Lauren + Jeff
Location: Dublin, Georgia
"A year and half ago, Jeff moved to Dublin, Georgia. He accepted a job at First Baptist Church as the Minister of Music. Lauren, originally from Dublin, moved back home to teach. Before Jeff moved to town, a close family friend saw Lauren at Starbucks. He asked if Lauren dated anyone. With an answer of no, he continued that he knew the man Lauren would marry. She said that she was open to it, but he probably needed time to settle down.
Months passed, and various church members told Lauren and Jeff about each other. Lauren and Jeff did not meet until that summer at a church camp. They saw each other at the beginning of the week, and did not see each other until that last day of camp when their churches ate at the Chick-fil-a in Columbus, Georgia after camp.
After the church camp, Lauren and Jeff would periodically see each other in town. During this time, both were praying fervently for their spouse. A year passed, and Lauren was leading worship at a local Methodist church. The same close family friend, who told Lauren about Jeff, saw her and said, “I’ve been on my knees now more than ever for you and Jeff.” This struck Lauren differently than before. She began praying for Jeff and his ministry. Both Lauren and Jeff have longed for marriage, but wanted to wait for God to reveal His plan.
In August Lauren started back for pre-planning. On August 6th, First Baptist hosted a prayer walk at her school. If you know Lauren, during pre-planning, comfortable clothes meant big t-shirt, jeans, Chacos, and hair on top of her head. Well that Thursday morning, Lauren felt in her spirit that she needed to dress up. So she dressed in cute shorts, a top, and sandals. (Her hair was still on top of her head!) Not knowing why, she followed her spirit. It came time for the prayer walk, and Lauren walked in. AND THERE JEFF WAS STANDING IN THE LUNCHROOM. Her heart fell to the floor. Trying to act cool, Lauren waltzed over to Jeff. The conversation was wonderful. His choir would perform their summer concert that weekend, and Lauren made sure to tell Jeff she will attend.
The night of the concert close friends asked Lauren to go to dinner with them. They said that Jeff will eat with the group. Of course, Lauren was thrilled. At Cracker Barrel, Lauren and Jeff made immediate connections on various interest. It seemed the rest of the world faded away as the two discussed their interest. On the way home, Lauren was definitely interested in Jeff. She told their close friends, Babbs and Wil, if he is interested, she was open.
Three days passed, and Lauren headed home from church. At 9:30, her phone rang, and in her spirit she felt that it was Jeff. She answered the phone, and the caller said, “Hey Lauren, this is Jeff.” She was so excited. Her mother rode home with her, and Lauren pulled for her mother to drive. Three and half hours later, the conversation came to an end, but before it ended, Jeff asked Lauren if he could take her on a date. The only day she has available, due to school responsibility, was the next day.
August 13th, 2015, Lauren and Jeff went on their first date and it was absolutely wonderful! Many more connections were made during the conversation, and neither one wanted the date to end. After dinner, Jeff asked if Lauren wanted to go for a cup of coffee. (And if you know Lauren, this is the way to her heart.) After the first date, Lauren knew that Jeff is the man she would marry. Throughout the weekend, Lauren and Jeff continued to pray for one another. They know that they wanted to be in God’s will.
August 18, Lauren and Jeff went on their second date. This was a big date for Jeff because during this date, he knew that Lauren was his wife. While eating at Outback, Jeff barely ate, which was odd for him. During dinner he kept thinking she’s the one; she is my wife. They went for coffee, and by date number two, they knew they were meant to be.
As the days came and gone, Jeff and Lauren fell more in love each day. On Lauren’s birthday, Jeff took Lauren to Natalia’s in Macon. They enjoyed a wonderful meal together, and he made her feel so special. When they arrived home, they relaxed and watched a movie. After the movie, they were hanging out, and Jeff said, “I know I am going to marry you! You know I am very methodical, but I do know I will marry you just give me some time. I do ask when I ask you to marry me, can we have a short engagement?” Lauren said, “I know I am going to marry you, and however long it takes, just know I will marry you.” Lauren continued, “And you are marrying the right girl because I definitely want a short engagement. What is your time frame?” Jeff said, “I want to marry before summer, possibly during summer. What about you?” Lauren said, “Well, since I am a teacher, I have spring break in March; what about March?” Jeff agreed that March was even better. Jokingly, Jeff asked, “Could you plan a wedding by December?” Immediately, Lauren said, “yes, but I would need to know tonight.” They left that night praying about their wedding for December 2015. The following day Jeff called and began to discuss dates for December. The fifth was too soon; the twelfth was the choir cantata; the nineteenth is free, and the twenty-sixth is too close to Christmas. Jeff and Lauren decided to ask their families about the nineteenth. With a free calendar for both families, Lauren knew that she needed to make sure they had a church, photographer, florist, caterer, and band.
