Friday, April 4th, my dreams came true—a beautiful, godly woman, Theresa Olson said yes to spending the rest of her life with me. I am excited about our future as we work to see Jesus’ Name glorified in the ends of the earth. The past two years and seven months of dating have been the most difficult yet wonderful of my life.
How Theresa and I Met
I met Theresa in January of 2009 during her time in our short-term internship called Fire in the Night. When one of my friends suggested her to me, I told her, “Theresa isn’t my type”. After her internship, Theresa joined full-time staff. I came in early often for my Nightwatch prayer time and Theresa would be busy working. Every now and then, we talked. Slowly, I began to notice her consistent devotion to the Lord and that she was really pretty. At the same time, I became good friends with her brother, Mark. He is working on a strategy to take down abortion. One day, Mark told me his parents were coming into town. I asked him if I could go to dinner to meet them. However, I had ulterior motives: if I were to pursue Theresa, meeting her parents would come in handy. Theresa likes to tell people “I snuck in to family dinner.”
In the summer of 2011, I began slowly pursing her. It is amazing how much God was involved in the process! She just happened to go to a leader for advice that has been a primary pastor in my life for the past twelve years. This same leader has continued to counsel us throughout our relationship.
At that time, the Nightwatch decided to give staff the option of shifting our schedule. I decided to try it. Since Theresa was already trying it, I decided to make my move. I asked her if she would help me switch by keeping me up until 8am. We went to a coffee shop and had an incredible time laughing and talking together. Next thing I knew, it was noon! It felt like no time had passed at all!
Haiti- A Season of Long Distance
Finally, after two weeks of hanging out almost daily, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told her that I liked her and asked if we could date. Theresa had prayed many years before that when she met her husband they would have a season of long distance so that she could learn the “patient endurance of the Lord”. A month after we started dating, I left for two and a half months of missions in Haiti. Within two weeks of dating, I knew that I loved her. I said to myself, “If love is a choice, then I am choosing to love Theresa.”
While I was in Haiti, instead of drifting apart, our affections for each other began growing exponentially. We talked over Skype regularly and I wrote her letters sending them back to the United States with missions teams to be mailed. To pass the time, Theresa gave me a puzzle with pictures of special moments from our month of dating.
When I got back from Haiti, I was ready to marry her! We went to my parent’s house for Christmas. While in Texas, I took her on a walk and, at the advice of my brother-in-law, told her that I felt like our relationship was heading to marriage. When I told her, she agreed. I thought for sure we were heading off in to the blissful sunset of married love.
Two Years of Perseverance
Excited about Theresa’s response, I immediately met my with that same leader. I told her my plans to marry Theresa by the end of that year. My heart sank as she told me that was not a good idea. She saw some issues in both of our lives that needed to be worked out before we got married. Determined, I continued down the path to my blissfully romantic ideal. Little did I know that the bottom was about to drop out of that ideal.
Almost immediately after my worship leader told me we needed to slow down, Theresa and I began to have problems and conflict. This began to bring every one of my insecurities to the surface. I wondered whether we really would make it. I remembered, “love is a choice.”
Humbling Myself To Let God Change Me
During the first year, I began to realize that my angry reactions were slowly destroying our relationship. I needed help. I turned to an older man at IHOPKC who pastors many young couples. I began meeting with him regularly. He told me, “Jonathan, you have to cry out to God and ask him to deliver you—not just once but over and over again until this breaks.” I remembered what the Word says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) A few days later, I got on my face and cried out to Jesus, “Lord, I have been proud. You have had to resist me. I need your help! Please deliver me from anger.” Slowly, God helped me and I began to change.
Judgment—I’m Reaping What I’m Sowing
Many years before, my mom suggested I read a book by James B. Richard called How to Stop the Pain. I saw it on my bookshelf and began reading it. The book talks about Matthew 7:1,2, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” I began to realize this passage was not saying that if I judge people God will judge me but rather that if I judge others people will judge me. Later, Richard shares about Luke 6:38, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” I had always heard this passage used to teach on money. In context, however, it is not talking about money at all. It is talking about judgment. I began to realize that I had been sowing judgment in my relationship with Theresa and I was beginning to reap what I had sowed. I realized, “If I sow judgment I will reap judgment: pressed down shaking together and running over. If I sow love I will reap love, pressed down, shaken together and running over.” I determined in my heart to sow love and mercy in our relationship.
Sneaking to Minneapolis to Ask Theresa’s Dad
I just couldn’t take it any more! I knew that I loved Theresa and I had to do something to move forward towards marrying her. On a ministry trip, I snuck over to Minneapolis to meet Theresa’s parents at the airport. I asked Mr. Olson if I could marry his daughter. He gave me his blessing.
Ministering in Haiti Together
This past January was a real turning point in our relationship. Theresa went with me to minister in Haiti. After seeing all that God had done in both of us, I knew it was finally time to ask her.
A Secret Message in a Puzzle
I began to plan the proposal asking one of Theresa’s friends for advice. We thought to use Theresa’s own idea to pass the time—a puzzle! When I received the puzzle from the manufacture, without her knowing it, I took out pieces of a secret message to her.
Quickly after Theresa started putting the puzzle together she realized that a whole section of the puzzle was missing. I lied. I know we aren’t supposed to lie but maybe we could classify it as “acting”. I began to go on rants about the terrible company who gypped us of a whole section of the puzzle. I promised if she took time to put the puzzle together I would send a picture to them and get us a new one.
Getting The Ring
Last year, Theresa had found a ring she “loved”. I went back to the shop, but, unfortunately, they no longer made the ring. Saddened, I began to look into getting the ring custom made. A friend of mine connected me with a jeweler who loves IHOPKC. The ring he made was WAY more beautiful then the ring we originally saw. I thanked God for His kindness and prepared to ask her!
The Freezing Cold Proposal
So, many men have told me that your proposal never turns out like you plan. I went on a “three day” camping trip to hopefully throw Theresa off to the timing of the proposal. On my second night, I texted her asking if I could make her breakfast by the lake. I picked her up the next morning and she was in a bad mood. I thought to myself, “This is going to be interesting!” As soon as we got out of the car, huge gusts of freezing wind hit us. Shivering she told me, “I don’t know if I can do this.” I gave her my coat hoping she would hang in there.
After breakfast, I gave her “a package” from the puzzle company. She told me, “We are NOT putting this puzzle together in this freezing cold.” She told me her feet were freezing. I said, “I’ll give you my socks!” She finally relented opening the box from the company. I had forged a letter from the company apologizing for the missing pieces. She poured out the pieces and we began assembling the secret message, “Will you marry me?” I got down on one knee telling her, “Theresa I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you.” I asked her if she would marry me. She said yes!
All of the sudden, she wasn’t cold anymore! She ran around happily. After two years and seven months of dating she thought the day would never come. We are so excited to be getting married this August! Here we go!
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