Read Part 1 here.
So we met Nichole and Kylie at the Cleveland Zoo in August 2008. In February 2009, Nichole met a guy named Darby through an internet dating site (match.com). He’s no dummy, that Darby, and took a liking to Nichole right away. A big liking. Nichole on the other hand? Not impressed.
“I gave him the major brush off,” she told me. “Major. He emailed at least twice for every one response I gave the poor guy. I thought, Alaska? Right!”
Alaska. The state Mr. Darby called home. A state that’s pretty much as far away from Ohio (and Nichole’s loving family/support team) as you can get. And the kind of work Darby did in That Great Big State Far, Far Away wasn’t something he could do in Ohio. Relocating wasn’t an option for him.
The dude was persistent (and apparently a little bit irresistible) and started growing on Nichole a little. And then a little more. And a little more.
But here’s the thing. In the months prior to “meeting” Darby, God had done some big things in Nichole’s heart. “I had surrendered completely,” she told me, “and finally decided that it was going to be okay to be single forever. That if nothing more came of my story, that I would be Kylie’s mama and love Jesus and that would be that. And I would be content.”
I know God is anything but predictable, but doesn’t it seem like he does this very thing an awful lot? Waiting until we’re content with where we are before he gives us what we’ve always longed for?
After a few months of e-mails, they started talking on the phone in June. And something was happening inside of Nichole. “One of the coolest parts (I think) is the way that God changed my heart towards this guy in Alaska,” she says.
The next logical step? “He decided he needed to come meet me.” And Nichole didn’t put up a fight. Darby flew from Alaska to Ohio, and they met at the Cleveland Airport for the first time.
He had planned on staying for an entire week, but at the end of their time together, “he couldn’t leave me, so that trip turned into three weeks,” Nichole says.
I have to insert something here that isn’t really of any consequence except that every time I use the word BIG to describe Nichole’s story, I think of Darby and have to smile. You see, my friend Nichole is a tall girl. I think I’m tall at barely 5′ 10′, but Nichole? Is at least six feet tall, maybe more. I remember being in 8th grade and desperately wishing that I wasn’t six inches taller than my boyfriend. A tall girl’s choices are narrowed down considerably if she wants to marry someone taller than her.
Mr. Darby? Six feet, nine inches. NINE. I love it. Nichole could wear six-inch spike heels if she had a notion to.
So, after two more months of being thousands of miles apart, Nichole and Kylie flew to Alaska to scope out Darby’s turf. Turns out Mr. Darby had a little something up his sleeve. This boy don’t mess around.
On August 19, 2009, he drove Nichole to a beautiful spot (I’ve seen pictures–it was perfect), got down on one knee, and asked her and Kylie to marry him.
Nichole still can’t get over it. She had just told God she was good with their little threesome–her, God, and Kylie. “Then this incredible, and I mean incredible, man began pursuing me. Sort of out of nowhere. And he wanted to love my girlie and be her daddy. And didn’t hesitate about any of it. God had been preparing his heart a long time for this, and I can’t imagine anyone else filling the role that he does.”
Darby and his girls didn’t waste any time. On October 9, 2009, they became a family of three. The wedding was beautiful. I was thrilled to get to witness all the excitement and emotion and intense gratitude for what God has clearly orchestrated all by himself. You know how there are weddings that are like yada, yada, yada, they’re married, great, now where’s the cake?
Well, Nichole and Darby’s wedding was the total opposite of that. It was small and intimate, yet full of people who had had a front row seat to the amazing play God was directing for these two (three!) wonderful people. Eyes full of tears, praises to God, heads shaking in awe. Like, in a million years, we never could’ve dreamed up something this incredible for these two awesome “kiddos.” It’s been a long wait, but wow. Beautiful.
Darby had big plans for a week-long cruise in the Bahamas. Doesn’t that sound dreamy? They hustled and bustled and got to the ship just in time… to watch it sail away without them! Can you even imagine?? It’s almost like God said, “Okay, you two have had enough perfect for awhile. It’s time to toss in a little reality and see how you do.” They did just fine. Darby was able to get their cruise rescheduled for a week later, and the two lovebirds got their honeymoon after all.
At the end of October (a little later than they’d planned), they loaded up and headed west. It took them two whole weeks to get to Alaska, but get there they did. And thus began their new life together as a sweet little threesome.
A few months later, Nichole decided she might want to take a little test. So she did. And it was positive. Even more of her dreams were about to come true.
And then they got some awful, horrible, very, very scary news.
Part 3 tomorrow.