Going to the Chapel

Yesterday was the day my boyfriend of 11 months proposed to me.

Everything was absolutely perfect, I was sooo surprised and I am beyond excited to become Mrs. Sarah Miller to the man of my dreams. (Definitely just got butterflies typing out my soon-to-be last name!). The Lord is so good to me!

I know this is a sewing blog, but I thought I’d make an exception and write about something a little off topic, just this once 🙂 .

I have never been the girl to dream about my wedding day.

I have been the girl, who dreamt about being a wife, mom and help meet to a husband one day (read: as soon as legally possible). In fact, I was obsessed with the idea.

In fact, I was obsessed with the idea.

From the time I was a teen, wanted to be a young bride and have a whole bunch of beautiful babies (ok, if I’m honest I still want that!).
My sovereign Lord had different plans for me; though I fought against Him at every twist and turn, He patiently drew me to Himself and refined my desires.

Amazing grace, how can it be?

Graduating high school, my family was navigating between the advantages and disadvantages of college. I (thought) I really wanted to be a nurse (a.k.a. I wanted to fall in love with a wounded soldier), and my patient dad decided the best idea would be for me to attend a community college. I lasted for the grand total of one whole week.
(After crashing a car 2 times and being instructed under a foul-mouthed professor, Dad and Mom wisely decided this was not the route for their homeschooled, innocent daughter).
Enter: embarrassment, broken dreams and loneliness. My oldest sister decided at the last minute to attend a Bible college in Wisconsin. I stayed behind. I think that was the hardest part for me- feeling “left behind”. (Wow, I am so selfish!)

Again, God had something bigger.

Meanwhile, I was able to help my mom around the house, my relationships with my 6 little brothers grew stronger and I assisted the birth and growth of two puppy litters (whew!).
I also threw myself into my sewing business (I was making personalized purses at the time- no teaching yet!), which was extremely beneficial for me, futuristically.

God is so good.

It felt like an eternity, but a year later, I followed my best friend and sister to the small Bible college in Dunbar, Wisconsin; this time I knew my fantasy of obtaining that MRS. degree was bound to happen. No wounded soldiers this time, I wanted a Pastor!

Although I did gain wonderful friendships and the confidence that I could be a really good teacher (surely passion could make up for what I lacked in mathematical abilities!), no MR. was in sight.

After that first year in Bible college, my dad and mom wisely noted it was not the best idea for me to finish my degree in an expensive school, when it was clear my focus was on sewing rather than studying. How thankful I am they saw the God-given gifts I had elsewhere!
At the time though, my rebellious heart schemed for ways I could sign up for college and “be free” to make my own choices.
After I turned 21, my selfishness became a depression that hit in waves. My identity was not in Christ, which lead to worthlessness… hopelessness.
Never having dated officially, I just knew I was destined to become an old maid.

“This is it!” I despaired. “No job and no man”.

“This is it!” I despaired. “No job and no man”.

I mourned this fact until the day I plotted to prove to my parents I wanted to become a teacher, for real.
“I’ll teach sewing lessons and make money for college, and then my parents will know I am serious about this!”

For one whole day I stayed inspired with this “perfect plan”, and even posted an ad on a random site saying I was offering sewing lessons.

6 months went by with no hits.

Meanwhile, we were in the midst of building a house and moving. Life was all about paint color and freshly sown grass.

I don’t remember the date, but I’ll never forget what happened to me: the Lord grabbed a hold of my wretched heart.
I was driving home from the grocery store, and begged Jesus to just take away my rebellion toward my parent’s wishes. I cried and prayed, knowing that He was in total control of my life, but I had to give Him the reigns.

But, like Gideon, I wanted a sign.
I prayed that God would give me a clear answer that teaching sewing was what I should do, and if He could give me that sign, I would do it- no looking back.
Not even an hour went by, and I received a phone call.

Someone wanted sewing lessons! I talked to the woman and started tearing up I was so excited. My very first “potential student” ever had contacted me.

IT IS THE SIGN! I thought.
Not even 15 minutes passed, and I received another call. A second potential student!? No way!
This continued until a total of 5 potential students in ONE DAY had called me. God always answers prayer, and He answered mine with a “yes”!

God always answers prayer, and He answered mine with a “yes”!

The Lord Jesus had His Hand on me and my business; it is only because of His glory, goodness and grace that I can do what I love and love what I do every day.
You would think this would have helped me trust Him in the area of finding my soul mate.

I’m ashamed to say, it did not.

When I hit 23, I despaired. Yes, I had a great job. But no boyfriend (ever)? What was wrong with me? Satan is the master of deception, and he even used Godly influences in my life to discourage me.
“You don’t get out enough!”

