I wish I could have kept this to 1 post but there’s too many good parts that I just can’t leave out.
If you haven’t read Escaping a Cult Part 1 or 2 you should read those first. You can do so here.
As you can see the response was ugly.
Tyler ended up writing a heartfelt letter basically asking them to take a step back and let us live our lives.
While they all had bets that I was pregnant and living in sin like I was some crack whore I tried to move forward with my life.
Now they didn’t just think I was jumping off the deep end because I moved away and started dating a boy. I had also gotten a tattoo, pierced my nose, and started drinking when I turned 21. So yeah, I gave them plenty of stuff to gossip about.
While I was trying to navigate this new part of my life I was falling deeper and deeper in love with Tyler. It wasn’t long before we knew we wanted to get married. At one point I was even willing to forgo the ring and just go to the courthouse. He was fresh out of ministry school and I had just quit college, so we were far from rolling in the dough. The reality of him being able to afford a ring any time soon was slim to none.
Nevertheless, we still went to places like Kay’s and window shopped. I took the time to point out what I like and what I didn’t, and I even made sure to point out several times that I didn’t like the vintage look.
One night as I sat at work I started talking to a co-worker and asked her where she got her wedding ring at. She started to tell me this cool story about how it was a family heirloom. In my head I told the Lord, I would really love a family heirloom ring that holds a special story and whole bunch of meaning.
After work Tyler called me and asked if he could take me out. At first, I commented about how tired I was, and I really just wanted to go to sleep. He begged me so I said yes. He came and picked me up (by this time he had got a car) and drove me to a state park area covered in trees and green grass. When we got there, he opened his trunk and pulled out a basket full of cheese, crackers, meat, wine, and candles. This boy was going all out.
As we sat across from each other I made the comment that he went over the top for this date and then it clicked. I looked up with a shocked look only to see the biggest grin on his face and him reaching into his pocket. I said, “No way! Shut up!” Mind you, had hadn’t even said anything by this point.
While my mind is running a million miles an hour, he gets up and walks around to me and kneels down on one knee. He then opens up a little box revealing a beautiful vintage ring and says, “Laci, will you marry me?” I responded with, “Did you ask my father.” He rolled his eyes, said of course, and then I screamed YES!
After we hug and cry and scream for a few minutes he says, “I know you don’t like vintage rings, but this is a family heirloom from my mom and it’s about 100 years old.” WHAT?? Are you kidding me? I had just asked the Lord for a family heirloom ring 4 hours earlier and now here we are. I then had to tell Tyler this story and clarify what I meant by vintage. You see, I like vintage rings, not new rings made to look vintage. I love things that come with a story and a history, so this ring was more than perfect. Poor guy walked around for two weeks with that ring listening to me talk about how I didn’t like the vintage rings in the stores.
As we are sitting there with permanent grins on our faces, I looked up shocked once again and said, “No way!” He looked at me and said, “Is this on your list?” (Yes, I had told him all about my ‘What I Want In A Husband’ list but refused to let him see it or know what was on it.)
Well this was on my list. I had prayed for years that I would be proposed to underneath the stars and here I was. The kindness of the Lord to care about the simple things was so overwhelming for me in that moment. Especially when I found out that he had planned multiple other ways to propose but every single one of them kept not working out. This was his back up of back up plans, but the Lord new what he was doing.
ASKING MY DAD FOR MY HAND IN MARRIAGE
Now let me tell you a funny story about this proposal. I grew up in Texas, so honor and respect run deep. I had told Tyler multiple times that he had to ask my dad’s permission before he could propose. He knew this was very important to me, so he snuck my phone and got my parent’s numbers out of it. Next, he proceeded to call my dad only to get his voicemail because my dad doesn’t answer the phone for numbers he doesn’t know. Funny thing is my dad doesn’t check his voicemail. This left Tyler frustrated to say the least.
After he tried calling a few times with no answer he called my mom and told her what was going on. She told him she would have my dad answer the next time he called. Well, my wonderful mom didn’t pass along the message. Next thing you know my dad is thumbing through the phone book trying to figure out who in the world kept trying to call him. Finally, my mom, still not making the connection, told him to just answer the next time the number called.
The day Tyler proposed he said if my dad didn’t answer he was going to call it quits and propose anyway. Thankfully that was the day my dad finally answered the phone. I’m so glad he did because Tyler gained some major brownie points by being the only man to ask for one of his daughter’s hand in marriage. Respect is important for my dad and in that moment that’s exactly what Tyler showed him.
After we got engaged, I dealt with another onslaught of ridicule from The Ministry until I finally deleted everyone from Facebook and tried to move on with my life.
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THE GIFTED DRESS
Now let’s get into the wedding. This is the fun part of the story.
So, Tyler and I met on June 6th and got married on October 29th. Yep, from the day we met to the day we got married was just over 4.5 months. When you know, you know.
