When I think about meeting Rachel, I can’t help but think of Psalm 127:1, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” From beginning to end, God’s goodness to both Rachel and I has been so visible. I could tell you that the reason we met, started dating, and were engaged is because I am a smooth talker and not awkward at all. That would be a lie. The truth is that long before Rachel and I ever met, God was at work in our circumstances, directing everything so that we would meet at just the right time. God did it!
I first became aware of Rachel when my brother (Chris) messaged me with a dramatic apology. “I am so sorry. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but do you know Rachel Havlak? I met her last year, she works at Keystone Church, she is super kind, and she likes rock climbing. I really think you would enjoy getting to know her.” So naturally, I did what any rational human being would do in this situation. I logged into Facebook and started scrolling through her profile. After about 3 seconds, I decided that I would really like to meet this Rachel Havlak girl my brother was telling me about, so I asked him for her number.
” . . . I don’t have her number,” was his response.
I was pretty sure Rachel would not be thrilled about a guy she’s never met messaging her on Facebook asking her to go on a date. So I tried contacting a few mutual friends to see if they could help us connect with one another (cause that’s not creepy at all). Nothing. No one I talked to knew her well enough to introduce us.
Then, one Monday morning, I went to Mars Café to drink some good coffee and read. Little did I know how life-changing that morning would be. The barista — Sierrah, who later found out was Rachel’s roommate — asked if I had been climbing at all recently. I told her that I had not. The people I typically climbed with were injured or out of town. She said, “Well, you should go climbing with my roommate some time.” My first thought was, “That’s really great, Sierrah, but I want to date Rachel Havlak.” So, naturally, I said, “Great. Well, you should write down her name, and I can message her some time.” Truthfully, I didn’t have much intention of messaging this unknown girl because I wanted to date Rachel Havlak. She grabbed a pen and wrote down her roommate’s name. (Pause)
Can we take a moment to acknowledge how difficult it was for me to keep it together at that moment? (Resume)
I nearly freaked out, but calmly (or at least I think it was calm) told Sierrah, “Just make sure to let her know that I will probably message her tonight to see if she wants to climb sometime.” I could not believe it. I had Rachel Havlak’s name written in sharpie on a piece of paper. I did message her that evening and then threw my phone in my sock drawer. I was too nervous to see how she would respond.
Thankfully, she agreed to go climbing together. I spent close to an hour that week writing down questions to ask her so that things wouldn’t be awkward and messaged my brother dozens of times to tell him how pumped I was. He said over and over, “I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling this is going to work out. There are just too many coincidences.”
The very first thing I noticed about Rachel when I met her is her eyes. My first thought, “She is way out of my league.” I knew as soon as we met that I liked Rachel. She was so kind, and her love for Jesus was obvious. We had such a great time that I didn’t ask her for her number — yes, I still feel bad about it. The good news is she agreed to go climbing again.
Each time together, I became more and more sure that Rachel was the one I wanted to spend my life with. I wrote on April 4, 2019, “I think probably this last week has been one of the greatest weeks ever. I met Rachel who is probably one of the coolest girls I have met. She is a rock climber which is awesome and we have climbed together twice now. I know some people might think I am overstating things, but I am pretty sure I would like to marry her.” I wrote exactly one month after on May 4, 2019, “Basically, what I am saying is that I do love her (though I would never tell her that yet) and want to show that…” Eventually, I did tell her that I love her and then worked up the courage on October 26, 2019, to ask her to marry me. You are reading this story because she said, “Yes.”
I am so blessed to know Rachel and honored to think that she will be my wife. She is kind, thoughtful, hard-working, beautiful, and the most loving girl that I know. Every day she pushes me to be more like Jesus, and it is a joy to run after Jesus with her. She makes me laugh. She makes me smile. And I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with her. I love Rachel Havlak (future Mrs. Harsh), and it is a privilege to do life with her. From beginning to end, the Lord has been perfectly orchestrating our story in ways we could never have imagined. He is truly a good good Father.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I welcome any questions, sarcastic comments, or additional thoughts you may have. Please feel free to reach out HERE — seriously! If you were helped by something you read, please share it with your sphere of influence. Thanks!