I had the pleasure of meeting with this beautiful, Godly and humble young lady today. We are so excited to have a part in their wedding. Here is their engagement story in her own words. . .grab a tissue!
In December of 2013, exactly a year ago, I was 17 years old…a 17 year old girl who had never had a boyfriend and never even kissed a boy. Writing this, exactly a year later, I am engaged, and not to just anyone, but John Luke Robertson…the most incredible and loving young man I have ever known. Yes, in case you were wondering it blows my mind too! How in the world could this happen? Who could have ever imagined this? Well definitely not me, but I can tell you who could. God. It was definitely by the grace and goodness of God that I am where I am today, and I am who I am today. He had such a greater plan in mind then I could have ever even dreamed of!
It all started in the summer of 2011 at King’s Camp in Mer Rouge, Lousiana. This particular Christian camp had been a part of my life for many summers, but this was actually John Luke’s first year to attend. You see, his family has their own church camp in the same area that they help run, and so JL spent most of his time in the summer there helping life guard and lead the younger children. So it was kind of a big deal that he was leaving his usual camp! Totally a God thing. This was pre-Duck Dynasty John Luke, by the way! I was going into my sophomore year at Delhi Charter and JL was about to start his freshman year at Ouachita Christian. There were boy cabins and girl cabins, and one of each would pair up together, and it must have been fate that our cabins happened to be together. So throughout the week we got to know each other through fun and games, all the while having our focus on God as we both learned more about Him and grew in our personal walks with Christ.
Our first real one-on-one conversation happened as we both represented our team by competing in (of all things) a wall-sit competition. To get our mind off the pain we just started talking. He told me about his sister, Sadie, and little did I know that one day she would not only be my sister-in-law, but my best friend.
The week finally came to an end and we said our good-byes. To be honest, nothing more than a sweet friendship came out of that week. Of course I thought he was a cutie, but he was a grade under me and that was weird for a 15 year old to even consider (I had no idea he was actually older than me!). As the second semester of my sophomore year came around, my parents decided they wanted my sister and I to transfer schools. So my junior year we finally made the move that my dad had always hoped and prayed for to Ouachita Christian, also known as, OCS, also known as John Luke’s school. What a crazy thing that was! Not only were we moving to a school where I could count the people I knew on one hand, but also moving into a temporary house an hour away from our real home and everything we had ever known.
Not long after I had sat down by myself in homeroom on my first day, in waltzed John Luke Robertson (with a broken arm) like he owned the place…I mean, he had gone to OCS since he was three! As we caught up, another “God thing” happened…we got placed right beside each other in the seating chart. Crazy, right?! Due to him having a broken arm, he was very limited in what he could do in school. That next week he asked if I could help him write a paper since he physically could not. Next thing I know he was at my house for so long one afternoon that I basically had to push him out so I could go to sleep! Due to other relationships though we could not even consider dating and I accepted that fact. It was simply not in God’s plans at that moment, so we made the best of our friendship by telling stories everyday in class and “helping” each other with schoolwork (basically him copying my homework when he forgot to do his). Not to mention, we had so many awesome conversations about Christ and gave each other spiritual advice.
Throughout that school year and into the next, our friendship grew and, subconsciously (or maybe even consciously) our feelings did too. But I would not admit that I liked him, because honestly I had made myself believe that I didn’t for the sake of someone else. BUT along the way, John Luke ventured into a mission with me! We were determined to grow my youth group at my old, small-town church, so every Wednesday night we would make the hour drive to Delhi together to introduce new songs and discuss the Bible. Due to crazy schedules and massive amounts of homework, we just couldn’t afford to drive two hours every Wednesday, so that mission had to come to a halt. So it really only made sense that I start visiting his church! By the winter of 2013, he was openly pursuing, but funny enough I kept turning him down. We had a few awkward months, but in the meantime Sadie and me were becoming really close. (Disclaimer: mine and Sadie’s friendship had nothing to do with mine and John Luke’s relationship). So you may ask, “hmmm… how in the world did they end up engaged?” Well as soon as he gave up and moved on, I realized just how crazy I was! I saw that everything that I had prayed to God for in a guy was standing right in front of me. I had 100% confidence that God would bless my faithfulness to Him, because I would settle for nothing less than God wanted for me. The Lord was telling me “Dear child, you are about to miss that blessing that I have so evidently placed in your life?” After admitting to Sadie that I liked him, I did what I had to do. JL and I had a heart-to-heart where I came clean and told him how I really felt about him. Well the shoe was on the other foot now, and I think he knew that! Instead of professing his love to me, like I would have hoped for, he put me on hold for a few weeks. Man, was that a humbling experience! But eventually he came around and within the month we were “official”. He never really asked me to be his girlfriend… the conversation went more like this:
Me: “So, John Luke, are we like dating?