Now as a kid I never dreamed of having a big wedding. If we couldn’t afford to go on vacations, then there was no way we could afford some fancy shindig. When I did think of my wedding I thought of some small backyard, finger food, hand me down dress kind of day. Little did I know that was going to be far from what my wedding was going to be like.
As we started to make plans my husband’s parents blessed us in a huge way by covering the finances for the majority of the wedding. Then we had blessing after blessing pour in. One of which was mind blowing.
We all know wedding dresses can be expensive so the thought of buying one was stressing me out. I looked and looked but couldn’t find anything I liked or in a price range I could remotely afford. Then my mother in laws friend offered for me to come to her house and pick out a wedding dress from her closet for free. You see, she used to own a bridal shop and when she sold it, she kept a handful of the dresses and had slowly been gifting them to soon-to-be-brides.
I was given free rein to the closet and could choose any dress I wanted. Even though I chose the simplest one, that I still love to this day, I was shocked when I looked at the price tag. Even in my day dreams I never envisioned paying that much for a dress and here I stood being given one at absolutely no cost to me. Talk about a blessing.
In the midst of wedding planning a friend of ours found out that we weren’t planning a honeymoon because the funds just weren’t there. A week or so before our wedding he gave us a card and in it was our Honeymoon plans and reservations fully paid for. Once again, another blessing and showering of love that made us beyond thankful for our community of friends.
Now let’s jump forward to my wedding day!
On the day of the wedding my mother-in-law was informed that the person in charge of table clothes had forgotten to order them. Now you may be thinking that table clothes aren’t that important, but when you’re using tables that look like they were used by 6 year old’s at an art camp, you need table clothes. My mother-in-law in all her panic of trying to figure out where she could find tables clothes for a wedding, on a Saturday, in just a few hours decided the best thing to do was call her friend. At the time she didn’t know why she wanted to do this, but it was all she had.
So, as she stood in line at Starbucks (in the middle of Albertsons) she proceeded to tell her friend all about the tablecloth catastrophe. As she neared the end of the story the lady in front of her turned around and said, “I can help you.”
She told her friend she would call her back and hung up the phone. Apparently, this lady knew someone who owned a party rental place and could get her table clothes that day. She then wrote down the persons information and phone number on a little piece of paper. My mother-in-law thanked her a million times over, got her coffee, and left for her hair appointment.
When she got to the hair appointment, she reached for the piece of paper to make the phone call only to find that the paper was nowhere to be found. In a panic she left (hair not done) and went straight back to the store. As she got to the trashcan hoping that someone found it and threw it away the lady from the line walked up to her. Not only was she still there by some crazy miracle, but she handed my mother-in-law $100 to help cover the cost of the table clothes. Now if that doesn’t make you see the goodness and kindness of the Lord then I can’t help you.
THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE
The rest of the wedding day went along without too many hiccups. Besides Tyler forgetting his wedding ring at our apartment and only realizing shortly before the ceremony started. Thankfully his dad let us use his ring as a prop for the ceremony.
The ceremony was beautiful with worship, our family praying over us, and vows that made me melt. The reception was a huge party with friends dancing, lots of laughter, and even a birthday celebration for our best man. I know I’m probably biased but it’s still the best wedding I’ve ever been to.
The best part was that I got to experience my wedding and come into a marriage completely free from the ministry. Not one time during the day was I worried about the feelings of the few members from The Ministry’ that actually showed up to my wedding. I didn’t care that they saw me drink a glass of wine, dance to secular music, or even could see the fresh tattoo on my foot and cute little stud I had in my nose. I knew where my heart was, and I knew the marriage I was getting into was designed by God. Their opinion didn’t matter or bother me. That feeling and sense of freedom was beautiful and worth it.
For the first time in my life I wasn’t worried about what others thought of me or my choices I aligned myself with God and the rest didn’t matter. I was FREE!!
Tyler and I have been married for 9 years and we didn’t have kids till we were together for 3 so some people defiantly lost some bets on me being pregnant at the wedding.
I walked into this marriage battered and bruised. Honestly, I should have had some major trust issues with church leadership from then on out, but I didn’t. The Lord covered me, guided me, and put just the right people in my path to help me walk out of the cult and into a healthy and freeing relationship with God and others.
I never questioned our marriage even though many people on the outside had been screaming their disproval. I knew my heart, I knew Tyler’s, and most importantly I could see God’s hand working in our relationship in beautiful ways.
Over the years God has placed specific people in our path and allowed us to speak into their lives through our marriage. It was beautiful to see that the example I always wanted I had now become. Just 2 years after we got married, I started a new job and one of my coworkers was a young High School girl. We clicked right away and developed a sweet friendship. As our relationship grew, she began to ask me question after question about our marriage and God. Day after day I got to pour into her life and guide her to find what she really wanted in a marriage. Now today she is happily married to a sweet, kind, and Jesus loving man.
Seeing the Lord use our marriage in ways like this continually blows me away. It reminds me that our past doesn’t get to dictate our future and beauty can still rise from the ashes.