In 1999, I made a difficult decision to move back to my home town. I really felt like it was what God was leading me to do, though I had no idea why and wasn't thrilled at the idea. Within a few weeks of moving back, I was hired as the youth director at a wonderful church and started to accept the fact that I was here to stay.
A couple of guys from the Air Force base in town started coming to a class and Bible Study I was teaching in the late summer. Both were awesome guys and were plugged into a group of friends that got together every week for dinner at each other's house.
In early November, Billy (one of the guys from my class) invited me to come over to his apartment for the weekly gathering. I was afraid that he was asking because he was interested in me so I dragged my roommate Barbara along to make sure he didn't get the wrong idea.
We arrived and were introduced to the group and started making friends. When we sat down to eat, Billy's roommate came to sit next to me at the table. We chatted a little more through the evening but if I'm honest, I really don't remember much about our conversation. What I do remember was the impression that he left on me.
When the evening was over, Barbara and I were invited to join this group every week and we assured them we'd come again. As soon as we were safely in my car, we did what all girlfriends do. We dissected the group and our impressions of everyone we met that night. I specifically remember one phrase that I kept saying, "There is something about that guy, J. Something about him really struck me tonight." I couldn't stop saying it and thinking about him.
I'll spare you a lot of details here but Barbara and I became very involved with this new group of friends over the course of the next few weeks and by Thanksgiving, J. had invited a bunch of us up to his parent's farm for the post holiday weekend. J. and I had spent some time together outside of the group by this time, talking about everything we could think to talk about. I was so intrigued with him. He was Godly, funny, smart, sensitive and when I was around him, I felt so....so, encouraged.
We all hauled over to his family farm the day after Thanksgiving and I got to meet the people who made him who he was. He was the spitting image of his father, physically and in personality. Over the course of the weekend, it was clear that there was more to our relationship than just two friends who hang out occasionally.
But, neither of us was really sure what that meant. I was devoted wholly to my ministry. My kids depended on me and I didn't feel that I had much time to give a relationship at that point. He was really taking time to focus on his relationship with the Lord and not be in a dating relationship. So, we were just friends. Friends who knew that there was way more to it than that. I'm not talking physically, there was no physical relationship. We just loved being together. And we were together, a lot. He was my best friend.
In mid-December, J. came to my office one night when I was working late. He walked me to my car and in the midst of conversation, he said he needed to tell me something. He'd gotten orders. For you non-military folks, he'd been told he was moving. This brand new relationship that didn't yet have a title now became less simple. He wasn't just moving, folks. He was moving to Montana. I didn't even know where that was but I did know that it didn't border North Carolina, where I currently lived. He was leaving in April.
I went home that night and cried. I didn't know why I was crying but I did know that I didn't want to be without him. I couldn't even stand the eight hour days that we had to work at seperate jobs.
I'm going to leave out a lot of details that really do fascinate me about how things just worked out for us but I'm not sure they'd fascinate you. For the sake of your time, I'll keep it shortish.
In January, we were driving together one day and J. said to me, "I'm not sure of details yet but I want you to know that you are going to Montana with me." My response? "I know."
What? I didn't even know the words had escaped my mouth. But, they were true. I knew. I knew I was going with him. I hadn't been stressed out about being apart from him since that night that I first found out. Sure, I cried myself to sleep that night but I woke up the next morning and knew it was ok. I hadn't cried about it since. If you know me, you know what a miracle that is.
Later in January, I was leaving to take some kids on a ski trip. As I was getting into my car, J. said to me, "When you get back, we need to talk about getting married." Ooookay, then. While I was on that trip, he went to have dinner at my house with my family. Without my permission. My parents brought out the photo albums. My siblings helped him wash his car. My little sister even armor-alled his windshield. Bless her heart. And, he didn't run. I came back and he still wanted to talk about marrying me.
My parents were in love with him. My Dad is the most over protective Daddy out there and he loved J. despite the fact that he was about to move a million miles away and all the things that could mean for his oldest daughter. Ya'll need to know what another miracle this is. I still don't understand it.
When I came back, we took out a calendar and at that point there weren't a lot of dates between that night and his leaving. His best friend was in the Army so we called him and asked what his schedule looked like in the coming months. He was about to leave for a deployment so there was only one week that he wasn't training or leaving. We asked if he could fly to us that weekend. He agreed and our wedding date was set. Four weeks from that weekend. A month. In a month I would be his wife. Holy moly, ya'll.
Of course, he asked my Dad's permission to marry me and to take me to Montana. With tears in his eyes, my Dad said that he couldn't imagine it any other way. He knew this moment was coming. He knew that if J. went without me that we would both be miserable. He knew that this relationship was what God wanted for us. And, even though only four months would pass between the time I first met this amazing man to the time I'd be his wife, there was not a doubt in any of our minds that this was the right thing.
There was also an official proposal that was so sweet and romantic that it blew my socks off. It would yours too. He's amazing.
That was almost eight years ago. I am still more in love with him than I can tell you. Every day, the eight hours that we are away from each other doing our seperate jobs is hard for me because I can't wait to see him again. When something big happens, good or bad, he's the first person I want to talk to. When he walks in the room, my heart still skips a beat and I get butterflies.
Thank you for letting me share our love story with you. Just typing it was a sweet experience for me because it's not every day that I get to remember the details. Oh, the details about how God worked everything out just perfectly. I wish there were space and time to share it all with you.
Go over to Sgt and Mrs Hub
and read their love story. It's beautiful. You'll find links to read others there, as well. Will you share your own? I'd love to read it.