deliberation and nervousness, “Well, I don’t really know how to tell you this, but your dad and I have been talking.” I smiled. He didn’t really need to say anything else. He continued, “I want to ask your permission to start a courtship relationship.” Of course, I said… yes.
Sunday, September 6th, 2009: “This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23 Today You answered every prayer. Today You brought two hearts together. Today, Trent asked me to court him…. oh Lord, Thank You!
Trent’s journey of falling in love had been different than mine. He had seen me only as a very good and special friend for that whole year of emailing. The Lord used that year as he started his business to teach him to be more outgoing, to take more initiative, and to be more self-motivated. The Lord also taught him to trust Him more in the area of marriage. Trent had to come to the same point as I did of saying to God, “I give You my love life. I give You my desire to be married. You bring the right wife at the right time.”
The Lord brought that wife through an email my dad sent him the summer of 2009. My Dad had seen me struggle with this undefined “friendship” and decided to ask Trent what his intentions were. He requested that either the emailing stop or else he start a relationship with me. Faced with that choice, Trent realized that somewhere in the past year, he had fallen in love with me and hadn’t realized it. When asked by Uncle Mike what his feelings were about the outlook of not having me in his life, Trent said one word, “Bleak.” Trent emailed my dad back and told him he would like to start a relationship with me. Dad and Trent began corresponding, and, unbeknown to me, were in contact for two months before I ever knew anything! The Labor Day trip was planned for the purpose of Trent and I being together so Trent could ask me the BIG question!
Then began a rocky road of courtship. We both felt grossly unqualified to know how to proceed. That year was full of love letters, tears, emails (although not as many as before!), laughter, and many, many phone calls. We wore the road out between our houses, and held the short weekend visits dear. We did a few things right and a lot of things wrong. But the Lord, as He always seems to do, used the year to refine both of us yet further as we struggled through many new things together. We learned dependence on God and dependence on each other. We both felt the desire for the time apart to be over, yet the strain of not knowing when we could get married.
At Christmastime, on December 23, Trent asked me to marry him and gave me a beautiful ring that he had designed. But Trent’s business just wasn’t growing like we’d hoped. An interminable wait seemed to stare us in the face. After 5 months of many struggles, the Lord did an absolute miracle and brought income in a way we hadn’t been thinking of.
It was a beautiful sunny day and I was so excited to be visiting at Trent’s house for the weekend. I got there before Trent got off work at his job at the cannery. His sister Anna and I knew he’d be home from work soon, so we started walking down the road to meet him. He drove around the corner and rolled down the window. He grinned at me with a very silly and devious grin. Something was up. We piled into his truck and rode back to the house with him. Before we got out of the truck, he handed me the card that had our ring sizes written on it and said, “You might need this soon,” and climbed out of the truck, leaving Anna and I to stare at each other in disbelief. Was the wait really over?
He took me on a walk and picked me a wild rose. Then he told me, “My boss just told me today that he’s putting me on a salary. It will be enough that we can count on each month for us to get married.” In fact, the salary was about $200 over what we’d estimated we’d be able to scrape by with. We were ecstatic. The Lord was so good to us!
Now it was time to plan a wedding!
I’d always dreamed of my wedding, talked about it with Laura (we both had our weddings completely planned out about five years ahead of time!), and dreaming about it on late-night (or early morning!) sleepovers with Rebekah and Jessica… Now it was really time to do it! I wanted a simple, beautiful, and economical wedding. Over the summer as we planned, the Dollar Tree and sticky notes helped me keep my sanity! October 2nd was the special day and we couldn’t wait!
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010: Down to almost 10 days…full of last minute details, communication, numerous emails, and a lot of lists and phone calls. Feeling this era of my life slipping through my fingers too fast and dreading the goodbye to our happy home and life and my lovely pink cozy attic bedroom! Leaning on Your arms, needing wisdom, loving You, and anticipating my wonderful future!