JL: “Well, I like what we’re doing…”
Me: “Yea, me too…”
JL: “I mean, if we were at school and you walked in front of me and my friends, I would be like ‘yep, that’s my girl!”
So that is how that went down. March 15. The “Ides of March”. Or as Sadie likes to call it “The Iddies of March.” When asked, we say we started dating on “The Iddies.”
I graduated high school as a barely 18 year old. Summer began and before me knew it, we had become world travelers together. I mean we hit up everywhere: California, Washington, Canada, a million places in Italy, Dominican Republic, and Virginia…all in a few months. While at home we picnicked, we rode bikes, we took the boat out on the lake, we swam, we “hammocked”, we watched a million movies, and we even went sailing. I would count my first summer romance as a success.
It didn’t take us very long at all to say “I love you” and honestly talk of marriage came faster than I ever could have expected. But as I say…when you know, you know! When summer came to an end, I moved an hour away to go to college, but actually was only 30 minutes from JL’s house. I didn’t even make it through one quarter of college before he decided to propose. But I could not be happier.
October 11, 2014. The day John Luke turned 19! We had been planning for a huge celebration at his farmhouse with both of our families and close friends (seriously, how did I not see this coming?). As I drove to his house, for some reason or another, I began to pray. Oblivious to what was going to happen later that evening, I felt the urge to pray for both mine and John Luke’s families. I arrived early at his home so we could ride together to his party and also so he could open his presents from me. The house was empty as we sat together in his family room and he unwrapped his gifts. Now looking in hindsight, he did go through those presents rather quickly! Sitting on the table was a photo album he had made completely full of pictures of us… from when we first met at King’s Camp to the previous weekend when went to a festival in Austin. We laughed so hard as we flipped through the pages! I finally came to the last page as he leaned over to “put his shoes on”. There was a handwritten note stuck on the page and as I read it, it finally struck me what was going on. I noticed a page had been taped down, John Luke assisted me in flipping the page, and there was one more photograph. It was a image of the most beautiful ring I had ever seen (John Luke actually found a ring I had pinned on pinterest and took it to his cousin who is a jewelry-maker…together they went by that and designed a one-of-a-kind ring). I looked up to find him on one knee, holding the ring out, and he said “Mary Kate McEacharn, will you marry me?” Despite my shock, I managed to say yes…and then say it again about twenty more times to get my point across! As we walked outside, our youth group had made a line from the house to his jeep, while firing roman candles and cheering for us. We listened to his “She said yes!” playlist as we made the drive to the farm where we were welcomed by family and friends who were screaming and cheering while holding sparklers and hand-made posters!
That night was a night I will always remember and actually the proposal was caught on a video camera that was secretly set up by sneaky JL. It was such a wonderful celebration filled with live music, fireworks, food, cake, dancing, singing, praying, lots of laughter, and even tears of joy. Our friend Ben Rector even came and performed! But best of all is we got to share it with all the people who mean the most to us.
Being engaged has been awesome and we are counting down the days until the wedding in June. Although our families couldn’t be happier, we have received some flack for deciding to get married so young. So many people think we are not ready because we are not fully grown. But the thing is…we realize that. We don’t claim to be ready and we do not claim to be grown yet…we just decided that we want to grow up together. We want to experience this exciting part of both of our lives together! With God as our leader, we know that we can make it. A lasting marriage doesn’t depend on your age, it depends on your love for God and your love for each other, and your willingness to make it work. I honestly could not be more excited to spend the rest of my life with John Luke Robertson.