One Shining Moment at Sea Produces One Sparkling Ring!
We return from every tour and cruise with heart-warming stories. Couples celebrating anniversaries. Families reuniting. Long-time fans enjoying personal time with their favorite artists and bands.
But some of these moments are truly unforgettable.
Jim was a passenger on our Michael W. Smith & Friends cruise to Alaska a few weeks ago. He wasn’t just any passenger, though. Jim has been Smitty’s keyboard player and musical director since 1995!
Six months earlier, Jim had been going through a hard time in his life. “I had been through the heartbreaking end of a marriage and subsequent divorce,” he told us, “and the whole process really made me question my ability to trust anyone again.” Still, he wondered if God might have someone out there for him. He was surrounded by great examples of marriage. His parents recently celebrated their 55th anniversary. His boss (and friend), Michael W. Smith, has been married for three decades.
“There were enough great examples of marriage around for me to know that love is a risk worth taking,” Jim says. So he took that risk. In January, he signed up for ChristianMingle.com, the online dating site. Two weeks later, he saw the profile of a woman named Anita. She intrigued him, so Jim reached out to her. They emailed for several days before Jim asked Anita out on a date.
The two clicked immediately. They went for a second date, and then another. Soon they began calling themselves a couple. Jim watched as Anita developed a great friendship with his daughter. Smitty was also excited about the relationship and graciously invited Anita to join the band as a guest on the cruise. That’s when Jim and MWS began conspiring a plan…
In preparation for the cruise, Jim created a video of photos, Facebook status updates, emails, and texts between him and Anita, documenting the course of their relationship. At the end of Michael W. Smith’s concert during one of the evening events on-board, Smitty turned the stage over to his keyboard player.
“The speakers on the cruise had all been talking about the theme of getting back up after we fall, and about God’s great love for us,” Jim explains. Speaking to the audience, he used that theme to introduce his video, which told the story of him “getting back up” after a painful divorce.
The video played before the entire crowd. It ended with a close-up photo of Anita’s hand, taken before the trip, on a day when she and Jim had been trying on engagement rings. Superimposed over the photo were these words:
Let’s make it official.
Will you marry me?
As the video ended, Jim found Anita in the audience, walked over to her with a bouquet of roses, dropped to one knee and proposed—she said yes! (You can watch the video here http://vimeo.com/99939231 password “wedding”)
“It was a moment we’ll never forget,” he says today with a big smile.
The whole thing gave our team members goosebumps. We’ll never forget it either. After the cruise, Jim expressed his thanks to our team for helping make the trip so memorable for him and Anita—as well as to Michael W. Smith for the role his boss played in the proposal.
But we’re just as grateful to Jim. Not only for his musical talent and heart for the Lord, but for his work in making sure this cruise was an experience the rest of our passengers won’t soon forget—thanks to the video and public proposal they were still buzzing about several days later!
The Lord is constantly at work in each of our lives. Sometimes He speaks to us in a still, small voice. Other times, He appears in one shining, unforgettable moment. There’s something like getting away to a beautiful place, surrounded by friends and believers, that helps those moments become clear—and life-changing. Jim and Anita saw their lives change that night off the coast of Alaska, and are ready to begin their new lives together.
What memorable moment might God use to change your life on an Inspiration cruise?