I've been contemplating about writing down our love story for a few months now. I'm not sure what has been holding me back, but I had a little pep talk with myself and decided to just do it--it needs to be recorded anyway so I don't forget all the details. Looking back, it's quite amazing the way God used events in our individual lives to eventually lead us to each other. So without further ado....
Let me lay the groundwork first. I come from a Christian home--raised in church and introduced to Jesus at a very young age. My parents are still head-over-heels in love and all my friends knew that when they came to my house, my mom and dad would be mushy and all over each other. Both sets of grandparents and the majority of my aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived in the same town, so I grew up adoring my family and loving every second I got to spend with them. Needless to say, growing up in that environment allowed me to dream of the day when I would meet my own Prince Charming and have the marriage and family my parents had. Jesus called me to be His child when I was 5 years old. Since then, I have continued to grow in my personal relationship with him and seek after His will in my life--from the smallest, most minute details to the huge, scary ones.
I am an oldest child, and as such, I have very oldest-child tendencies--I'm a strong leader, I'm bossy, I'm very organized and goal-oriented (a major planner), I put on an air of self-confidence and I never (under any circumstance) cry. When it comes to matters of the heart, deep down I want to be the fairy tale princess with my Prince Charming coming to pursue me and tell me I'm the most beautiful girl he's ever laid eyes on and that he can't live without me. However, I stuffed that into the furthest corner of my heart and was very guarded when it came to boys. I never wanted them to think me forward or flirtatious, and as a result, I didn't "date" very often.
When I was in 10th grade, I had my first serious dating relationship. I decided at that point in time that I would never say the words, "I love you", to any boy until I KNEW without a doubt that he was the one God had for me to marry. My parents also bought me a True Love Waits ring--a symbol to stay pure until marriage. I wore it on my ring finger of my left hand, and vowed that it was not coming off until my future husband exchanged it for an engagement ring.
Fast forward to my college years: I attended the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Health Sciences--Radiography. Because of the degree program I chose, I took my first 60 hours on-campus and the last 60 hours would be completed in X-Ray school. Knowing that I only had one free summer, I made a spontaneous decision (which is so unlike me) to apply to work at Kanakuk Kamps for the summer of 2008. Kanakuk is a Christian organization that started in 1926 and over time has evolved into one of the greatest Christian summer camps in our nation. It is based on three main principles: God first, Others second, I'm third. There are several different camps for boys and girls of all ages as well as a Family Kamp. Kanakuk Family Kamp is a resort quality environment that enriches families through Bible study, activities, family nights, parent night, and much more. After attending an orientation to become a counselor, I felt God leading me to apply to work at the Family Kamp. I got accepted and worked there for 8 weeks. I can't even describe how incredible that experience was. God taught me so much that summer--to trust Him above all else and that He had a plan for me. Two of the biggest things that happened to me during my time there was I met my best friend, Kaitlyn, and I also felt led by God to make a "Mate List."
During one of my quiet times, I felt the Lord speaking to me about his plan for my future husband. I felt the need to write down on paper what qualities would be non-negotiable and what qualities would be nice for him to have. All in all, I had about 25 character traits that I listed. I knew in my heart, God had a man out there for me who possessed at least all the non-negotiable ones, and I was hopeful he would have some of the other ones too. Little did I know, God was preparing the heart of my future husband that same summer, halfway across the world.
to be continued...
click HERE for Part 2!