Courtney and Angelo

How We Met: We met in the front row of church!

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How He Asked: “Gods perfect plan, happens in imperfect situations…” That’s all I really needed to hear that Sunday sitting in the front row of Father’s House Family Church. The very seat I first saw the love of my life and now my fiancé. By this point you might be thinking, “She was probably your run of the mill Christian girl who attended church religiously and carried her bible around to coffee dates.” Well no, it wasn’t one of those moments where I was blown away by how godly she was. But I saw her standing there, weird hat on, long flowing dress, gorgeous big eyes, contagious smile, and a personality that made everyone stop and stare. And in that moment I heard the “gentle whisper” that set the most beautiful, spiritual journey into motion.

I had read all the books, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, “Boy Meets Girl”, “Love, Dating and other Insanities” etc etc, blah blah blah. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would ONLY date a woman so holy at the point that I met her that she would heal people with a glance. I wasn’t going to date anyone for another year and a half as I was going to be single to allow God to work on me and I was going to work on myself. And then in that single moment, as I stared at her, time frozen, God made it clear to me…”there is NO formula, there is NO plan set by others as to who I have ordained for your life. This is the girl. I wont let you look away. You will stare at her beauty and love her as I have loved you, with a redeeming love. And you will watch her grow into the woman you have prayed for night after night.” And so, as the faithful God who formed the stars and our destiny, He made that happen right before my eyes. God’s amazing plan for your life is unique and special, but most importantly better than anything you can do on your own strength.

So here is how I asked. I organized for Courtney to have the day off work (she thought her boss gave her the day off) and I woke her up early with a surprise day to celebrate our 16th “monthiversary”. Those of you who know Courtney well enough will know that I basically woke a hibernating grizzly. The idea behind my proposal was an entire day where we do things that have been special and significant to us throughout our relationship.

First up was a surprise morning of beach horse riding at Papiesfontein horse trails just outside of Jeffrey’s Bay. Courtney didn’t believe we were doing it until I got far enough down the dirt road that she realized I couldn’t be joking. If it weren’t for the guise of our “monthiversary” she would have been on to me! I still maintain a man is not anatomically designed to be mounted on a horse, but for my love, I will literally do ANYTHING!! Jokes aside, it was an amazing morning. The weather was beautiful, and the stretch of beach is one of the most beautiful stretches of beach I have ever seen. We got up to a gallop on the horses. Courtney and the guide raced up and down the beach and it made me so happy to see her doing what she loves the most, riding horses. My body still hates me for going horse riding. She was very proud of her man! It was a perfect start to a perfect day. Next stop was La Chemeleon restaurant in Humansdorp, a favourite for Courts and I and a place we always stop at. We were both exhausted from the horse riding but this didn’t stop us from making the most of the situation by joking around and taking things less than seriously as we do so well. We listened in on conversations and sent each other selfies from across the table. When the food arrived Courts wolfed hers down and I was so nervous I didn’t have a bite. Not a single bite. I couldn’t do it. I had what seemed to be a flock of butterflies in my stomach and they weren’t going away. Courtney was suspicious and asked me several times if I was nervous, because this had never happened before, but I brushed it off and distracted her with a few ridiculous remarks. I had made a CD for the road trip with all of our special songs on it and a few of our favourite worship songs and this really set the tone for this special day. All morning was spent reflecting on our relationship and how much God has had his hand on it all along. On the ride back to PE we listened to our songs and even worshipped. A pretty amazing morning all round.

Schoenies has always been a special place for us. We walk the dogs there almost every week. Just before I left for Italy we wrote our names on a rock with a few special scriptures and the date.

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It can be seen just before the first memorial rock. We went for a walk and where our rock lies we sat down and read letters we had written each other throughout the relationship. Sounds very romantic, doesn’t it? Well, not quite. However it did provide for a lot of laughs for the both of us. It was midday and about 35’C! We set speed reading records and got out of there as fast as we could and sought refuge in the pool at home.

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I had to leave Courtney to go collect the ring at the jeweler (yes, I left it that late) and get ready for our romantic dinner, which I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend myself, due to nerves. Courts begged me to stay and wanted to know why I left so early. Later on I got a message from her saying how sad she was because everyone in her house was avoiding her and I left early. Of course, they all knew what was happening and out of fear of letting it slip they avoided Courtney like a telemarketer.

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Courts looked absolutely stunning for supper. And all I could think about was how happy I am that I get to marry this girl! We went to The Coachman because it is the restaurant I took Courts for our first date. I had forgotten to get a blindfold for the big surprise so as soon as I saw the serviette on the table I put it in my pocket (sorry Coachman, it was for a good cause). Supper was amazing as always. We discussed how special the book “Redeeming Love” was to us and how that principle had played out in our relationship. It was at this point that I lost my appetite again; fortunately I had already eaten my steak. Nervously I kept checking the time and texting people involved in the big surprise. I got reprimanded for that. As always, every worry, every concern, every worldly problem disappeared and we ate ourselves sick and laughed even harder. Courtney did what she does best. She laughed at my horrible jokes, entertained me with intelligent conversation and told me how much she loves me; it couldn’t have gone any better.

As we drove out of the parking lot I stopped the car and I told Courts I had one more little surprise, which shouldn’t take too long. She sat nervously in the car as I blasted Oceans by Hillsong, to hide the fact that I was crying (apparently this happens often to godly men). I could not stop staring at Courtney and thinking that I WILL spend the rest of my life with her. I couldn’t have been more excited. We did not say a word to each other on the way to Father’s House Church, the place we first met.

As we arrived I led Courtney into the foyer. I asked her to stay there a moment as I fetched the ring. I was sure that the smell of the church would give away where we were but it didn’t. I led Courtney into the hall, and she asked me why I was shaking so much. I turned around and looked into the balcony where Courtney’s family and a few special friends sat waiting and watching. Projected on the screen was a picture of us with the words “We love because He first loved us…” Vincent (our church worship leader) was on stage ready to sing Phil Wickham’s, You’re Beautiful (Courtney’s favourite worship song). I positioned her in the very spot I first saw her. I gave Vince the signal and took Courtney’s blindfold off. As soon as she saw the screen and heard the song she burst into tears and held me tighter than she has ever. The song was beautiful. We stood with our arms around each other and worshipped the amazing God who made our union possible. I was filled with an intense feeling of gratitude and love. As soon as the song ended I turned to the love of my life, our eyes both filled with tears. Considering the enormity of what I was about to do I got down on one knee. Laughed at the excitement on Courtney’s face and I began: “It has been 506 days since I first saw you standing in this very spot. God showed me that you were the one for me. He has anointed this relationship and loved us both with a redeeming love, which we have loved each other with. I love you more than anything in this world and it would make me the happiest man alive if I could spend the rest of my life with you. Courts, will you marry me?” She nodded in excitement and fought against the tears to get the “YES” out of her. We hugged each other tightly and sobbed. I will never forget how that hug felt. It was love. It was every laugh, every tear, every feeling we had toward each other in one physical act. I looked up toward the balcony and pointed toward all the special people. Courtney looked and burst into tears again. She whispered “It was perfect”. And I remembered thinking that she was perfect. Perfectly imperfect.

Thank you to our parents and families. Our friends who joined us and Vincent Swanepoel.

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