Some people have been asking how Michael and I met. I wrote up this little testimony and hope that God will be glorified and His power shown in and through our lives.
~ Learning to Surrender ~Life does not always go exactly as we plan… and thank the Lord for that! When I was twelve years old, I compiled a list of qualities I wanted in my future husband. The first quality on the list was, of course, “A Christian Man”. My lovely little list also included many other things like him being “debt free” to “having all his own hair and teeth”. It was pretty detailed for a twelve year old to say the least.
Then at the age of fifteen an extreme change happened in my life. All of my friends were “dating” but no one was interested in me. I knew that God and my parents would not be happy with me being “boy crazy” but I did not consider myself to be so because after all, they were just “crushes”. After attending a week long seminar, my heart began to soften and I made a commitment that I would not date and I would let God chose my future husband. Of course, I said to myself “I will do courtship, but I probably will be married by twenty.” Well, twenty came and twenty went and as the years flew by, and me not being interested in any of the guys who were interested in marrying me, I began to worry. Now I knew that worry was a sin and I sure did give Satan a lot of ground in this area. As I watched my friends falling in love and marrying, I would tell Him “Don’t forget about me God… I want to get married too!”
It was finally at the age of twenty-four that I gave this worry to God and experienced freedom like I had never known. At that point of surrender, I told God that even if I never married, He was all-sufficient for me. I then had this refreshed and renewed desire to serve Him wholeheartedly with everything that was in me. God started blessing me in innumerable ways; a dream job at a music studio in Tampa with a wonderful Christian boss and opportunities all over the place to sing and share about Him.
~Trusting God~In 2005 we moved to North Carolina, and I again struggled with worry… not so much about marriage this time, but about my future. It was definitely a time of not trusting God. Why would He bring about this amazing job in Tampa and then have us move? I clearly know the answer to that now. He wanted me to “trust and obey” for there really is not any other way but Him. I then attended a small Bible College near our home for one semester (and God used that time to draw me even closer to Him). In June of 2006, the Lord clearly led me to return to the Headquarters of our home education program and work there.
~The Courtship~Michael and I met in Flint, MI at the Riverfront Character Inn (a ministry of the Advanced Training Institute International). He was running in a race and I was working in the kitchen and he came to the Inn to help out. I had already met his wonderful sister Sarah and found a kindred spirit in her. Unknown to me, she had gone home and told Michael that he needed to meet this girl Stephanie! He came by the Inn after he ran in the race to help out and we hit it off immediately with a definite spark. I called my mom and told her I had met an amazing guy but that he would never be interested in me (unknown to me, he thought I would never be interested in him). So we both put anything more out of our minds and he became REALLY busy trying to apply to grad school and traveling for ministry and I was teaching and busy with family and church.
Occasionally I would read his blog and remember how impressed I was with him and his love for God and passion for ministry. We didn’t get back in touch till March, which unknown to me he had already been praying about me and wanting to get to know me better. In April, when my Granny died… he was there to encourage with prayers, scriptures, and a listening ear. He sent me Psalm 121 and that passage became very dear to me during that difficult time. One little story of God's amazing power is when at the beginning of April I knew that I needed to share with him that I did not email guys without them talking to my dad. In my fear that he would run the other way, I hesitated about it for a couple weeks until one night I finally surrendered it to God and prayed and told God that I would wake up in the morning and tell Michael. I knew that if he was serious, he would contact dad and be completely fine with it. When I woke up the next morning, there was an email from Michael telling me that he felt prompted by the Lord to contact my dad. See, when I let God do the work He takes care of me.
In May he went to Glacier Park to work and intern and because of limited access to email, we started writing letters to each other and then in June started talking on the phone (he would drive 30 miles once a week to get a signal and we would talk for a couple hours... although it progressed to talking for hours on end). After starting to talk on the phone, it opened up a new level in our relationship. We started to grow closer as we shared our hearts, faults, thoughts, opinions, and joys with each other.