“It’s too bad you can’t try college again… how are you ever going to meet any body?”

“Say yes to every single guy who asks you to dinner!”

“Online is the only way to do it nowadays.”
I listened to everyone’s advice.

All the Bible studies with potential suitors? You better believe I was there!

eHarmony, Match.com, Christian Mingle? I could write the book on “how to end that awkward first date”.
Finally, it all hit a breaking point when my dad and brothers had to intervene and kick some jerk out of my life, and my dad asked me to please stop with the “desperate dating”.
Dad told me, “Sarah, I don’t want you to look back on your singleness with regret. The Lord wants you to get married. You are going to get married. Trust Him with your future.”

He then, uncharacteristically, told me about something similar he had been through- and that he wished someone would have said those same words to him.
The Holy Spirit convicted me that day. I stopped trying. Cold turkey.
I stopped trying to meet “potentials”.
I stopped saying yes to dates.
I stopped all my online dating profiles.
But, I didn’t stop serving my family.
I didn’t stop working hard and loving my students God blessed me with. I didn’t stop praying.

I didn’t stop praying.

Then, July 31, 2015, I met him.
Jacob Gordon Miller (the second).
Does this all sounds cliche and what EVERYONE says, or what?!

“As soon as I stopped searching, God brought the right one into my life!”
Oh how I hated it when people told me that! How do you stop searching or caring about your future mate?! I did not stop caring, I can assure you.

But, God did change my heart and my desire turned from “I need to get married right now!” to “what do you want for me, Lord? Here am I, send me.” I’m also not saying this to give everyone the magic formula to find yourself a hubby or wifey.

I’m also not saying this to give everyone the magic formula to find yourself a hubby or wifey.

I just wanted to share my love story with the hope of encouraging Christians to wait on the Lord and trust in His perfect timing in all things.
Every saved person has a different trial the Lord brings them through; molding them to be more and more like Jesus.

Amazing love how can it be… that Jesus, my Lord would die for me?

Anyway, back to Jacob Miller.

I met him at a wedding.

Remember that Bible college I told you about? My friend I met from there, Krysti, was getting married, and Jake was one of the groomsmen. Jane and I drove to Michigan together and were so excited to be able to attend their beautiful wedding.

Of course, I wanted a selfie of Jane and myself, until I realized that our outfits were totally adorable and I wanted someone to get a full body shot. As I am looking around for an innocent bystander, I see this cute, football player type, dark haired man… and he was looking at me too.

I proceeded to stare at him with my mouth wide opened.

“Sarah you are staring at that guy with your mouth wide open!” Jane bumped me out of my daze and I’m totally embarrassed. He was so good looking, I couldn’t help myself!

The wedding and reception continued and Jane kept whispering “Sarah, he is looking at you!”

It turns out, he was.

We only got a chance to talk for a little bit, but apparently it was enough because he called me up almost right when I got home from the wedding. I could not get over the fact that our 2 hour conversation felt like 5 minutes. We totally clicked.

The Lord has His perfect timing though, and we didn’t end up talking again until 6 months later.

But, I had Jake’s promise after our 2 hour conversation: “No matter what, you are going to be the girl I marry”.
“This guy is crazy!” I thought.

(Little did I know just how crazy! Dating Jake Miller has been an adventure, to say the least).

Jake and I officially started dating on February 7th, 2016.

I keep a prayer journal, and though I’m not regular with it, I recently read through my 2015 one, and on November 27, 2015, I prayed this prayer:

It just so happens to be that November 27th is Jake’s birthday! I love these sweet remembrances of Christ caring about the smallest details.

January 21, 2017:

The day was planned to start with brunch- my absolute favorite meal of the day.
And that was ALL I knew.

Unbeknownst to me, Jake had met with my Dad the day before, and asked for my hand in marriage. My dad gave an “absolute yes” to the man who builds me up and loves me so evidently.

Jake carved our first initials, my future last name and our favorite verse’s reference in a tree a few miles from my family’s property.

He planned for his family and my family to meet all of us at brunch. Family traveled from Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin to be there for our special day. I have never felt so loved in my life!

He had his sister and my cousin hide with cameras on the site where he’d pop the question.

He had a small box with a gorgeous diamond ring in his coat pocket.

I had my nails done, thinking it was  because my sister wanted a  “girl’s day” before leaving for a business trip to Germany.

I also got dressed up in a new outfit I specifically bought for the brunch. (Jake was supposed to be heading back to college right afterwards, and I wanted him to remember me looking beautiful for him!)

