At Long Last: A Story of Love and Hope | $600 Nordstrom GIVEAWAY!

 

About 2.5 years ago, one of my best friends said, "Do you follow Erin Morris on Instagram? I feel like you'd love her." As I glanced through her feed, one of her most recent pictures caught my attention...her engagement proposal on the California coast. "Wow," I thought. I clicked over to her blog and caught up on her love story...she documented the whole process, even before she met her fiancé Daniel. I found myself in tears! Deeply moved by her vulnerability and openness, touched by our similarities and parallels, encouraged by a total stranger.

Since then, I too began blogging, which is how I eventually connected with Erin personally. I feel like I blab on about how much my virtual friendships mean to me, but it's LIFE. You'll soon see how much internet intersections have meant to Erin, too! :) We've not gotten to meet in person (yet), but I'm looking forward to that day.

Here's your turn to meet Erin for yourself, at least on my digital space. :) She's a writer and blogger at www.GracefulWomanhood.com where she shares her passion for Jesus, fashion, travel, home, and her little family. She is a wife to Daniel, mama to Weston Joel, and has self-published two e-books and one print book. She loves coffee dates, tacos, and all things glam!

Now that we're all well acquainted, I asked Erin to share a bit of her story in honor of Valentine's Day! (I'm also giving away a $600 Nordstrom gift card with a few of my blogger friends below, so be sure to enter to win at the end of this post.)

Welcome to "once upon a time..."

Erin: I always dreamed of a special kind of love. A special kind of man. The “real deal.” That “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach for the stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff.” Obsessed, can’t get enough, can’t live without him, best friends and soul mates, adventure-all-your-life-and-die-together-holding-hands like ‘The Notebook.’  A real man. Real. Who opens doors, really compliments your hair, notices every detail, brings you “just because” flowers, writes you cards and letters even though writing isn’t really his thing, and cherishes you. Just you. No one else. Who never makes you question it. Who shows up, is all there (in every way), who treasures. A gentleman. A good, good husband. A God-written love story. I’ve always been a dreamer, a hopeless romantic at heart. When I was a young teen, I said, “I want one man, one man only, and I want You, God, to pick ‘him’ out.”

And so, I began to pray. Aaaaand, wait. I didn’t want just any love. I wanted “it.” And I was willing to wait for “it.” The years rolled on. High school, college, my twenties started to play out. My best girlfriends began meeting their Prince Charming, walked down the aisle at their fairytale wedding, announced their baby news….and I was truly oh so happy for them. But I…still alone. I spent the years of waiting pursuing the Lord, my dreams, friendships, writing a blog full of my heart, my passions like fashion, traveling, and investing in my family and ministry. Looking back, some of the happiest and most fulfilling times of my life!

I loved being able to focus on my dreams and goals, friendships, and fabulous life! But, as those “waiting years” played out, I wondered where “he” was. Loneliness was my friend, at times. Doubt sometimes crept in. I missed “him” but I hadn’t met “him.” At some points, in darker seasons of life at that time, I wondered if I was maybe crazy for not wanting to settle for anything less than fireworks. Were my standards too high? Was I unrealistic? No. I knew my heart was right. I knew my “matching heart” was out there somewhere. And so, I continued to wait and pray. To hope. To dream.


"It is astonishing how short a time it takes for very wonderful things to happen." - Frances Burnett


And then, it all changed. Overnight. On December 29th, 2013, the love of my life would waltz into my life and sweep me off my feet, in a way I could have never imagined! 1,364 miles apart – he, on the east coast, and I, on the west. Because I’d shared my waiting journey on my blog and Instagram, a sweet blog mama friend of mine tagged me in a comment of an Instagram photo: a photo of three young men, posted by their mom, who jokingly shared the picture and captioned it with their single statuses, her desire for them to get married someday, and their ages and names! It was a joking and fun attempt to “match up” her boys. Many women commented, including a mutual friend of ours who was a blogger I’d known and trusted for a while! She tagged me in the photo, writing that I should meet the eldest of the single men, Daniel. His mom wrote to me. I rolled my eyes and continued with my constant blogger chant: “I will not meet my future husband on the Internet!” But, I replied. I was careful, he was kind. We commented back and forth on Instagram. Then, he asked for me email address and we wrote back and forth. It was all very “You’ve Got Mail” of us! Then, he asked for my phone number. And then, after weeks of talking – states apart – he told me, “I’m coming out to California to meet you.” He traveled from Maryland to Los Angeles, his viola (he’s a musician!) on his back, and we met “in person” for the first time at LAX airport. He stayed in my family’s guest room and I showed him all over Southern California’s best. It was nothing short of magical. Oh, that week getting to know him…. He was everything I’d hoped for, and more. And the rest? Is history. We fell in love, got engaged, got married, and we now have the most delightful little angel, our real life love, seven month old Weston Joel.

Prayers upon prayers, dreams and hopes were answered in the culmination of my love story. God remembered. He answered. In His perfect time. We aren’t perfect, but falling in love with your kindred spirit is bliss. He waited for me, too. And so many specific dreams came to life as we fell in love. It was…..sparks. Dreamy. Splendid. And has only grown.

Ladies in waiting, oh sisters. You are worth the wait. He is worth the wait. The love of a lifetime? It’s worth waiting for. Don’t give up hope, even when it feels like everyone else is moving on and you’re still standing alone. I can still taste the ache of waiting…I remember it, and always will. There are good, strong men out there who will woo and win and fight for and romance you. Know that. Do not settle for anything less. Even though, at times, I was mocked, questioned, misunderstood, or even pitied for it. Now…. Oh how worth the wait. Never in my life had I met a young man with such strength of character. Falling in love with him, becoming one, and starting a family has been the joy of my life. You are oh so loved, and are worthy of all the good things and love in this world. Don’t settle for anything less! The dreams and prayers will be answered. Sometimes in ways we would not plan or expect, but in ways that are oh so much better. All in good time. And it is so worth waiting for.

Read more of Erin's story in “At Long Last: A Story of Love and Hope” HERE!


I have teamed up with a great group of bloggers to give someone a $600 giftcard to Nordstrom. To enter simply complete the steps in the Rafflecopter below. Each item you complete is a separate entry so complete them all for your best chances of winning. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on 2/13 and the winner will be notified via the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

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Much love and a "happy ever after,"

Jessica

Faith, FashionJessica Sheppard