In July I went to Journey to the Heart and knew that I really needed to pray intensely about Michael while I was there. Even though I had already been praying about our relationship, I wanted to know for sure it was God’s will and not just my own will. I also did not want him to come to visit me in August without knowing for sure if it was exactly what God wanted for me! On our day of prayer and fasting, I took several hours praying primarily for confirmation and peace about Michael. I layed Michael down on the altar which was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Telling God “here is Michael… I give him to you, even if it means giving him up forever”. As I was praying, I felt the presence of God and through certain scriptures, He released me to love Michael. I knew then that God would take care of me and of Michael. Never have I known such peace and contentment in my life… and the assurance that he was God’s will for my life. Even though I had already gradually been falling in love with him throughout the spring and summer, I left Journey to the Heart with a deep love for him, even though I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen.
It was a blessed day in August when he came to visit. We enjoyed being with each other, talking and laughing. He gave me a beautiful necklace that he had bought for me in Montana. He officially asked my dad for permission to court me on August 25 (which he had already sort of asked permission for in April, but my dad (and Michael) really wanted us to develop a deep friendship first).
As the months flew by, we became even closer through email, phone conversations, skype, and letters. I think our record for one phone conversation was 8 hours. We never ran out of things to say (and we still love to talk with each other)! In November I finally met his family and got to see Michael again. I knew that the time was getting close for engagement but I didn't really know when or how. I just knew I was ready to say yes to this amazing and wonderful man whom God had brought into my life.
As we rode on our romantic ride, Michael read me letters that he had written to me over the last few months that shared all the reasons why he wanted to give his life to me. The carriage stopped in front of the magnificent Governor's mansion, and we walked to a nearby corner in front of the home. At this point, I knew what this was all leading up to and had to maintain the tears of joy that I felt coming. My heart was full to overflowing at this point!
He read me the very last entry in the journal and then finished with Psalm 128:1-6: "Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel." He read this beautiful Psalm to me, bent down on one knee, and asked me if "I would be his beloved forever". After I finished gasping over my gorgeous ring, I joyfully replied "Yes Michael Breznau, with all my heart!!" He then spun me around for what seemed like forever as we laughed and shouted with happiness at God's many blessings in our lives!
But the surprises of the night were not over yet! We made our way to Mimi's Cafe to get some muffins and coffee and lo and behold... not only were my parents, brother, and Grandma there, but all of Michael's family from Michigan! I was shocked and very happy! We had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year together... two families about to merge.
~ Happily Ever After ~It is amazing to see God's hand in our relationship. It hasn't been easy for either of us waiting all these years for God's best, but with His help we have waited. Neither of us have dated around. I knew what convictions I had about guys, and I had committed when I was young to remain pure for my future husband. I thank God for all His protection me through all these years. There have been times of wanting my own way and it has only brought along problems for me. I have many testimonies in my life of not trusting Him with my future but God has blessed me so much as I have seen that His way is best and fully put my trust in Him. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5
I don't regret these past years of singleness one bit. I know God has blessed me in so many ways because I have waited on Him for His best. These past couple of years have been a journey for me… of faith, trusting in Him, of finding a deep and pure love that is truly amazing. God does bless those who wait on Him. I can assure you of that. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine God bringing me such a godly, pure, amazing, strong, and wonderful man... not to mention handsome! And another wonderful blessing is that he accepts and loves me exactly the way I am. I never have to worry that he won't love me or that he will laugh at me when I am silly, discouraged, or upset about something. It is a wonderful think to be unconditionally loved. Neither of us is perfect, but God has brought together two imperfect people who are just right for each other and help build up each other and not tear down! And meeting his family and feeling accepted and loved by them (I love them too!) is even another step of confirmation with us (not to mention how much my family loves him too).
Our wedding was beautiful and I hope it showed how important God is to both of us. On that special day when we became one in Christ, we shared a gift we saved for the one we would marry…our first kiss ever was given to each other!
I now see that everything that has happened in my life has been ordained of God in a sequence of event that has worked together for His good. I would not be sharing this testimony of various things happening in my life if it were not for the work of Jesus. I could not do anything a part from Him. We both know that this uniting together was and is His will and we both love each other tremendously. We are committed that nothing but death will separate us and we will be together through the thick and thin of life. I cannot imagine my life without Michael in it. He is truly a gift from God and I look forward to serving the Lord together as ambassadors for Him! Proverbs 13:12b says “…a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Our longing has been fulfilled, in each other and in Him! Praise the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever!