MARION, Ill. (BP)–Tim Ellsworth, 22, heard Sarah Lee Lyon agree to marry him in the usual way — he was on bended knee, a ring in his hand and love in his eyes.
But that was only after Sarah, 18, read his marriage proposal in Tim’s column in the Illinois Baptist newspaper.
In a column titled, “It’s a love thing,” Tim, a reporter for the newspaper of the Illinois Baptist State Association and native of Benton, Ill., described meeting Sarah last May and how she had so impacted his thoughts, his heart and everything else in his life that he decided he had to ask if she would become his wife.
Tim, a 1996 graduate of Union University, Jackson, Tenn., first met Sarah briefly at her church, Parish Park Baptist, Marion, Ill., in May when he stopped to visit Matthew Schobert, a friend who was serving as youth minister there. Matthew had told Tim about Sarah, then a high school senior, who fit the profile of the type of young lady Tim hoped to marry. Their paths crossed a few times in late summer and early fall before Tim decided to ask her for a date.
On their first date, Sept. 21, Tim quickly found out why he had become intrigued by Sarah.
“I just knew right away that she was the one,” he said.
Having heard about guys who rented billboards on which they proposed marriage, or hired airplanes towing banners asking the big question while they sat together in a stadium watching a football or baseball game, Tim decided he too would pop the question in style.
After all, how many times do you ask a girl to marry you? he reasoned. Fortunately for him and the Illinois Baptist readers, Sarah said yes after she recovered from the shock of reading Tim’s proposal in the Dec. 18 issue of the state Baptist newspaper.
“Thank goodness,” said Tim in recounting the incident. “We had talked about getting married, and we both agreed to pray about it, but I hadn’t actually asked her yet. I was fairly confident her answer would be yes.”
Good thing she agreed. Can you imagine the correction or follow-up story a sheepish Tim might have published for the next issue had she declined?
Sarah, a freshman majoring in elementary education at John A. Logan Community College, Carterville, Ill., recalled becoming “more and more shocked” as she sat beside Tim on a sofa at her home in Marion reading his column.
“I was talking to a friend on the phone,” Sarah said. “Tim came over, sat down on the couch and took out his laptop computer and began working. I sat down beside him when I got off the phone.
“He says to me, ‘I just got the paper from the printers. It is just going into the mail now. You might want to check out my column on the back page. I think it’s pretty good,'” Sarah said. “I’ve been reading everything he’s written since we began dating last September. So I began reading it, thinking it would be about some issue or other. Boy, was I surprised!”
In a voice literally dancing with merriment, Sarah recalled reading with ever-widening eyes after she noticed her name fairly high in the column. “Oh my,” she said to Tim, turning to look at him.
After an introduction quoting the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, considered the Bible’s love chapter, Sarah read about Tim meeting her, and how much she began to mean to him:
“Sarah Lee Lyon, the impact you have made on my life is incredible. The sadness of being apart from you during the week is bearable only because I know the weekend is not far away. Part of me is missing when I’m not with you. Thoughts of your lovely face, your smile and your laugh constantly occupy my mind.
“My days are brighter because of you. My life is richer because of you. I can’t imagine life without you.
“I thank God for you. I treasure you. I need you. With my whole heart, I love you. Will you marry me?”
What girl could say no?
“How sweet,” Sarah said. Laughing, she reached over to hug Tim. But he already was on bended knee to personally solicit her love. Blushing, she said yes.
Her parents, David and Mary Lou Lyon, immediately liked Tim when the couple began dating. But the Lyons considered getting engaged after only three months of dating, and at such a young age for her, to be rushing things.
Sarah said her mother now enthusiastically supports the young couple’s decision. Her dad “doesn’t want to give up his little girl,” she said, “but now he’s on board as much as a dad can ever be.”
Tim and Sarah believe they have a love forged in heaven. For Tim, it was a woman of solid Christian values who was more interested in being a mom and a homemaker than excelling in her career. Sarah had a slightly longer list.
“I wanted a guy who was most importantly a Christian. I wanted him to have the same values I do,” she said. “I wanted him to be a Southern Baptist if possible, to be strong and supportive and a true spiritual leader, who was willing and able to make the majority of the family’s
“He also had to have a good sense of humor, a great personality and be cute, etc.”
Sarah said she intends to complete college, then teach for a couple of years before having children. After the kids are in school, she probably will return to teaching.
After their July 19 wedding, they are planning a honeymoon at Grand Haven, Mich. Tim’s dad, Roger Ellsworth, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, Benton, will officiate. Ellsworth also married the pastor of Sarah’s church, Tony Foeller.