I want to tell you a story about a girl.
Yeah, i know; that’s a pretty cliché intro.
But i promise i won’t go too overboard on the sappiness!
Forgive me if i do, though...
Because, you see, this girl is no ordinary girl;
in fact, we really should be calling her a woman.
For she possesses the intellect, joy, bravery, humility, maturity, grace, humor, elegance, and sheer loveliness of a human well beyond her 21 years.
So yes, i am about to brag on my girlfriend whom i love, much like many other smitten millennial young men out there.
But quite honestly, i don’t care.
We met at a barbecue at our school in September, 2015. The semester had just started and i was stoked for junior year, with no expectation of a girl or relationship or anything romantic appearing in my life.
And then i met her.
i think it’s ironic that we met at a barbecue, because i later found out that she is a vegetarian. Maybe she knew i’d be there and came just for me? Or maybe it was fate? Or really just God doing His divine thing?
Yeah, it was God, for sure.
Regardless, she made quite the impression on me. i was immediately struck by her joy, of which she contained a lot. It was so apparent in her every word + action, and i loved it. i viewed her as a perfect compliment to me, not that she might “complete” me, but that we would bring out the best in each other. It was beautiful and entirely unexpected.
i returned to the apartment later that evening with my roommates and boldly declared that i would ask her out. This is actually really significant, as i’m not one to go on dates for the sake of dating. i like to put a lot of time, prayer, and thought into that decision, as i believe it’s one that should be kept carefully.
But that’s just me.
However, it took me awhile to follow up on that declaration, as i was nervous + God had things for me to experience first that would ultimately prepare my heart to ask her out in a caring way.
So, we met in September; let’s fast forward to November.
i had seen her around campus plenty, as our school is small. And finally, one day, i woke up with this notion; “i’m going to ask her out today.” i could feel it in my bones. i just knew that today would be the day.
You see, a week earlier, my perspective on relationships completely changed after hearing a sermon given my pastor at church. i realized that i was looking at relationships much too selfishly. i won’t get all preachy on you, but i will say this; after hearing that sermon, i was no longer looking for a girlfriend, bae, physical beauty, or someone to simply be cute with.
i was looking for a teammate.
And i thought back to her, and all of the joy she possessed, and realized:
“i think we’d do life well together.”
And so, as i set out into the day, i prepared myself to work up the confidence to ask her out. She sat behind me in chapel, and i was giddy the entire time. i walked her to class later that day, but got nervous as we waited outside her classroom. i later found out that she was expecting me to ask her out at that moment; she thought it was cute that i choked.
Slightly embarrassed, but all the more motivated, i promised myself that the next time i saw her i would just do it.
And of course, i didn’t see her for the rest of the day.
No casual run-ins or anything; i was losing time.
It was 10:00pm, and i knew that she liked to go to bed early. My sources told me she was in her apartment doing work, so my roommates pumped me up, and i flew up the stairs to her door, only to freeze in front of it with a fist raised and ready to knock. It took me ten minutes, but i finally laid three feeble raps into the wood, and opened it timidly.
She greeted me with a smile from her couch where she was comfortably working. I must have looked like a sheet, because surrounding her were seven of her closest friends, who all turned simultaneously to stare at me. i felt my heart drop out of my body, but i was already here and i couldn’t back down.
i made pleasant conversation with the lot of them, and when there was a beat, i finally asked if she and i could talk in the hall.
i’m sure you can guess what i asked her.
We went to coffee two days later, and i was so eager to see her again that i immediately swooped in for the second date, which she graciously agreed to. Mere hours after our second date, i asked for the third, at which point we both knew we had something special. The more time we spent together, the more we truly wanted to be with one another.
And it was the last thing either of us ever expected.
So, why do i tell you all of this?
i love to talk about her and tell people how we started dating. i think it’s beautiful for many reasons, but far above them all is God’s hand in our story.
You see, we don’t view our relationship as just our relationship. It’s not something for us to hold selfishly and to gain satisfaction, pleasure, or contentment from.
No, we recognize that God has much bigger plans for us.
And while we don’t know what those plans are exactly, we are sure that they involve spending a lifetime together. Yes, i’m talking about the big m-word:
God has revealed that much to us, we are certain. He hasn’t given us the map of what the next 60–70 years will look like, but quite frankly, He has no obligation to. He has called the two of us to live faithful lives, and that’s what we strive towards every day, together. While we don’t have a blueprint for the future, we know that we’ll be doing it together, and for the time being, we just want to love God well, love each other well, and love those around us well. Our gracious Father in Heaven has given us more than we deserve, and we see His generosity in our relationship every day.
So we want to give back to Him.
There are a lot of things she and i don’t know. But we do know a few things; God loves us, we love one another, and He has given us to one another as teammates for this life. We are committed to learning from Him and from one another each day, humbly, sacrificially, graciously, and consistently.
Our daily prayer for our relationship is that everyone who sees us may witness the love of Christ between us.
Lora, as i write this across from you in a coffee shop, as you bite the corner of your lip while typing the next line of your thesis paper, i love you.
God, may the love you have given us be a living testimony to this world.