Jonathan and Rose met in 2013 when they were both completing their residencies in the medical field. Working in the largest medical complex in the entire world in Houston Texas, Rose never thought she'd cross paths with the love of her life just four weeks after moving there from where she grew up in Mississippi. God in His mercy had divine plans in store for this beautiful couple.
In Rose's words: When we first met, Jonathan and I were in very different places in our spiritual walks. He was a fallen away Protestant wrestling with faith in the context of science as he launched head first into the world of medicine. At that time, I was an infant in my Catholic walk, clinging to my “good works” which provided a heavy dose of smug self-righteousness. I was deeply discontent with singleness and was wrestling spiritually with fear, loneliness, and angst about what my future held.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jonathan chose to pursue RCIA and found so much peace in finding the Faith. His devotion as a new convert inspired me to become a more committed Catholic myself. From that time until now, God has transformed us bit by bit into a fortified Catholic couple pursuing a shared direction and vision in life. As the Lord reminds us in Scripture, transformations are rarely painless. Our dating relationship had its challenges: the distance between Texas and Massachusetts (where he moved for a fellowship), the fears of the unknown future, my nagging desire for marriage and children, cultural differences, family strain, past emotional trauma. Through these challenges, Jesus taught me the beauty of letting go of my plan, to accept being 30 and unwed, and to love another flawed human being more than myself. In doing so, I was able to love more freely and completely.
A big part of his waiting to propose was related to our distance. God in his faithfulness opened the door for us to take jobs in the same hospital, in the same clinic, seeing the same patients in Austin, TX. How's that for close?! This level of proximity helps me see Jonathan in a totally new light. I fell even more in love with him as I witnessed him show Christ to his patients - praying with them, caring for them, and gently healing them. Another perk is that he constantly wrote me adorable post-it love notes and I got the cutest lunch date, like, every day. Based on the content of these love post-its and our conversations about readiness, I could tell that the big question was coming.
On a drizzly Sunday evening he picked me up for Mass. On this particular day, however, he picked me up wearing a three piece suit and an adorable grin. He said he wanted to "give God [his] best" but I had a sneaking suspicion he had something else up his sleeve...
When we arrived at our parish, I quickly noticed the empty parking lot. We were way too early! So, as Jonathan recommended, we went to the adjacent prayer chapel for some contemplative time before mass. A minute of prayer hadn't passed until Jonathan got down on one knee and proposed. Since Jonathan is basically a mathlete, he told me how many text messages we had sent to one another since starting dating (19,787), the number of home cooked meals I have made him (78), and the number of souls I helped find faith (1) – for which he gives me way too much credit. He asked me to share forever with him. He also coordinated for my family to come into town from Mississippi the following weekend and for our families to meet over dinner.
As I reflect on the proposal, I'm thankful that the didn’t choose to propose with fancy grand gestures or in front of a large audience. He wanted the proposal to be before Christ and for his words to be tenderly shared on the sacred ground - where we go every week for strength and grace. And I love him for this.
Looking back, I am grateful that no one walked into the chapel, as they would have found two love struck kids kissing and crying in the pew. Afterwards, we got a blessing from the priest and celebrated with a dinner at my favorite spot. I'll never forget feeling soaked in the rain, drenched in grace and love, and thankful to the Lord of mercy and kindness.
Rose's reflection on engagement: The engagement season isn’t easy – the stress of wedding planning and preparation places a unique strain on our communication and problem solving. Daily, I have to remind myself to ask God for the grace to die to my to-do list and selfish nature for Jonathan. We are phenomenally blessed through our parish who paired us with a seasoned couple – Michelle and Paul - to work through our premarital workbook together. As the wine was poured in their cozy home over the course of a few months, we were able to dive deeper into the beauty and meaning of the Sacrament of marriage. Pressing into areas of discomfort, fear, and doubt was a game changer for us and it continues to take us to the next level of preparedness and appreciation for the Sacrament.
I am deeply indebted to the Church for investing in our future marriage, and for the couple who committed to entering into this journey with us. Michelle totally blew my mind when she shared these sage words: when discontent creeps into her heart, she will then choose to intentionally and selflessly serve her husband even more. She said these acts of service transform her heart and give her freedom from discontentment. This is one of many pieces of wisdom that I plan to carry into marriage.
Our prayer is one of gratitude and of desire: Lord help us die to ourselves in the service of one another. I cannot wait to call Jonathan my husband and I am thankful that the Lord faithfully answered my heart’s desire for the vocation of married life.
Photography: Amanda Pomilla Photography | Engagement Session Location: Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas | Blue Dress: Slate & Willow | Pink Dress: BCBG | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Slide Bracelet: Family Heirloom | Necklace: Tiffany Co. | Engagement Ring: Custom | Suit: Suit Supply | Hair: Drybar - Austin | Makeup: Rae Cosmetics