Note: due to internet safety, I have left names and specific places off of this… sorry for the anonymity.
Our story may as well begin sometime between when I was 14-16. When I was 14, I began getting interested in the I Kissed Dating Goodbye philosophy and culture. The idea was that you didn’t date unless you were ready and until you found someone that you could probably marry that you felt God was leading you to. This concept appealed to me. At that point, I had developed quite a circle of homeschool friends across the country who were Christians and were gung-ho into this idea, and I really bought into it.
Mind you – I still had a healthy liking for guys, but I subjected each guy I liked to a mental checklist and if they didn’t meet up, they were OUT.
Then, at age 15, I went away to a wonderful Christian boarding school. (I realize some people have this mental stereotype about kids getting “sent away” to boarding school. Let me say, I was a good kid, but algebra was a terrible trial for my mom and I. And we didn’t like our local school options, so we went around the country and visited options. When we visited this school, it was so incredible that I told my mom “if it’s anywhere, it’s here.” And I did end up going there. It was small with only 25-40 students while I was there, had a great work-study program, had a great spiritual emphasis, and didn’t allow dating, amongst other things.) Anyway, I digress… Sometime around when I turned age 16, someone (probably my girl’s dean – she was a wonderful godly role model) gave me the bright idea to start praying for my future husband. So I started praying.
And right around that time, God began doing amazing things on the heart of my future husband. He was a first year medical student. (I’ll just say up front that we’re six-and-a-half years apart, age-wise.) He began to be involved in some nearby ministries. He heard inspiring speakers and really had a wonderful conversion experience. Little did I know that as I started praying for someone I didn’t even know, God was grooming my knight in shining armor!
Sometime during my senior year, I wrote a huge “ideal spouse list.” It was monstrous – two pages, single spaced, 10 point font. As I went back later to read it through, I realized that a few things were not mandatory. So the list got revised. But it was still quite long, and I realized it would need to be some dream guy who would fulfill all of these necessary things! Oh dear…
I entered college at a Christian university back where my parents lived, and lived at home with them. For the most part, I shied away from guys (although I liked a couple along the way). One of the guys I liked while I was there, however, was not the quality I should have been looking for, and I knew it. I had compromised in the area of music that I believed was God-honoring, because that guy liked it, and I one day felt God tell me, “What are you DOING??? You know that music is not what I would approve of. Don’t you think I can bring you together with a guy who listens to good music?”
I turned off the radio and didn’t go back to that station.
About the same week, in French class, my teacher had a devotional based on two French verbs: “attendre” and “entendre”. One means “to wait” and the other means “to hope.” I sensed God telling me through that devotional that I should be waiting and hoping, not getting involved with someone who wouldn’t build me up in my Christian walk.
One day sometime after that, I was chatting online with one of my guy friends who I had gone to boarding school with. I was soon to turn 20 years old, and he started teasing me about being old enough to have a boyfriend. I didn’t believe I should be in a relationship before the age of 20.
He chatted that I would “soon be a youth out of my teens” and that there were some good young men out where he lived – and coincidentally my future-husband was there.
I typed, “Yeah right.” (I had heard rumor of how liberal the area was where he was going to school, and I was not convinced that any good guys existed in the world that would meet my list, especially not guys from said location.)
My highschool buddy then began to describe one of his friends. He was smart – had been a chemistry major at a Christian university before going to medical school. He was currently a medical student. He liked classical music and played the French horn. He had good theology and liked one of my favorite Christian speakers. But my highschool buddy cautiously said that I might not like how he looked.
And with that, he sent me a picture of this friend, posed with a group of friends. The guy-of-interest was wearing a yellow shirt and was posed with a group of friends on a big log. I didn’t think the guy looked bad, and told my highschool buddy so.
One crucial detail that the guy mentioned was that this guy had been on my parents tour once. (My parents lead tours in Europe every summer.)
A few days later, my mom and I were taking a walk with the dog (our usual “girl talk” time.) The subject of some of the singleness of my friends came up. I suddenly blurted out, “_____ is trying to hook me up with some guy from [said-location] who has been on your tour before!”
Mom gushed, “Oh! That must be So-and-So. You should definitely keep him in mind!” (Now, my mom doesn’t always keep track of people who go on her tour, but Dad had met him in the library at said-location the year before when he was there for some meetings. Therefore, she knew that this must be the same guy.)
