It has occurred to me that I haven't shared our story on this blog and since I'd love for my kids to know this one day, when is a better time than now.
|This is the first pic Jeff and I ever took together. This couch, in the playroom of my parents old house, is where he asked me to be his girlfriend and where we had our first kiss <3|
I met Jeff through our church at the age of 16. He was 20 and in a college group with my sister. The first time I saw him I thought how cute he was and remember telling my sister what an amazing smile he has.
But that was it. It was the summer before my junior year. I was having fun. And actually in a "serious" relationship (I think it lasted about 6 months so in high school terms, "serious" ;).
It was when this so called "serious" relationship ended at the beginning of my junior year that I began questioning dating. I didn't see myself marrying this guy but yet I felt hurt when he broke up with me. What was the point of the pain? I began praying to God that the next man I date be my future husband. I did not want to waste my time.
It was about a week after the break up when I had lunch with my sis and the college group at a Taco Bell and I remember talking to Jeff and telling him that I wasn't in that relationship anymore. It was funny (and really cute) because I could hear almost a happiness in his voice after I told him. He said I should start hanging out with the college group more and we talked about running together.
And my crush began.
So it was my 17th birthday (Oct 31, 2002). I had just finished tennis practice (which meant an hour and a half of tennis practice plus half of an hour of conditioning) and had plans to go to dinner for my birthday with my family when Jeff called to see if I wanted to go running. Keep in mind it was my birthday and it's not like I needed the exercise... but I jumped at the opportunity!
So for the next week, we started running together (I really don't remember how many times). But it was a really great way to get to know each other. We would talk while we ran (we were actually in good enough shape to do that). On one run, I distinctly remember telling Jeff that I was either going to marry someone I just met (hint, hint) or someone I would meet in the future... and he agreed. (Ha!) I really felt a connection with him... it was different. But he was 20! (And in 2 months would be 21!)
Christmas dance was around the corner and at our school, the girls asked the guys to this dance. Most of my friends were going but I had no one to ask. My best friend knew that I liked Jeff so she pushed me to ask him. No way! Why would he want to go to a stupid high school dance???
Don't know how it happened. I don't consider myself to be bold. But on one of our runs, Christmas dance came up. I told Jeff I was not going but he thought I should. Then somehow... maybe God gave me the words... I (in record speed talking time) said something like "well, if I went I would want to go with you but you would never want to go to a stupid high school dance so I don't want to go" To which Jeff replied, "I'll go. Just let me know so I can get a tux." My jaw must have dropped. I couldn't believe what just happened. To this day I remember exactly where we were in my parents' neighborhood. Of course I was like "ya, I guess I want to go then." (Ha!)
Not sure how I kept running after that. Then Jeff proceeded to ask me out on our first date. I was in shock and ecstatic but also worried what my parents would say because of the age difference. Fortunately, my parents let me go. We had our first date at Olive Garden on November 8, 2002. I actually still had my braces on and Jeff jokes about how I covered my mouth a lot while eating. After dinner we were watching TV at my parents' house and Jeff was like "sooooo, are weeeee...." Not really sure the words that followed but somehow we decided at that moment we were dating.
I can honestly say I knew Jeff was the man I was going to marry even before that moment. I just knew. But when I was away for the Thanksgiving holiday (at the deer lease with my family), I prayed for a sign from God that he was the one.
And God answered.
I saw a shooting star fall from the sky and felt confirmation from God. So sometime that December, I told Jeff I was going to write him a letter... not sure if I explained much more than that. And he said he was going to write me one too. We went to a park and read our letters to each other. Our letters both expressed our love for one another and and both included our intentions to marry the other... cheesy, yes, but true.
Of course it wasn't all rainbows and butterflies from there on out. My parents really struggled with the age difference for a while but eventually gave in.
When I graduated high school Jeff had picked his career and was going to school for it as well as working in the outpatient physical therapy department of St. John's Hospital. I started attending the same college and actually ended up getting a job at St. John's as well in the outpatient pediatric therapy department. So Jeff and I would ride to school together, go to our separate classes, then ride to work together, and go to our separate departments.
After a year of this, Jeff was a year away from graduating and decided we should get engaged and married. (Not sure what his original timeline was). I was freaked out at first. I was 19 and had never left mommy and daddy's house. I was set on graduating college before we got married. So Jeff and I prayed about it.
And God answered.
We ended up both having peace about it. And as hard as it probably was on my parents, they understood. So Jeff proposed in May of 2005 (at the park where we first said I love you) and we were married a year later (June 24, 2006)
Five years ago today I walked down the isle to the rest of my life, to my soul mate, my best friend, my protector, and my leader. To think I was a mere 20 year old. If I only knew then what I know now. It seems like just in the last year we've finally learned what God wants our marriage to look like. And we are striving for that image.
Jeff, just as I knew, without a doubt, at 17, that you were my soul mate, I still know today. I love you for a million small reasons but, most importantly, for the biggest reason... God made us for each other. I feel like we are embarking on a whole new phase of our marriage by growing our family together. I'm sure it will have it's challenges but just as God always has, He will continue to give us the answers. I'm anxiously looking forward to this new journey together.