Stephanie and Matt’s Engagement Story

Squeals burst in the front door: my sister, golden hair bouncing, her left hand held out for all to admire the sparkle.


She was wearing love.

Matt, her new fiancé, tumbled in just behind, radiant.

The family had gathered to feast, tipped to the secret and awaiting the couple, ready to toast, ready to bless.

They told their story in the dining room sitting side by side, my children draped across their laps, drinking joy.

“Honey, tell them the story of the ring first,” Stephanie gushed.

Matt told of the desire to buy a ring that was more than he could afford, yearning for her to fully comprehend her worth to him.

Family, friends had all been praying, pounding heaven for a man who would fight for the one we knew was luminous.

Four years before, Stephanie had been abandoned by a husband who refused to set down his pornography addiction in order to love a real person.  The cocaine-like high drove him over and over to the computer screen until he became consumed, stopped fighting for his marriage.  Etched on her heart was the statement that she wasn’t worth enough (to keep His love, to keep His desire, to be fought for) and the lie burrowed deep.

She fled to the cross.  Exhausted from chasing, searching, bleeding, she laid down in the cross’ shadow, for deep draughts of unconditional love, for healing, for covering, and for slate-sweeping forgiveness.

The Santa Ana warm wind of the Holy Spirit blew and rewarded her leaning into Him hard.  Full-power Resurrection slowly rebuilt, sculpted, and uprooted crippling lies.

For four years I’ve had a front seat, watched the cocoon waiting, the painful chrysalis disintegration, the strain of the emerging new life, then the fierce beating of delicate wings.  Four years of hard work with counselors and inner healing prayer, and now, she stands kaleidoscopic art.  (Stephanie, sister, I am so proud of your hard work!  You are regal, compassionate, your wounds given for the healing of others.)

But, yes, now back to the ring.  For months she had been walking into Matt’s house and seeing kenosis at work: God-fueled love self-emptying.  Literally.

Month by month she watched his house get more and more bare.  A movie night with friends moved to her apartment because, as she found out, he no longer had a couch.  Then during a dinner at his place for a small group, Stephanie walks past Matt’s room and is shocked by the starkness, his dresser gone, his bed missing, her eyes resting on a pile of blankets crumpled on the floor for him to sleep on.

All this in order to clearly translate to Stephanie: “I will fight for you.”

Looking into each other’s eyes deep, they gushed with stories, and we wept, for joy and for the truth… for the small light-bursting reflection of Him who fights…for me, for you.

Jesus, God-full power Himself, left the perfect of heaven, submitted himself to total vulnerability, was born a newborn in poverty, and then driven by a mission to rescue us from our sinful chaos.

Finally, he lay down on the cross, rejected his supernatural powers and authority over the universe in order to have nails hammered into hands and feet, oxygen slowly stolen from collapsing lungs.

He refused to let death/hell/shame/fear steal anything more from our lives.

The cross became the most profound love letter ever written.  He was willing to sell everything, to be covered with our sin and shame, to lay down heaven, comfort, even his very life to clearly mouth: “I choose you.”

The truth is, resurrection and ascension and 2000 years have passed and He hasn’t stopped.

He still fights to clearly enunciate love and the possibility of a an eternal future full of life – – in a language you will best understand

…to redeem your story too.

Summer Gross

You may also like


  1. Tears of joy are streaming down my face. What a beautiful description of such an incredible woman. You girls are amazing!!!

  2. Oh Summer! This absolutely and truly took my breath away! Your message through your sister’s precious story ministered to my heart. What spectacular writing! Image after image–spillin’ and drippin’! I have a brother for whom we are all “pounding heaven” and praying for the Lord to send him a precious jewel. This gives me hope and this was a fresh, crisp reminder of my Savior’s deep love for me. Thank you for sharing! Congratulations to your sister and her darling fiance.

    1. Hi Friend,
      Stephanie did four/five years of work with a fabulous Christian counselor and then worked with Terry Wardle’s inner healing prayer seminars. So proud of her continuous hard work! But, she began reading a henry cloud (of Boundaries fame) book called: How to get a date worth keeping. Awesome book of the hard work of looking for a mate. She recommends it whenever she can. Keep praying, sister!

  3. Thanks, Summer! I am one of Matty’s (and now Stephanie’s!) friends and I really appreciate this “inside look” at their engagement:) Matty is truly an amazing man and I could tell from the first time meeting her that Stephanie is a beautiful, beautiful woman in all senses of the word…perfect for each other! I look so forward to following after Jesus with both of them and meeting you at the wedding! My husband is a groomsmen so July 22, here we come!!!!!!!:)

  4. Wow. when i first read this i cried “God, why did you bless me with these 3 wonderful children?” But He did and i say thank you!! God knows the plan. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to meet you! Elizabeth (mom)

  5. Steph, I am so happy for you and I am looking forward to meeting your man.

    Summer, you did a fabulous job and what a blessing for us to have such an awesome Savior to serve!

  6. Summer, this is so loving and lovely…so utterly touching.
    What a picture of true love…the kind we all long for and mostly only get from the savior.

    I can send you some articles. I have Interludes down here and will look.


  7. I still can not read this without crying. and i haven’t read it in awhile because of this. I have been above the clouds with love and excitement for Matthew and Stephanie!! We can’t wait for the “girl of our dreams” for Matthew to get married. what a great weekend it will be!! EP and RP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *