Recently I've read a few of my friends love stories about their husbands and how they met. It has reminded me of my own story and with Valentine's Day right around the corner, I couldn't resist. We have a foot of snow on the ground, what else do I have to do but reminisce about the romantic beginning of my marriage.
So here it goes.
It all started with a small group for college age men and women. We met at a man's house, Steven Nash, who when I first started attending his home group, discovered I was a horticulture student in college and hired me as his part time gardener.
So a couple nights a week I would come over and weed and water his flower beds and water his indoor plants (the man had so many indoor plants he didn't have window space for them all, it was beautiful).
A little while later he got a new room mate that worked third shift, and I wasn't told about it, I just stumbled upon it one day while I was watering the indoor plants. I heard someone get up and use the bathroom and it freaked me out! So I snuck out before the unseen person could see me. Turns out this new room mate was a guy I had met in the group already, Ken Brooks.
Now let me back up just a bit at this point to our actual first meeting. I barely remember this one, but Ken remembers it because it was the night he labeled me a 'weird hippy girl'. Our small group would sometimes gather at restaurants during the week for fellowship. I came one night after having been away for the summer. Ken had joined the group sometime while I had been away. That night I was wearing pichouli oil and a long peasant skirt (most likely) and I told a story about a friend of mine who had impaled a dead possum on his friends car antenna as a joke. That is how he came to think of me as the weird hippy girl. It was our first interaction.
So then fast forward again.
Now I've already told you his mental label for me as the 'weird hippy girl', so here is what I thought of him at that point. Ken was really athletic, and a bit competitive, so I thought he was an arrogant 'jock'. I was anti-jock in that season of my life, finding that most of the ones I had met in high school thought way to highly of themselves and so I ignored him for the most part.
That is until my best friend started to sort of date him. You know how Christians do, they don't call it dating, but they go out for coffee together to 'see' if they want to date. It is weird, never made sense to me, but then again, I don't have a great dating track record in general, so maybe the way they do it would be less absurd than my own past methods of trying to find a mate.
Still, they didn't call it dating (Ken and my friend), but they did go on dates, just a few, and she would tell me all about how wonderful he was. I can look back now and not feel the least bit weird about this fact either. If she hadn't talked him up to me so much, I probably would have never taken a serious look at him.
Anyways, they didn't 'psuedo-date' for long before some differences were discovered that made them both agree they weren't right for each other, and they remained friends. That left me knowing all this wonderful stuff about him, and not knowing what to do with it.
In that season I had set myself to a season of not dating because of all my aforementioned past failures in dating that always seemed to draw me away from the Lord. So here I was totally having a crush on Ken, and totally denying it to myself and all my friends.
That went on for a while, and then finally one night I told a couple of my close friends. I said, "I like Ken," and they both replied, "finally you admit it, jeeze," and I was shocked! 'What! I just started liking him," I tried to convince them, but they both assured me that I had been flirting with him terribly and that it was pretty obvious that I liked him. Whoops! Apparently I had only been fooling myself all those weeks, but then all of a sudden I didn't know how to proceed.
Then the breakthrough came a week or so later in the form of a trip to Chicago. Ken needed a vehicle big enough to pick up some missionaries from the airport, and I had my mother's van. Well I got the job! I can not tell you the excitement I felt, enough that the fear of having no idea how to drive in Chicago did not even phase me, until later when I was actually in the traffic.
Well long story short, we got the Ukrainian missionaries, talked a lot on the way, got lost on the way home, made it just in time to go to our mutual friends house for a movie. Somehow by the end of the movie we were both on a couch next to each other and I was so overjoyed to be sitting so near him, I never watched the movie. It was a great end to the day!
The next night our small group had a group movie night and again, I ended up sitting next to him on a couch. This time because of some wonderful maneuvering of my dear friend Joan.Thank you so much Joan for your involvement.
That night our hands brushed as we sat on the couch and then he boldly took hold of my hand and I thought I was going to faint (with excitement).
Nothing was spoken that night though, we just held hands.
Our official small group meeting was the following night, and at the end of it, he walked me to my truck and held my hand again. When we got to my truck though, he looked uncomfortable, and I asked him what was wrong. He said, and I quote, "I feel really bad because I want to kiss you,' and in my boldness, I said, 'thats ok,' and then I kissed him. It was our first kiss, and we had never even discussed the fact that we liked each other or wanted to date, etc.
Our first official date was October 11th, 2003, (about a week after our first kiss). We were engaged in March of 2004, and married June 26th of 2004. Our honeymoon was a month long missions trip to Ukraine helping to plant a church and work with a church camp. In fact, we went and worked with the very missionaries that we picked up from the airport that crazy day in Chicago long before. God is so creative and wonderful!
June 26th, 2011 will be 7 years for us and I am still completely in love with this man!!! We have two baby girls, and hopefully more to come in the future.
So, thank You Lord, that You chose to give me such a man. He is full of strength and integrity and is one who truly leads his family in the way of the Lord. He is one who listens for the Lord's voice and does what he hears Holy Spirit saying. You have done so much in our lives and marriage in the last seven years, and I'm thankful You are never done working in our lives. Your involvement Holy Spirit is what makes us great!
Love you! Happy Valentine's Day Ken! (hope I did the story justice, it was a super fun adventure)