We had a lot of help with the wedding and had the contributions of so many friends’ talents. A long-time friend made my veil. My sister Laura did the photography for the invitations that my Dad and I made together. My sister Karen made the cake (which was fabulous). My friends, whom I’d spent many years with in orchestras, formed a string quartet for the ceremony. We got roses at Costco and arranged our own bouquets. A teacher friend of Mom’s made the bridesmaids’ jewelry. I borrowed my pearl necklace from my cousin. My aunt let us borrow her beverage dispenser. We put all these talents together, which made it more beautiful. On the wedding day, I could see how each person’s contribution fit so beautifully into the patchwork of contributions.
We decided to have the wedding at the Christian camp I’d worked at the last two summers. It had extra meaning to me, because I’d gotten my job there the day I met Trent. I had worked many days there thinking over Trent, wishing he could be there too. Now, in a building I’d cleaned many times, I would be united to this wonderful man I’d dreamed about so long.
The countdown for The Day was more dedicated than any countdown I’d ever held for Christmas or special vacations (but I didn’t make a calendar to hang on the refrigerator like I had as a little girl!). I couldn’t wait to be with Trent forever.
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010: Nine Days! So close now!
Friday, September 24th, 2010: Wrote thank you’s/I love you’s to bridesmaids and parents. I thought, “it’s really happening!”
Tuesday, September 29th, 2010: I just want You to know Saturday is about You! You are such an inspiration to me of true love! I have had the spectrum of love and closeness with You over my lifetime, and You have remained so faithful and always loving, never a shadow of turning with Thee! Thank You for Your love! Thank You for planning my love for Trent and introducing us and bringing us together. You are so creative!
My memories of our wedding are quite foggy. I mostly remember the soft, sweet atmosphere, the beautiful shining sun, the uncontainable joy in my heart, the huge smile that felt like it didn’t fit on my little face, and that handsome, dashing man.
Once I was all “done-up”, the wedding coordinator peeked her head in the door and said, “He’s ready!” My heart jumped. I hadn’t seen Trent since the evening before when we’d said a one last goodbye before we were together forever. I tiptoed outside. I caught a glimpse of him standing in the little garden area, his back to me. He had his hands clasped in front and had his head bowed. I couldn’t believe how handsome he looked, and I hadn’t even seen his face! The walk, in my mind, symbolized the walk the Lord had taken me through these last 19 years of life, of growing, of loving, of following God to Trent.
I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around. His face was full of emotion, his eyes bore through me. We hugged; unashamedly, unreservedly. At last, I was there in his arms, the one the Lord had given me. What a gift, what a treasure this man was! There would be no more too-short visits, no more painful goodbyes. We were finally together forever.
I remember standing on the stage, surrounded by so many loving friends and family, and holding the hands of the man I loved most. I remember trying to sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and not being able to, because Trent kept smiling at me and I kept smiling at him. My heart overflowed with joy! I felt like shouting to the whole world, “GREAT IS HIS FAITHFULNESS!” He took me through a journey of loving Him more, and then tacked on this extra blessing. Now I would enter marriage, the picture of His love for me, and be able to see His love in a more clear way. I hadn’t always followed Him the right way, but through my whole life, He’d been faithful to me as He had promised. God is GOOD!
That day was the most sunny, the most joyful, the most amazing day of both of our lives thus far. It was more than a marriage or a wedding: it was a culmination celebration of what God had done in our lives, in bringing us together as one.
And this was one time that we didn’t so much mind following God’s will for our lives.
Related posts by Theresa:
- The Beginning of Real Love
- a word of encouragement (or why courtship doesn’t equal bliss)
- Romance Idols
“He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” So His merciful and miraculous leading is individual—“Thou (singular) shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.” The temptation is great to imitate or to expect the same manner of guidance which God has given another. “What is that to Thee; follow thou Me.” His Word abounds in examples of His separate leading of His sheep.
(from the journal of Elisabeth Elliot, quoted in Devotedly by Valorie Elliot Shepard)
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