Like legit engaged...
See! There's your proof!
So I'm sure you are all wondering how I tricked this amazing man into liking me. So I will share a little bit of our story :)
I met Browning in December of 2011. We met after joining a CrossFit group at ECU and began working out together. We were both seeing other people at the time, but had a great time working out with the group. We continued to work out together up until I graduated in May of 2012 and I moved 4 hours away back to my hometown. He stayed at ECU to finish graduate school. For the most part, we lost touch.
In October I went back to ECU to visit my roommates, who were in their senior year of nursing school. I texted the CrossFit group to see if they wanted to get together for lunch and a workout, but no one was available. I would say a little less than a month goes by and Browning randomly texts me while I'm at my brother's state championship cross country meet. He apologized for not being able to get together when I was at ECU but wanted to make it up to me next time I was in town. I told him not to worry about it and we could definitely get the group (I played hard to get from the beginning...oops) together to hang out next time I was in town for a visit.
He texted me the next day. and the day after...and the day after. Needless to say, I could tell that he was interested in getting to know me better. I was not interested in getting involved in any sort of relationship. I made that fact EXTREMELY clear thinking he would leave me alone and we could just be the gym buddies we had always been. He apparently interpreted my "no, I'm not interested," as, "Bring it on, Sanderson. You're gonna have to chase me and win me over."
He continued to chase after me for 5 whole months. He would drive 4 hours once a month just to hang out with me...only for me to turn him down again and again...and (you guessed it) again.
The pursuit started in December of 2012. I didn't agree to be his girlfriend until April 28, 2013. I know what you're thinking...this guy sounds incredible, what the heck took you so long? I'll tell you...
I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 19 years old. The first boyfriend I had was no good for me. The second guy I dated was a really sweet guy, but my personality was too dominant for him. The third guy was also a great guy, but we were chasing after two different things in life.
Then I met Browning. I couldn't control him. He had a mind of his own. He was stronger than me. He scared me to death. Not because I thought he could harm me, but because I knew he was the kind of man I needed. So in my sorry attempt to run away from this man who I couldn't control, I started running and coming up with any excuse I could find not to go on a date with him. Then after 4 months I realized he had been doing what I've always prayed for. He chased me. He pursued me and he had no intentions of stopping.
I have prayed for my future husband every day since I was 12 years old. I prayed that he would be a Godly man who loved the Lord with all of his heart. I prayed that he would be a leader and show others what it looks like to be a real man of integrity. I prayed that he would work hard and take pride in his work. I prayed that he would be spontaneous, creative and relaxed. I prayed that he would be the man that I needed. I also prayed that he would be my friend.
I could not have asked for a better friend than Browning. He has seen me at my worst and at my very best. We met in a gym...you see a lot of people at their worst there. He was always encouraging me and challenging me. Most importantly, he helped me loosen up after stressful days. He was a natural leader who carried himself with integrity. Looking back, I realized he was everything I prayed for.
So August 31, 2013 comes around. We are driving to spend a few days with his parents on Topsail Island...one of my favorite places, if not my favorite place in the entire world. We arrive and spent about a half hour with his folks and then Browning jumps up and announces that we were going on a bike ride. We rode around for a while and then began walking on the beach. We stopped up at Serenity's Point at the very tip of Topsail Island. He stopped walking and stood still, then very slowly he got down on one knee. At this point I have lost it. I knew exactly what was happening. He said some really sweet things that I don't remember...but I do remember him saying, "I love you. Sarah, will you marry me?" He insists that I said, "yes," but all I remember is nodding yes uncontrollably.
After getting my act together and posing for a nice picture taken from some random man on the beach (see below for picture), we headed back to the beach house.
His parents and sister were there waiting for us and they are so excited! Let me tell you, I could not have asked for a better family to marry into. They love the Lord, value family and have so much fun! I love being around them!
So what does one do right when they get engaged? They call their mommy! I called my mom and told her the wonderful news. Then I called my dad... let me tell ya... there is something about your dad's voice right after you get engaged that makes you cry. Why? I don't know. I could barely get the words out. I love that man so much. For him to give me away to another man...he must think very highly of him. He told me that he was out with my mom and they would call me later.
Little did I know that just 2 short hours later, I would walk into the kitchen for dinner and my mom and dad would be standing there. Browning had arranged all of this when he asked my dad for my hand. I lost it...again. Talk about an emotionally taxing day! But it has been the best day of my life so far. All I can say is that God is faithful. I don't deserve any of this!
I can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to have our families there with us. Our families are so important to us. I feel so blessed to not only have parents who have been together for 25 years, but to marry into a family where the parents are also still together. It's rare, but God is faithful and it can happen! It's how it should be. I know Browning and I are going to thrive in our marriage because of the Godly example that was set by our parents.
So now I've started working on wedding plans...and fast. Six months is going to fly by! But I am so excited about spending the rest of my life with Browning. I know that we will grow in love, go on many adventures, work through the hard times and never forget to have a little fun. He is definitely my better half and I love him dearly!
I will post some pictures below, but if you wish to see more, please click on the video below to see a slideshow that was put together by my dad and Browning's sister :)