And happily she said she would.
A Ring and Two Promises
As we grew up, our parents initiated what we dubbed rites of passage. At ten, we were able to cut our hair. At twelve, we were able to wear make-up and shave our legs. At fifteen, we were promoted to eye make-up.
Fifteen years old was also the age when we received our promise ring. This was a special time when each daughter was taken out to a nice dinner with our parents and they would discuss with us the importance of saving ourselves for our husband and for our wedding night.
As time would have it, December 20, 2002, was the appointed day for me to receive my ring; that evening found my mom, my dad and myself cozily tucked away in a booth at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I had chosen a beautiful baguette diamond ring to remind me of my promise I would make that night.
After we ate dinner, my mom took the ring out and set it on the table in front of me. My dad began to talk to me about the promise I would make that night to save myself for my husband. They explained how this promise was not one that I would only make to them, but also to God and to my future husband.
As I put the ring on that night, I made a vow before my parents and God that I would save myself for the one He had for me. It became very real to me as we sat at the table and prayed that God would help me in the years to come. I was making a vow not only to protect my body, but also my mind and my eyes from the things that would take away from that vow of purity.
It wasn’t just the ring that helped me keep the promise but it was also the many prayers of my family and myself as I got older that reminded me every day of the vow that had been made sitting in that booth in 2002. I wore that ring every day for nine years. And every day I would pray, “God help me keep my promise for one more day.”
Then in 2009, I found him, the man of my dreams, the man I had prayed for so many years. He was handsome, tall, smelled good, was a childhood friend, was good with money, was funny, had a great family, loved kids, loved Jesus--and did I mention he looked good? His name was Nathan Smith and he was a psychology major one year behind me in school, but what does age matter?
We began dating on June 19, 2009, and continued the relationship until February 26, 2011 when he asked me to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him. That night was the first time my promise ring had ever been replaced with another ring. It also meant my second promise would begin just five months from that night.
On July 23, 2011, I sat down in the dressing room of the church where I was about to be married and penned words to my soon-to-be-husband of the promise I had kept to God, and my parents, and him.
I explained to him once again the importance of the ring and what it meant to be able to truly give him the gift of myself on our wedding day. I wrote everything he was to me and expressed how excited I was that my promise had been kept for so many years. I could not think of a better man to give this gift to than him. He was a true answer to my prayers and God had given me the desires of my heart through him.
As I walked down the aisle toward my husband-to-be, holding on to my daddy’s arm with my family, friends and God watching me, I could not have been more thankful that a promise was made, a promise was kept and a new promise was about to be made. Only this time the promise would not be to save myself, but to give myself whole heartedly. The promise would not be for only nine years, but it would be for a life time.
(Edited to add: A comment was left asking if Nathan had made the same commitment and he did; he just didn't have the ring to wear.)
Thanks, Meagan, for sharing the beautiful story of a beautiful promise!
And just to make this entry all the more meaningful, tonight is the night that we have chosen to present Sarah with her own promise ring. She asked Steve and I if we could wait and do our ceremony until Nathan and Meagan got home so that they could take part in it. (Which I think says a lot about how much she thinks of the two of them.)
So tonight Sarah will make her own promise of purity, surrounded by a family who loves her. What a joy it will be to see the tradition continue as we wait with her to meet the man that God has set aside to be her husband.