I'd like to tell you the story of how I met, befriended, and then much later became the girlfriend [and of course, wife] of my husband. Not because it's Valentine's Day [tomorrow] but because yesterday was the five year anniversary of our accidental first date.
We met the semester of my junior year of college [his sophomore year]. The location of our meeting is much debated between the two of us, but I'm right. It was at the local laundromat on a Sunday afternoon. It was sunny but the air was still crisp from winter. No one else was there except for him and his then girlfriend. My husband claims that we met in the lobby of my dorm when a large group of us were going to the movies, but that was some time after our first meeting. When the group of us went to the movies several new friendships began for me. I began to spend a lot of time with this group of people and got to know Justin through this. I must admit, though, that I had my eye on someone else for a long time to come...
During my senior year of college, we began to spend a lot of time together. I guess you could say that I considered him my "best guy friend". He was still dating someone else and I certainly was not interested in him as anything more than a friend. Sure, the thought crossed my mind a few times that he and I were quite compatible and over time I even began to find him attractive. Not that my husband isn't adorable, I was just blind to it through our friendship. Looking back, I am thankful that God kept my eyes covered because it allowed me to have an open relationship without any walls, insecurities or fear of rejection.
It has been my experience in my own life as well as in the lives of the college girls that I get to minister to now that it is easy exclaim, even in private, "Where is my husband?!" As a naive Christian girl, I thought I found my husband every other month. It's normal. But I had sincerely prayed about this situation and I knew that God had someone for me, and that it would be a man that I had been friends with. I prayed about it often and as a p.s., "Lord, could he please be a baseball player?" I felt that God would take a beautiful friendship and in His time, turn it into something more. How silly that I was in the midst of that for a couple of years with Justin without even realizing it!
A year after we met, I graduated college and Justin and I parted ways for the summer. He was going to China and I was beginning a job in the same town we attended school. When we were apart that summer, I had begun to realize that I indeed did have some feelings for him. I had finally realized that the other guy that I was interested in for so long was just not interested in me. So I put my best face on and decided to move forward, unattached. I moved into a house with some other girls, got a dog, and entered the working world. Justin went to China and when he came to my house with some other friends for the first time after the summer, I couldn't understand why I wanted to hug him. I had missed him.
Justin and all of his buddies would come over on the weekends to watch movies and more importantly, eat. This time in my life is where I got to fully embrace the gift of hospitality that I did not know I possessed. I loved spending my paycheck [somewhat unwisely!] on feeding those boys. Justin would often come over early to help me "test" food or just hang out. When his birthday came along that December, he came to my house that Saturday for breakfast. I distinctly remember carrying his plate of pancakes from the kitchen to where he was sitting on the couch and thinking, "I could do this for the rest of my life." It was then that I realized that I couldn't suppress my attraction for him any longer. I hoped it would go away.
A few days later my roommate and I threw an epic Christmas party and then it was time for Justin to head home for the Christmas break. Over the holidays, he took me to my first UK game at Rupp Arena. Being a Tennessee fan, this didn't interest me at all but he did so I went. After he came back for his last semester of college, he and I made a friendly wager over the UK/UT basketball game. Whomever's team lost had to take the other person out to dinner. It never entered my mind to think of it as a date, and I'm not sure if it occurred to him either.
It was a snowy Sunday, and I wanted to back out because the last thing I had wanted at that point was to ruin a great friendship because of my silly feelings. I remember that I wore my Timberland boots [hey, it was 2006 and snowing], jeans, a white shirt, and a pink zip up hoodie. We went to Lexington and he took me to Cheddar's because he had lost our bet. We also shopped a little and went to the Starbucks that we had frequented in our friendship. We then attended 608 at Southland Christian Church, a Sunday night service geared toward college students. The speaker was talking about seizing opportunities placed before you and actually said that if there's a girl in your life that you've been thinking about, just ask her out. He and I just looked at each other out of the corner of our eye and didn't talk the rest of the night. It was a long drive back to my house after.
When he pulled in my driveway, I started to ask him if he thought that perhaps the reason we had been friends to easily and for so long was that we were meant for something more. But I couldn't get the words out before he said, "Yes!" He knew what I was going to say. I think he wanted to say it but was too shy. We talked about things over the next few days and we decided that we should begin a cautious relationship.
I had known for a long time that if he would just admit that he was interested in pursuing me, we'd get married. But that's a story for another day...
I'd like to encourage my college girls that if you seek the Lord's will in your future mate, praying about it often, He will give you the desires of your heart. Don't believe me? Justin played baseball. ;)