Just a silly love story: part 1
Spoiler alert. I love those cheesy love stories that have the super predictable endings. LOVE THEM. Call me lame, shallow or all the above but I can't help it. During Christmas I could have the tv on the Hallmark channel with continuous cheesy predictable Christmas love stories all day long. If I didn't have to tend to children, chores and life. It is most definitely my guilty pleasure.
I can remember being a young girl and dreaming up my perfect love story. Looking back, there are definitely parts of "my story" that are not perfect, but I recognize God's beauty and grace written all over our story that makes me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Throughout the years there have been so many times that I have wondered what I could have done to deserve this love and this life. I have come to only one conclusion— which I will get to later.
In Jeremiah chapter 29 the Lord is telling His people that He has plans for them, plans for a hope and a future. He goes on to say, "You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart... and I will restore you." I had no idea how great His plan for my life could be, and truth be told, I know that I could not have found this great love story, had I not found an even greater love story in my life. Honestly, to tell one can only be told by telling both.
So let's start here. The story of Josh and I.
You know those cutesy love stories about an elementary aged boy having his first crush and then dating that very girl in High School, they fall in love, they graduate, move on to graduate college and then get married and live happily ever after?
Well, that is our real life story.
This is our cheesy love story.
Josh loves to tell people how I was his first crush in the third grade, and he claims that I had a crush on him as well, I just have a hard time recalling this detail. ;) My biggest memory from the third grade was trying to hang with the boys and play basketball at recess. One day I was playing basketball and thought I was really on my "A" game until I tripped on someone's foot and broke my ankle. One day Josh and I were reminiscing when we drove by that same elementary school and when I threw out that memory his eyes sparked with shock and he said, "I know, it was my foot. I felt so bad but I never wanted to say anything." True story.
The first time I started taking an interest in Josh was in Jr. High. He was absolutely the guy that all the girls had their eyes on. I never was the bold boy chasing type (plus he always went for older girls) so I always hung back and barely got in a word here and there and felt like I could go home and be happy for the rest of my life because Josh Stewart smiled at me. (Btw, I might have to ban him from reading this post so it doesn't all go to his head)
One day I was sitting with a new friend at the lunch table when she started talking about how her family was going over to The Stewart's house for an event because their moms were best friends. You bet my ears perked up and I became her very best friend from that point on and soon met the entire Stewart clan on one of those family get togethers. ;) I must also add, this girl is one of my dearest and most treasured friends still to this day and I am incredibly thankful for her friendship. She showed me what a relationship with Christ looks like and she continues to encourage me with her insight and depth of knowledge on life. God truly interweaves every detail in life when we are open in heart and mind to see his just how he works to bless our lives.
Needless to say, I never quite got a chance to dance with him at an awkward Jr. High dance, but I did write him down as a very likely candidate for marriage in my journal.
Moving on to our High School days. Our Freshman year, I was not even planning on going to homecoming until Josh Stewart asked me to be his chaperone since he was up for Homecoming court. This is awkward us, freshman year. Details from that year are fuzzy and we never dated (he continued to date older women). We were always friends as we continued to date other people for the next couple years.
All four years of High School, I was a basketball manager and I LOVED it! Me and a couple of girl friends got premium treatment and even got to travel to state with the boys one year. Josh was always very skilled in basketball and I still love to watch him play when given the chance (he often jokingly, or not, reminds me that he still has 1 year of college basketball eligibility and he might go back).
We both love to watch basketball, which is one of a few things we actually have in common. Going to game 4 of the Western Conference Finals in OKC (Thunder vs. Warriors) last year was definitely a top 10 memory during our years together.
So all that to say, we FINALLY crossed paths when neither of us were dating someone and went to Homecoming together and dated for about 5 months. Somewhere toward the end of our junior year, Josh had called me up on the house phone (yes, the home phone — cell phones were a fairly new concept). So he called me on the phone and said, "You know, I think we should take a break for a little bit. I know you are the kind of girl I want to marry when I am older, but right now I just want to have fun."
Yes, those were his exact words that I never forgot.
I naturally went in defense mode and told my close friends, "It's fine. I don't think I really like him that much anyway, he is definitely not the kind of guy I could see myself marrying someday."
The thing was, not only did I start saying that out of defense, but I truly started to believe it. I shut off every kind of school girl crush emotion in my body. Rejection was not something that sat well with me, and I would venture to say that most high school girls turn any form of rejection into something negative as an inward reflection of her insecurities and a lack of confidence. Sometimes, it can turn in to motivation. For me, it was a mixture of both.
Josh started dating (an older girl) very shortly after he mentioned our "break" which naturally sent me into competition mode and then cold shoulder mode. I refused to hardly look at him let alone talk to him the rest of our high school career.
However, this was the same year I grasped the concept of what it looks like to have a personal relationship with Christ. I did not grow up going to church regularly, so it was all very new and my heart was full of joyful expectation of who Christ is and what he could do in my life. Needless to say, I still made careless mistakes along the way as I tried to navigate what it would look like to follow Christ. I am positive as I look back over those years in school that God placed every detail at just the right time, as only He could, to speak to my heart and to guide me in the way I needed to go.
If I had not been following Christ, I would not have come to the point I needed to be at my freshmen year of college when Josh and I bumped into each other again. This is where I will leave this story for now.
When you have known someone for most of your life, it becomes way too long of a story to fit into one post.
Also, I would love to hear your questions if you have any! I almost feel silly telling the "story of us", but I love to re-live it over our anniversary week and hope that you all can see the beauty in which God works in our lives. All glory goes to him, in everything, but especially in the way that he has brought our lives together. I love to see that as I put the story down in writing and hope that you see that. I also wanted to capture it all for my kids. I am sure they will hear the story a handful of times while growing up, but there is also a value in having it typed up and available at all times.
Thank you again for joining in our journey and being so kind and encouraging.