Trust in the Lord with all thine heart…
My mind was flooded by memories – so many. I felt overwhelmed by the emotion of it all; here I was sitting in the back of a ribbon-decked car with my daddy beside me. Where had the time gone?
My mind took me back to my life before I met Nathan. I was working at the Cedarvale Health Retreat. I felt then that nothing could have been better. I was on a high working for the Lord. Every day He was using me to reach people’s hearts. My lifework was cut out. The Lord could use me just the way I was-as a single person. Maybe I could go to Romania and work in the orphanage. When I wasn’t busy with the health work, that is…
At the same time I was struggling. I felt the Lord was convicting me to join His church, but doubt kept troubling me – until I finally gave in to conviction and asked to be baptized. It was as if I had closed the door to doubt at that instant. My struggles left and my happiness was complete.
In the mean time I had returned home. The Lord had plans for me back there, it seemed. I poured myself into intensive study and wondered what it was He wanted me to do next.
The health work continued to appeal to me. So in October 1999 I began my search for an accredited health centre where I could gain necessary experience for my course requirements. I was fussy. I wanted nothing short of the best! Didn’t God want me to have the best training so he could use me most effectively? Church folk in America had two suggestions: Desert Springs in California or a place called Uchee Pines in Alabama. I pursued both options. One seemed likely to work out. It was then that the Lord started me out on an exciting, if somewhat scary, odyssey.
December of that year found us at Elim Heights for the youth convention. There were young people from many countries present. In such a setting, with the theme “Pilgrim’s Progress,” it was fitting to reflect on the ups and downs of the Christian path that we separately, yet unitedly, were travelling all around the world. During this time I had a heightened sense of wanting to be and do what the Lord wanted of me.
We stayed the next two week for Summer School, thoroughly immersing ourselves in Bible study.
It was then that I noticed our single, young and very good looking teacher, Nathan Tyler, the young Bible worker from America. He seemed on fire for the Lord, too. And to me, it even seemed like he had “noticed” me. I had to wonder, however, if it was only my imagination. I decided I would take it to the Lord and leave it with Him.
I always had high ideals of what I wanted in my romance. I had a secret fear, however, that the guy God had for me would be really bad looking. I figured the Lord would help me love him anyway.
As a teen I had subscribed to a magazine called New Attitude. When the author discontinued the magazine he wrote a book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. I was the first person in Australia to read it – I even wrote a review for it! I determined then to let the Lord control my (then nonexistent) love life. Not that I didn’t struggle – and wonder. What would I do if the Lord sent someone? How would I know that he was the one?? One conclusion I came to was I would rather be single till the day I died than marry the wrong person.
But what now? Here, it seemed, was my ideal guy. It looked like he might even like me. But I didn’t want to get distracted – even though THAT was hard enough! – and I definitely didn’t want to do the wrong thing-for me that would have been letting him know I liked him.
I ended up sharing my struggles with my dad. I was shocked when he told me he had already noticed a mutual interest. And better yet he actually approved. Amazing, as my dad expected a lot of a prospective partner for me. I used to think no one would ever measure up!!
Before leaving Elim my dad and Nathan had a talk. I found out Nathan had been feeling similarly to me and had been praying also.
We left camp. I still wasn’t sure if anything would happen. I knew that for God to be able to work I needed to pray-and pray I did, three times a day. Hebrews 11:1 become my special
promise. I would trust God and wait for His time.
My plans to travel to America for my clinicals were still in place, but it seemed rather scary to go that far from home. I tried to find an alternative solution – one that would keep me in Australia. But the alternatives either weren’t right or wouldn’t satisfy the criteria imposed by my college. America it was to be. The Lord performed many miracles to make it happen. Isa. 26:3, 4 was the special text that got me through my first plane flight half way around the world.
Unknown to me, the health centre that the Lord sent me to was only 2 hours drive from the church where Nathan was leader. A sister from the church picked me up from the airport and took me home. From her home I went on to Uchee Pines. That first week was tough. I would have done anything to have caught the next plane to go home. I was shocked when the phone rang Friday evening. It was the young people from Nathan’s church – they were coming to get me. So started a tradition that would continue till I left for Idaho six months later. To this day I am amazed at how loving and caring the church was to me. They became my family.