Thursday, the next day, Lauren and her mother began to make all phone calls. Lauren has always loved Ashah and her photography skills, but she also knows that Ashah is in high demand. So she called another photographer first because Lauren just knew Ashah was already booked. The first photographer gently let Lauren down. He was booked months ago, but in Lauren’s spirit, she knew she needed to text Ashah. So she did. She text Ashah the story and asked at the end, “Soooo are you available the nineteenth of December to photograph a wedding?” Ashah responsed, “Oh. My. Word. That is the only date I have available in December.” Lauren stared at her phone for several minutes because she knew then she and Jeff would marry in December. We called the caterer -that was the only weekend she had free. We called the florist- that was the only weekend she had free. We called the band-that was the only weekend they had free. And the church was free. Lauren called Jeff after work and said, “Jeff, we are getting married on December 19th. Everyone is available. The wedding is planned.” Both Lauren and Jeff were in complete amazement of God’s faithfulness. They confirmed all parties, and the nineteenth is set.
Lauren knew one other piece to the day is the dress. Even though she did not have a ring (yet) she knew that she needed to look that weekend for a dress. With Jeff’s blessing, she, her mom, her sister, Jeff’s mom, and Lauren’s best friend went for the dress.
Lauren really had no clue where to start. A close friend of Lauren’s suggested a bridal store in Decatur, Georgia. So Lauren’s mom made an appointment and an appointment at another bridal store. The night before Lauren looked at Pinterest for dresses she liked, but she knew with the date so close she needed to keep her mind open.
That Saturday Lauren and her party arrived for the appointment. The bridal ladies made Lauren feel so special. She told the story, and the ladies ooh’d and ahh’d. The store owner asked, “So when is the big day?” “December 19th.” “Oh you have plenty of time,” said the owner. Lauren said, “of this year.” “Oh, that’s good! We have no time to waste. Show me your ideal dress,” said the owner. Lauren showed her the dream dress. There was a pause as the owner stared at the phone. She said, “you are not going to believe this. A dress was sent here yesterday to our store, and we are not sure why it is here. All day yesterday we called the designer asking her who ordered this dress. Of course, the designer could not give us an answer. We told her several times no one at this store ordered this dress. It is not the sample size we order, and no one here ordered this dress. So we placed it back in the box, and we were going to send it back Monday. But that dress is your dress. That is this dress.” Lauren stared at the owner, “really? You have this dress?” “Yes, it is even more beautiful!” Lauren and her party went back to the parlor to try on this dress.
The owner of the store brought the dress. “Rule is you can’t see yourself until the big mirrors.” So Lauren turned around that ladies began to dress her. Lauren was telling the story of the church, photographer, caterer, florist, and band-then there was dead silence. The owner said, “I can’t believe this.” “What,” said Lauren. “I just can’t believe this. This dress is a perfect fit.” The girl helping the owner said, “In all my history of working at this bridal store, I have never seen this happen.” “Lauren, this dress fits you like a glove. You will need no alterations.” For thirty seconds there was dead silence because once again God’s faithfulness was shown. They placed the veil and jewelry, and Lauren was ready to show her dress. As she walked out, the entire store stopped. Because all the employees knew the story. Lauren looked over at her party, and tears ran down their faces. Now note, Lauren has not seen herself yet. Lauren stood on the stand; they fluffed her dress, and tears ran down her cheeks. This was her dress. Again, thirty seconds of silence because we were in awe of how deep the Father’s love for us. Lauren’s mother came up to her with tears in her eyes and said, “this is your dress.” She was right. Lauren examined herself in the mirror, but she knew deep down. This was her dress. After several minutes of affirmation, ohhhs and ahhs, the store owner asked, “are you saying yes to this dress?” Lauren said, “yes, this is my dress!” The whole room celebrated! All the ladies gave Lauren hugs and kisses because again, God’s faithfulness was experienced.
During this time Jeff was in Atlanta buying the engagement ring. Lauren shared the story with Jeff, and he too celebrated God’s love. He asked Lauren if she would come and confirm the ring he had picked out because he wanted her to absolutely love the ring. She went over to the jeweler’s, and he asked, “Which one is your favorite?” Lauren immediately chose her favorite, and that ring was Jeff’s favorite. Within the last 72 hours, Jeff and Lauren had planned their wedding. And the ring would be ready Monday.
On Monday, Lauren had a teacher’s conference in Atlanta. Jeff called her boss to ask if he could pick her up early because he was going to propose to Lauren. Immediately, Lauren’s boss said yes. That afternoon the ring was picked up. Jeff picked up Lauren from the conference. He drove her to downtown Atlanta. She thought they were going to the aquarium, but Jeff had another place in mind. Weaving through traffic, Jeff pulls into a parking lot. He said, “let’s walk in here.” Jeff and Lauren walked into a beautiful church, and a little old lady greeted them. “Hello Jeff! Glad you could make it,” said the little lady. Lauren kept asking how do you know her, but Jeff avoided the question. Jeff and Lauren looked around the beautiful sanctuary, and as she turned to look at a stained glass window, she turned back, and Jeff was on one knee. He told of his love for Lauren and asked, “Lauren, will you marry me?” Immediately, she said, “YES!” They embraced one another and enjoyed that surreal moment. Soon after Jeff said to Lauren, “I really think we need to pray for us, our marriage, our children, and give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” They knelt down at the alter, and they prayed for each other and their future.
During this engagement the one statement that reoccurs is God is faithful. Jeff and Lauren have experienced first hand the love the Father has for His children. They both have experienced that God is in control, and in His timing, He will reveal Himself, and He will receive all glory because He is the only one who could receive glory. Jesus is faithful."