The Engagement Period …

 We became engaged on August 28, 2004. Our wedding date is set for June 18, 2005. It seems beneficial to share some of what the Lord has been doing in our lives during this period of waiting.

 We decided from the very beginning that it would be best that we have no physical contact whatsoever during our time of engagement. So, though over the past few months we have grown to know each other better, the first time we hold hands and our first kiss will be at our wedding on June 18th. It has not always been easy to maintain this physical distance—certainly the desire grows for one another as the weeks and months progress—but we are thankful for the Lord’s grace which gives us the power to exercise self-control (see Titus 2:11-14). And, because we believe that this decision brings glory to the Lord, it is a sacrifice that we make most joyfully.

 Many people ask if we are very busy with wedding planning. Actually, our engagement period has been given very little to wedding planning. There has been some planning, but most of the main details were decided within the first 6 weeks. We have sought, in all these decisions, to consider first and foremost what would bring glory to our Great Master and King. Too often, in our generation, engagement is seen as a time to focus on self: movies, entertainment, an elaborate wedding, etc. We see engagement, rather, as a joyful extension of the lives that we were already living to the Lord. It is He Who in His mercy brought us together; it is He Who is worthy of all the glory and praise.

 As such, we have spent much time during our engagement period discussing the Scriptures (the Psalms have been a favorite) in a practical way: how they relate to our lives now, and how they should affect our lives together in the future. We have been blessed together to put several Psalms to music during the last several months (Visit the Songs of Joy section for a few samples). And lately, we have been rejoicing in the work of Handel’s Messiah, which seems filled with the glory of the Lord and His wonderful working in our lives.  We have also had opportunity to look to God's Word to light the path before us.  We continually seek His favor on how to best use our engagement time, what responsibilities we should have with our parents and how to grow united in heart with each other before the wedding day.

 The McMillan fireplace has been rejuvenated, and with Giampaolo’s skillful stoking of the fires, we have enjoyed many times of singing, popcorn and blessed discussions around the fire. Jackie’s younger brothers and sisters (ages 10, 7, 4 and 2) have become very fond of Mr. Ladomato, indeed, and it is sometimes wondered aloud who looks forward to his coming more: they or Jackie (of course, Jackie has no doubt that the true answer is she!).

Jackie has also been blessed to spend time with Giampaolo’s family at dinner at their house on several occasions. She is eager not just to be a blessing to Giampaolo, but to his family as well. Jackie and Giampaolo have joined the McMillan family for weekly lessons in the Chinese language.

 Squeezed in between busy work schedules and home duties, we enjoy immensely walks together to the park (even if it is still cold outside!) and time to just sit and talk. We feel no need for “great entertainment.” To be in one another’s company is blessing enough, and we are learning much about our relationship with the Lord from our growing love for one another.

 Our time of engagement has not been “unrealistic”; we have experienced griefs and trials. Giampaolo’s dad, Nick Ladomato, died on February 14th, and we shared a very intense season of grief over this loss. There have been opportunities to grow in communication with one another, to work through misunderstandings, to be provoked to higher ground. But even through the griefs and trials, the Lord’s presence has been real to us, and our love for one another has not faltered, but rather deepened. The oneness and unity that the Lord has already given us, and that He continues to add to, is living proof that, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).

 Many have been amazed at the long waits involved in our story: knowing each other for 11 years plus before Giampaolo ever even considered Jackie as a wife; waiting a year-and-a-half before proposing to her after he felt convinced she was God’s will for him; and a 10-month engagement. While the waiting has not been easy, we feel keenly the Prophet Isaiah’s exclamation: “Yea, in the way of Thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee …. Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9, 26:8). Amen.