Nathan and I continued to pray and observe each other – from a distance. I often wondered if he had simply lost all interest. I was later to find out he thought the same about me. At the time, though it was a struggle, I continued to submit my feelings for him to the Lord. And then, a week before I was to leave for the backwoods of Idaho , we talked. Overcome, I buried my head in my hands as he asked if the door might still be open for him.
It was three months later, when, after the closing Sabbath meeting, Nathan had an announcement to make. And I already knew about it. “You know how Br. Jacob sings, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone’?” he began. “Well, I’ve decided to take his message to heart. I’m engaged.” Our moment had come. He went on with a cheeky grin, “I believe there
is someone else in this room who is also engaged…” Now we were official.
Straight away there were things we wanted to set straight. We both had high ideals of how a relationship should be conducted and we wanted to put them into practice. We wanted to keep ourselves pure for each other even during our engagement. Neither of us had kissed and we wanted to save our first kiss till our wedding day.
Wedding preparations were another challenge–again I had high ideals. I wanted a wedding that would glorify God. By that I wanted something that wasn’t extravagant but also something that wasn’t so outdated that it would be a poor witness to my relatives.
As I prepared for our big day I was amazed at how much God cares about details. While my dress was in the making, and Aunty Gizella and I would come upon an obstacle, it was exciting to see the solutions the Lord lead us to. A wedding dress maker that came to my wedding said my dress was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen. The Lord gave us the design! I have experienced His amazing style and good taste!!
Reading through wedding magazines I realized a lot of rich people hire wedding coordinators. I knew I needed one too. So I asked the Lord to be mine. He was amazing! People we hadn’t thought of asking offered to help in specific ways. I have made some very special friendships as a result.
And then, it came. My wedding day. Our wedding day.
My dad opened the car door for me at the church on Sunday the 16th of September. There they all were-my family/my wedding party. We were doing this together. As Momma Tyler would say, we were all getting married. We got in line as the strings played. Cherith was followed by Bethany, up the aisle. Andriya carrying Brother Jaksic’s Bible followed with Brother Jaksic right behind him. And then the littlies: Elisha and Christella and Able and Jana made it up to the music of “Sheep May Safely Graze.” As my dad and I stepped up to the door the music changed to “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.” With the congregation standing we made our way up to where my dearest Nathan stood. The service started with the singing of the hymn I had just walked in to.
Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of
Well-spring of the joy of living, Ocean depths of happiness!
Thou the Father, Christ, our Brother – All who live in love
are thine: Teach us how to love each other, Lift us
to Thy joy divine.
So special – so appropriate!
Sister Rosetta Illic sang, “Saviour Like a Shepherd lead Them.” She sang beautifully and the words were so meaningful.
Then Br. Jaksic began. “We have come here together to rejoice.” The sermon was instructive and interesting. An unbelieving relative commented “the Yugoslav minister married them properly.”
For the benefit of my grandmother and her sisters the vows were repeated in Yugoslav and English. And then came our very first kiss. I’d had my fears about this part, mainly because I had seen many wedding where the kiss had looked wrong – and that, between ‘seasoned kissers’! What chance did we have?
During the signing of the registry Sister Rosetta again sang – this time, a hymn in Yugoslav. We walked out as Mr and Mrs Tyler to “Trumpet Voluntary.” What a thrilling moment!
It was in the receiving line, my uncle commented, “That was some kiss!” I wasn’t sure how he meant it till weeks later. Mum had told a cousin that it was our first, and he had told my uncle. My uncle didn’t believe it and told him so – anyone could tell we knew what we were doing, he said! He was shocked when I assured him it was true.
After photos taken at the old Hervey Bay beach pier we headed off to our reception hall.
Each member of the bridal party entered a candlelit reception as Madelyne, my flatmate and ‘inseparable twin’ from Cedarvale, announced them. When I got my first peek at the hall I was amazed at how beautiful it had all turned out. The wedding cake took my breath away (I hadn’t seen it before we got to the reception). So perfect ~ wow!
At the reception my husband had the chance to tell our story and share how God had led us each step of the way. The culmination of it all was here. God had been our match maker and wedding coordinator. Now we look forward to a life together in His service.
This article first appeared in Youth Challenger, published by www.sdarm.org.au.
See our wedding photos here.