Today? Today I get to share one of my favorite love stories with you.
This is my sister Amy and her fiancé OL.
If you've ever crossed paths with Amy, you'll know that there's really no one like her. She is color and energy and whipping up a party in two seconds flat. She's smart and she's driven. Most of her life she's worked full time as a teacher and balanced a second job on evenings and weekends. And then there was the season that she added getting her master's degree to the mix. Amy is the queen of making things happen. Most of the time, there's not a lot of uncertainty with her. As soon as her path becomes clear, she takes it. I admire this about her, because it's a quality I lack. I spend a lot of time wondering what I want and wringing my hands when I stumble across a path I think might be good. Not Amy. She weighs her options practically, prays about it and gives Jesus dibs on the decision, and then she moves forward and doesn't look back.
OL Kelly is one of the world's more quietly exceptional people. It's not that he's quiet. He'll chat with you. In fact, he's the life of the party and more outgoing than Amy. What I mean by 'quietly exceptional' is that it will not be wildly obvious to you right at first how deep OL's strength runs. Those are the best kind of people, by the way. The secretly exceptional. They're like deep water, and they're the kind of people you want in your universe. Beneath the layers of personality, if Amy is the whirlwind of action, OL's strength is the calm in the middle of it.
I don't want to go into OL's story too much, because it's his to share, but suffice it to say this man is an overcomer. Around eight years ago he was hit by an oncoming car, caught on the wrong end of someone else's decision to drive drunk. The wreck should have killed him. He spend three months in the hospital, and was told it was unlikely he would walk again. Last year he ran his first half marathon. He is passionate about justice for others because he has known injustice.
I've heard that stories have these pivotal moments in them. They're often difficult to pin down as they happen, because it takes life a bit of time to stir in this new ingredient and show us that what's been added has altered our lives forever. That was Amy and OL. They met just over a year ago. A mutual friend thought they should be introduced, and she was quite right.
One of my favorite things about my work is hearing how two people meet and find each other to be the most wonderful thing on God's green earth that they've stumbled across. Most of the time, I hear this at engagement sessions and over coffee after the story has played out. With Amy, I got to watch it play by play, and let me tell you, it was so fun to witness. Last summer, OL made the trip up to Ohio to meet the parents and the rest of the crazy Miller family. I remember one evening during that trip, Amy and I were standing in the laundry room and she told me she wants to go on record: she thinks she's marrying him.
And she is.
Please note the 'OL' in the backround. It was too perfect (and entirely unplanned) not to have a little fun with it!
One of my favorite parts of this story is the melting of Amy's heart. I'd say it started with OL, but this story is so much bigger and better than two people. For Amy, OL is like the icing and the evidence of what God has worked in her heart over the last few years. Her ship has come in. Their ships have come in. For a long time, without ever meaning to or even knowing she was doing it, Amy had shut out the idea of allowing someone near her heart. Life's circumstances play tricks on us sometimes and without ever knowing it, we swallow ugly lies whole and believe things that aren't from God at all. I watched as over a period of several years, Amy's heart thawed and came alive and she let God teach her what was true. He did that teaching in the kindest and most subtle of ways. Unhurried. I think sometimes we look at others and think it all happened for them at once. It's never like that. There are always the years of thawing. Amy and OL are finding each other at forty and forty-one, and I think this makes their story sweeter. If your road is long, keep on. Amy and OL can tell you. It is God who makes every story good. The ship coming in is sweet, but the process is the point. Without process, your ship has no harbor in which to anchor. So if God is building your harbor and you see no ship on the horizon, trust Him. Let Him keep on with the hammering and the building for a ship you can't see. He can.
Back to Amy and OL. They're moving and buying a house, and she's found a new job in his area, and she bought a dress. I know these seem like normal things, but the way it has all fallen together for them feels like Fingerprints of the Divine because it is. That is the best of life I think - the experience of God in normal things that aren't normal at all because He's in them. And He has been in the fabric of their story since day one, and I wonder if He isn't pulling a Barney Stinson and self-fiving on this one.
One of my favorites.
Also, Napoli's has the best limoncello cake EVER. I know. I sampled. Okay, I had a whole piece. Perks of being a sister and being allowed to crash the date.
Guys, I'm so excited for August 1st. And for after August. I love that this is just the beginning. Congrats! Love you both...and OL, you are all kinds of perfect for Amy. Glad to have you join our tribe.