Valentine's day is a special day for me. My beautiful bride and I celebrate the anniversary of our engagement on this day. We met while studying at Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI) in Dallas, Texas. Jokingly many CFNI alumni refer to the school as “Brides for the Nations” due to a high number of students that find their God chosen mate at CFNI.
For me it all started during a class in June of 2000.
As a good diligent student, I was sitting up front when someone in the back asked a question. As I turned around, my gaze was struck by the vivacious smile of a blue-eyed beauty. Immediately I looked around to ensure that the smile was intended for me! She says she doesn’t remember, but I do because I can distinctly recall my heart skipping a beat!
I have to admit that for the next few days in that class, whenever someone asked a question, I would slowly turn to look back just to see if she would smile at me again. Unfortunately, for the time being, it didn't happen.
Well, a long story short (skipping over some major intriguing story lines that I'll save for another day!)—we started courtship on December 31, 2000. I had determined in my heart (under the leading of the Holy Spirit) that I was going to pursue this godly, beautiful girl to marriage. With that in mind, I was already contemplating creative means of proposal to Aneta. Several weeks before Valentine's Day, I felt that I should preach a message to Aneta that reflected what the Lord had planned for us together. Taking it a step further, I determined to propose to her in her heart language (native tongue)—Polish. Aneta was a scholarship student from Poland. Since I knew not a word of Polish, I decided to solicit the help of another CFNI student who was from Poland. She happily agreed to write out for me a proposal in Polish as soon as possible. Meanwhile I contacted my worship pastor at Trinity Church for permission to allow me to utilize the sanctuary so that I could preach the prophetic message that the Lord placed upon my heart. However as the weeks went by, I still had not received my Polish proposal. Finally on the morning of February 14th, I was given the proposal. Nervously I tried in my best Polish to pronounce the words as instructed. After about ten minutes she gave me a vote of confidence, “Perfect!”
I was elated!
Everything was coming together: the diamond ring; the use of the church sanctuary; a prophetic message of what I believe the Lord had called us to pursue together as a married couple; a romantic proposal in fluent Polish; and then—if proposal accepted—a romantic, celebratory dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in north Dallas! Presto!
Did I already mention that I was excited?
We engaged in small talk as we made our way to the church facility. Finally the moment was upon us as I pulled into the parking lot. Unsure of what was going on, Aneta—being her usual cheery self, smiled at me. My heart was beating profusely, reminiscent of what had transpired almost eight months earlier when she first unleashed that captivating smile at me in the classroom!
As I led her into the sanctuary, I nodded to the worship leader, who immediately—without a word spoken between us—left the room with his assistants. Bewildered, Aneta looked at me, trying to calmly take in all that was happening. I led her to the front row, asking her to sit as I placed the pulpit in front of her. I explained that the Lord had put a message on my heart to share with her concerning our future together.
Excitement and nervousness engulfed me all at once. As this glowing, blue eyed Polish beauty sat on the front row—I took a deep breath, and opened with prayer before proceeding with the message. I preached as if a million people were in front of me. My three points were as followed:
1. Influenced by Intimacy: transformation
2. Influence through Impartation: generations
3. Influence through Intercession: nations
In essence, I preached that we were called to bring transformation to our generation to reach the nations. As Aneta dabbed her eyes with a tissue, I asked her to close her eyes and reflect upon what I had just preached. As she bowed her head, I slowly moved from the pulpit towards her, pulling the paper out of my back pocket that had the Polish proposal on it. For the invitation, I passionately framed this moment in this light: “I want you to focus on what I’ve shared…this could change your life!” Finally I knelt besides her. With a deep breath, I proceeded to read to her my heart-felt proposal in my most perfect, fluent Polish. When I finished, I looked up at her in full anticipation of a moment to behold.
However, there was none. Or at least in terms of what I had envisioned!
Aneta continued praying with her eyes closed. I looked carefully to determine why she wasn’t giving me a sign or indicator that she was accepting my proposal. Finally—after what seemed like eternity (probably 30 seconds)—I decided to propose to her again…in English!
In my most perfect English I asked, “Will you marry me?”
Immediately I got the response that I was looking for: Yes! It was a glorious moment to behold!
A few minutes later as we were getting ready to leave the sanctuary to drive to the Cheesecake Factory, I turned to ask her the perplexing question, "Why didn’t you response to me when I first proposed to you in Polish?" Puzzled, she said, “Oh, I thought you were praying in tongues!” Well it turned out that my Polish wasn’t so perfect and Aneta’s friend had written this proposal in some old form of fancy Polish! Not the ideal scenario for a first-timer! What was intended to be my heartfelt, fluent Polish simply sounded like someone praying in other tongues!
We did make it to the Cheesecake Factory and had a wonderful meal together! Years later I am still madly in love with this woman who had warmed my heart with her captivating smile, blue eyes and contagious love for Jesus! I still find my heart missing a beat or two when I behold this woman of beauty!