Around 9:10 a.m., we are in his truck, driving to brunch, listening to a sweet song and reminiscing on the fun Christmas break we’ve had together. Suddenly Jake is like,
“ya know what I’ve always wanted to do? Carve our initials into a tree!”

I definitely have told him I have wanted to do that before, too, but my poor man has memory issues so I just say,
“Wow, me too! It’s so romantic.”

“We should do it!” He says.


I’m starting to think of trees in my life that would possibly be special to me. It’s just not something I’ve thought too much about before!

Suddenly Jake spies a tree and stops the truck.

“That one is perfect! Let’s do it right now, I have all of my tools with me!”

I look down at my cute dress and new boots (got them 50 percent off! 🙂 ) and I’m starting to think, well I’m all cute right now, I don’t want to get sweaty and muddy… we are late to brunch, and Daniel (my brother) and Katie (Jake’s sister) are going to be on us about not being punctual again… (they are dating and we go on double dates all the time, but Jake and I are constantly the “late ones” and we are really working on getting better about it.)

But I look at Jake’s cute face and he is so excited about this tree, that I’m all, “ok let’s do it!”

Also, Jake has huge muscles and I’m positive he could get the carving done in less than 15 minutes
Jake jumps out of the car, when I go:

“Wait, I need a tool too! No way you are carving this without me!”

So Jake gives me a flat headed screwdriver.


At this point, I’m positive he thinks I don’t know how to carve in a tree. Seriously? I grew up with 6 brothers!

I still have no idea what is going on.

We both hop the fence and head on over to the perfect tree.
I am ahead and I see Jake’s carving, but have no idea what it actually says so I’m just like, “Jake, someone took our tree!”

“Jake, someone took our tree!”

At this point, Jake is behind me on one knee and I have NO IDEA! I even turned around at one point!

“Who could have carved this?” I say.
I proceed to read the carving:

“‘SET Miler Alms 37: H’. What does that mean, do you think?”

Meanwhile, Jake is trying to clarify what the carving says:

“It’s ‘S and J’”

(he repeats 4-6 times).

I continue to wonder out loud who carved into the tree.

Me: “It’s really fresh, it must have been done recently.”

Jake: “It’s ‘S and J’”.

Me: “Oh look! This part actually says, ‘Miller’! We could put S and J here, next to this word! How perfect!”

Jake: “It’s ‘S and J’”.

Me: “you’re right, we could put ‘S and J’ right here!”

Finally, it dawned on me that this is a very fresh carving, and it does not spell ‘SET Miler Salm 37:H’, it spells ‘S & J Miller Psalms 37:4’.

Me: “Oh Jake! You carved it for me!”

And then I turn around, and see my adorable, brown-eyed man on one knee.

And all I can say is, “IT’S HAPPENING!”


He tells me that he loves me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me, Sarah Dawn (spoken in a thick Jersey accent, of course!) VanWingerden.

Meanwhile, I’ve already interrupted his speech with a hug, and “oh my word”, “oh my word!”, “are you serious?!!”

I was convinced he was joking!

He was definitely not joking!
I definitely said yes!

He slid the most gorgeous ring on my finger, and we had the most perfect day celebrating with the dearest ones in our life: his family and mine. Ours.

I love this man with all of my heart.

The Lord completely handpicked him for me- gifting me with a man whose qualities I didn’t even realize I needed!

He is a man of God. He is strong in his convictions and desires to honor Christ in everything he does, which is portrayed in his daily life.

He is a humble man, which was even evident to me on our first date, and was the first thing I really liked about him. I actually never hear directly from him about the really cool things he does- others fill me in.

Jake is the most patient man I know. I am emotional (up and down and all around!). I KNOW I drive my friends and family crazy- I even drive myself crazy! But Jake remains my rock. No one makes me feel as secure and safe as he does. He takes away my stress and loves me unconditionally.

Little did I know, instead of a wounded soldier or a pastor; I  would fall head over heels in love with a hard working, super cute plumber.

Psalm 37:4 was our favorite verse:

““Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭

I love this man with all of my heart. The Lord completely handpicked him for me. Jake is perfect for me in every way. Again, God answered my every request with a yes- I even got those gorgeous brown eyes and that strong football player body!

He told me his list for what he wanted in a wife was that she could “make the best chocolate chip cookies ever”.

I am relieved mine passed the test! (All thanks to my mom, for teaching me that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach).

3 thoughts on “Going to the Chapel”

  1. Congratulations! Our Heavenly Father gives us what/who we need at just the right time. May He bless your marriage in many ways and you both be a continuous light. We rejoice with you! Love, The Masons

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