Two years after his wife was murdered, Indianapolis pastor Davey Blackburn has announced that he is now engaged and set to marry this year.
In a blog entry titled "I just popped the question . . . & she said yes!" Blackburn narrated his story of how God healed his heart and brought him to this moment where he is now engaged to Kristi Monroy.
"So friends," he wrote, "let me introduce you to the beautiful Kristi Monroy and her adorable daughter Natalia,"
"Kristi has quickly become like a mother to Weston and Natalia an older sister," he added, "And I have quickly fallen in love with both of them."
Blackburn lost his wife Amanda after she was mortally wounded in a home invasion on November 10, 2015. Amanda was pregnant with their second child at the time, which meant Davey lost both his wife and their unborn child.
Hurt and still healing, Davey decided not to pursue any relationship with another woman, until after the first year anniversary of his wife's death. In fact, he said, he kept their wedding ring until November 11, 2016, exactly a year after her death.
Davey said that for most of 2016, was careful around other single women because he was quite vulnerable at the time. With Kristi, however, it was a different thing.
But he also admits in his post that he worried that he might have too much "baggage" for another woman to take on and that at one point, he even felt hopeless he would ever re-marry.
'I was bringing quite a bit of [baggage' into any relationship myself—recovering from losing a wife to murder, a two-year old son, an internationally known story, and the inevitable reality that whoever stepped into a relationship with me wouldn't be able to help feeling like they were living in Amanda's shadow and under the scrutiny of everyone who was following the story,' he said.
'In fact, when I gave it any considerable thought, it seemed an almost impossible hurdle to overcome. For that reason, I would occasionally feel pretty hopeless about finding true love again.'
A new chapter
Davey saw Kristi in September of 2016 at a Crossfit gym where he works out and recognized her as someone who had first started attending his church a few months before. But he wasn't ready to initiate anything yet.
Over time, he discovered Kristi's love for Jesus, her heart for service, and the connections that she had with his personal story - that her father was a chaplain at the prison where Amanda's killers are serving out their sentence and has regular conversations with them. Soon, with guidance and help from trusted friends and family, including Amanda's, they grew more aware of what God wanted for them.
"The connection I felt with this girl," Blackburn said, "seemed to outweigh the sadness I felt with the absence of Amanda."
With a blessing from their families and Amanda's family, and with support from the church, they are now planning their wedding.
So in December of this year Kristi will be my wife!" Davey shared happily. "And we will be a family!"
"We can't wait to celebrate God's redemption in our story!" he added.
Find out more about Blackburn's story in his blog.