I put a mental “bookmark” in that conversation and filed it in the back of my mind. My highschool friend and I didn’t really discuss that anymore. It was just a big joke, in my mind, until one day…
I found an email from THE guy in my inbox! (Not the highschool guy, but THE GUY he had told me about/ sent me a picture of!)
I opened it, and realized that an email from me had been forwarded to him (and some others). He asked if my parents were still at the university that I attended, and said he guessed I was in college based on my email.
I wrote back a short, cordial email, and called my mom (who was at her highschool reunion) and said “__________ EMAILED ME!”
Mom said, “He DID?! Did you write back?”
I was told that I better be careful about how much I write because he was probably seriously interested in me.
The more we emailed (usually every other day) the more convinced I became that his qualifications seemed remarkably similar to my “dream” man. He did, indeed, have similar theological views to myself. He listened to good music (and knew a whole lot more about classical music than myself!) He seemed to like the idea of modest dress and said his mother wore skirts all the time (like myself.) He tried to eat healthfully (similar to my family) when possible. It was all quite amazing to me.
It became apparent that we were both going to attend a youth conference in late 2004 in Sacramento, CA. Since his writing skills were quite decent, I decided to ask him to volunteer to be a reporter for me, since I was arranging print reporters for the event. We arranged that I needed to give him some reporting materials.
I became very, very nervous before the conference. Mom and Dad knew about this correspondence, as did Oma (my grandma) and everyone was very curious. Mom even googled THE GUY’S name and listened to some sermon that he had given at a church (and she had me listen to it too.)
By the time I arrived at the conference, I had a serious case of nervousness. I was so nervous that when I went to give him the reporting materials, I basically said, “Hi. Here’s the reporting stuff.” THE GUY attempted to say “Hi” and “how was your trip” and I gave him very short, terse answers. I was so frightened that I was relieved to receive a phonecall from my good girl friend from home who was in line at registration, and I ran off to meet her. I didn’t think the meeting went that well. I knew my nerves had caused too many problems.
Thursday morning, bright and early, we attended the morning devotional. I sat with a couple of girls. Suddenly, I noticed THE GUY taking a seat two rows in front of me. He kind of turned around and I flashed a big smile at him (trying to remember Oma’s advice that “you look so much nicer when you smile.”) He looked at me with THE look. I knew everything would be ok.
I remembered that he planned to attend a certain seminar. I decided to go to that seminar with one of my girl friends and we arrived nice and early. A few minutes later, THE GUY poked his head in the room, looked around, and wandered over to where we were sitting. “Is anyone sitting here?” he asked, about the seat next to me. We ended up sitting next to each other for the next several seminars. And over the next few days, we saw a lot of each other.
After the conference, we began emailing once or twice a day. (We still lived a long ways apart.) Then three times a day, and even some times four times a day. I wondered if THE GUY was going to take it to a new level anytime soon?
Little did I know, he emailed my parents for permission, they asked him some questions, and then he responded with answers. Eventually, they gave him their permission to pursue a deeper friendship with me. On March 19, 2005, I received a four-page handwritten letter inside a card from THE GUY. It talked about how much he appreciated our friendship, how he admired my Christian standards, and how he had received permission from my parents and his mom to deepen our relationship. He was asking how I felt.
The next day, I mentioned that I got his letter and said I would be interested in deepening our friendship. That day, we agreed to become “special friends.”
The first few days were a little awkward as we eased into this new phase of friendship. What really took it to the next level was when THE GUY surprised me for my 21st birthday. Wow! It was one of my best birthdays ever. We had a tremendous day together with my family and went to the zoo.
Every chance we could, we made trips to see each other, because I was still in MI at the university and he was in his residency across the country. It was expensive, but hey, it worked for us.
After I graduated from the university, I got a job nearby THE GUY’S residency program and moved nearby where I stayed with an older lady.
Then, on February 18, 2007, about six months after I moved nearby his residency program, he took me to the top of a mountain by tram ride, and we went to nearby where that first picture that I’d ever seen of THE GUY was taken – the one that my highschool friend had sent to me. He said he had a late Valentine’s present for me. He presented me with an album of pictures from throughout our courtship. I thought that was nice, and then he pulled out a beautiful watch and asked me to marry him! I was thrilled and said, “YES!”
We got married on August 12, 2007 back where my family lived. And we’ve lived happily ever after. Homes are truly happy when they are built around Jesus!
(Just because, I thought you’d appreciate a couple of wedding pictures. You know, because who doesn’t like wedding pictures?!)
Oh, and catch some more love stories at Heavenly Homemakers!