Silly little love story: part 2
Welcome back for part 2, friends.
As I type this and edit and re-edit I am sitting in a gorgeous resort in Park City, Utah celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary and the song "O Come Let Us Adore Him" keeps running through my head while snow falls outside our window. My heart wants to burst with gratitude and love for my Heavenly Father for bringing us this far to enjoy this time together.
As I reflect on this journey, I want to so badly skip past the ugly parts where I dated and wanted attention from all the wrong guys.
As I look back and try to figure out what could have been going on in my heart and my head, I see that I engaged in relationships with guys who I had no intention of being in a serious relationship. Subconsciously, I never wanted to be the one rejected and I most definitely did not want to grow attached to anyone. The moment I thought there might be a connection I pulled away. Which is seemingly ironic because all I ever wanted since I was a little girl was to get married and have a family of my own. I just had no idea how to get there.
After High School, Josh continued to date the same girl for the next two years while I bounced around somewhat dating different guys vowing not to get too attached.
I will never forget my freshmen year of college and living with two of my girlfriends in an adorable house close to our school. It was January and I just felt exhausted from the back and forth and not having a clear direction for my life. I was lying on my bed reading my bible and came to this verse:
"One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." — Psalm 27:4
That verse grabbed my heart. It seemed so simple. So beautiful and so very clear. I was chasing after all the wrong things in my life. This was God's love note to me. He simply wanted me to seek after Him and to be content in him and to dwell in Him. I will forever be grateful for His timing and how he cherishes our hearts to know exactly what we need when we need it.
From that moment on I vowed to not seek any relationship other than my relationship with the Lord. I told my roommates to keep me accountable and I just knew that if my heart and my eyes were on my first love, then He would bring the right person at just the right time.
A few months later, my room mate and I randomly ran into Josh and his buddy and we made small talk. I thought absolutely nothing of it because, like I had said, I had no interest in him as more than anything but a friend and I was on mission to chase the heart of God.
As the end of our college year was ending, I got a text message from Josh and his buddies that they were all hanging out and that I should join them. The only reason I even entertained the idea was because I was back at home and I thought it might be fun to see some of my friends from high school. Very innocent. We all hung out and played pool and through small talk I learned that Josh had broken up with his girlfriend. This was shocking, but in no way did I think of it as an opportunity to be interested in him because I did not think of him as marriage material, remember? ;)
He offered to take me home and as I was getting out of the car he handed me a cd and told me to listen to it when I got inside. I remember going into my room and listening to this song and in it he had revisited every memory of our time together growing up and dating our junior year in High School. I remember crying, smiling and being incredibly confused as I called my friend (who had the close family friendship with the Stewarts in junior high). I tried to tell her everything and made her come over as soon as possible to listen to the song. Maybe I even played it over the phone, fuzzy details. I think she then laughed in my face and spelled everything out for me in black and white as I was in complete denial. I could not track down this exact song, but I did include another song Josh wrote for me called, "Diamond ring" at the bottom of the post for you to enjoy that has a similar message.
Josh and I talked about things and hung out a few times after and I told him time and time again that I just wanted to be friends for a while.
I can remember talking at a park in the summer of '05. He is incredibly persistent and tried to convince me to be his girlfriend. I was still trying to digest it all and I remember him saying, "Well I will wait as long as I need to, you just tell me when you want to be my girlfriend." So I put him through the fire and went on this long lecture about how I was not dating anyone because I was content in my relationship with the Lord and needed to continue to seek Him and His will for my life and if he was not willing to seek God as passionately as I was, then it would never work out.
I am sure it took him time to process it all, but he said all the right things to assure me he was on the same path. So we made it official to be boyfriend and girlfriend and spent every bit of time possible together exploring the rivers and eating ice cream.
At the time, I was working at Silver Dollar City in their parade. A group of girls were talking about moving down to Florida and becoming a character at Disney World and in my heart I thought that sounded like a great idea. So as I went home that evening and expressed my interest to Josh and something happened I never expected. Josh began to tear up and I could see it in his eyes how he was trying to frantically figure out how he was going to keep me here. I was still trying to guard my heart and push him away out of fear of rejection. However, he continued to chase after me and my heart with a fierce passion and love. That was when I knew this was more than just a "thing".
That Fall, we knew we were going to get married. It sounded crazy, but there was a peace in our hearts. On December 2nd, 2005 — Josh secretly contacted my boss, gathered our family and close friends and invited them to witness his proposal to me in front of thousands of people as I danced my way through the Silver Dollar City Christmas parade. I was in complete shock (as the picture shows). It was perfect in every way. He literally stopped a parade and confessed his love to me in front of thousands of people.
Since I am such a Christmas girl, we decided on setting a date for a December wedding a year later. The ceremony and reception was more than I could have asked for, including having a crew from MTV to document how Engaged and Underage we were. Everything happened exactly how it should and it was an incredibly beautiful 70 degree day (in the middle of December?!).
10 years later he still compliments me on beauty (even when I am super pale and have not showered or put make-up on in days— I tell him God gave him special eyes for me). And he still loves me ferociously with a sweet and unconditional love.
In my last blog post I had mentioned that it was impossible for me to talk about this love story without talking about an even greater love story. The love story about how Christ pursued my heart to seek Him and to know his love, goodness and faithfulness which he generously pours out on my life over and over again. For the longest time I did not want to blog because I never felt like I had a relatable story to tell. I did not have a story of extreme heartache or pain.
But this is part of the story God wants me to tell, and I know in my heart that this story of how he pursues our hearts through blessings and faithfulness, is just as powerful as his stories of redemption and creating beauty from ashes.
I have not been able to get the word "adore" out of my head so I looked it up and here are the definitions:
1. to love and respect someone deeply
2. to worship, glorify, praise
You see, for me— my personality and stubborn spirit, I would not have been able to adequately love and respect anyone had I not first put myself in a position to worship and praise my first love. This adoration for both my Heavenly Father and the love of my life here on earth go hand in hand. Had I not known what it was like for Christ to pursue me, I do not believe I would have recognized such a deep love that Josh poured out for me.
I mentioned in part 1 how I often feel so undeserving of this life full of love and favor. I can confidently say the only thing I have done is receive Christ's love in my life. There was a void I so desperately tried to fill with attention from others and when I received the love and attention from Christ that void was filled and my heart was in a place to receive all that Christ had waiting for me.
Every detail matters. God's timing is intricate and purposeful.
There is a greater love story out there waiting for you as well. Have you openly received this love? Christmas is this week and the greatest love story ever recorded is the love our God had for his people to send his Son in humanly flesh to live with us and then to die for us.
O Come Let Us Adore Him.