We met. We were friends. We liked eachother, and well….now we’re married!
Just kidding. Due to the fact that there are so many details that involve other people, I’d rather not write a complete tale, but instead will just outline some points.
– I met Jordan at my sister, Lizzie’s, church in Indiana, when my family travelled to hang out with her for a day. She had just begun college away from home, and I was wavering between joining her and finding something closer to home to do. I was twenty-one and it was one of those ‘cross-roads’ in life, at which I stood in absolute confusion. Jordan was twenty-three, and was finishing his degree in Pastoral Studies. He gave the announcements for that church service, and I remember leaning towards my sister Sarah and whispering, “That guy is really funny!” She agreed.
– January 21, 2010, I joined Lizzie at IBC (and I promise Jordan had nothing to do with my decision!). Actually, getting married was pretty far from my thoughts at the time. As a family, we had just struggled through a church split that nearly split our family. Things were still fairly unstable at home, and Daddy was going overseas for a 4 month tour of duty in Qatar (as a civilian). Besides, I had already met or heard of all the guys at this small Baptist college, and was convinced there was nobody there for me. I mean, Jordan was nice, but the gossip was, he already liked somebody, so….. (until the day our courtship was announced, this same kind of gossip was circulated about him. It’s humorous to me now that his name was hooked up with almost every other girl’s name, except my own. And the funny thing is, he was completely ignorant of at least half of that gossip, and the other half he did his best to stop!)
– First week at school, Jordan gave me an impromptu “violin lesson”. We enjoyed ourselves. 😀 So much so that, as the semester progressed, I kept finding myself somehow involved in yet another little private lesson/practicing session with this guy. Knowing the strict rules of the school, I sometimes said “no” when he asked me to do this with him, and then he wouldn’t ask me again for a long time. 😦 Which made me kinda sad, but…..hey, a girl has to be safe, you know? I wasn’t about to give the gossip circle something to talk about!
– A quarter of the way through the semester, a small family tragedy struck, and Lizzie and I were thrown into another one of those ‘faith walks’ our Lord delights to takes us on! It was a time of spiritual depth, struggle, pain and healing, accompanied by that sweet sense of closeness with my Savior that always comes in times of suffering. If marriage had been on my mind before, it certainly was not after that event! I remember being in Church and crying so hard, tears pouring down my cheeks, unable to stop, as Jordan – uncomfortably aware that two sobbing girls were standing the second row – prayed for the offering, “And Lord, please be with those of us who may be suffering tonight, no matter what it is. Comfort them, and give them strength to go through it. Let them feel your presence.” Ok, thanks. Now I’m crying even harder!
– A hard semester full of dorm problems, stinging gossip and inner struggles! At the same time, a spiritually rich portion of my life that left me with a lot of happy memories. I saw Jordan a lot. And we had fun, every chance we got. I thought it was refreshing to visit with a guy like him, who was funny, logical, mature in all the ways that counted. On what he insists upon calling “our first date” – in reality, a school outing to the Creation Museum – he hung out with me and my family (who had come for the day) the entire time, even sitting next to me in the Planetarium. I didn’t notice any of this. I mean, I knew he was there, but I was so busy feeling homesick I didn’t attach any special meaning to his actions.
– End of banquet. Jordan joined me – the only kitchen girl willing to work in the afternoon, rather than curling my hair for two hours – and helped me set place settings all the way up until the last minute. Again, I didn’t notice anything particularly strange about this. I remember I was tired – exhausted! – from many, many late nights and early mornings. I remember my eyes were tired from crying the night before, and that my heart was heavy with an anxious anticipation/dread of going home that weekend, and facing the new ‘home problems’ on the ‘home-front’ for the first time. To top it all off, I had to give a little, one minute speech that night, for which I was totally unprepared! A kind, and solicitous Jordan (who also happened to be giving a speech, was completely unprepared AND completely not-nervous) comforted me and gave me tips, but I only vaguely recognized that. Five minutes before the banquet, I dashed upstairs to change clothes and brush my hair. I distinctly remember that he called my hair “beautiful” that night. Several other people did, too, but I don’t remember them. He whispered, “I’m praying for you. You’ll do fine!” as I stood up to give my pathetic, awful little speech.
– Summer, 2010. I was working at the school, and Jordan was taking two Hebrew Modules. Also, I made coffee in the mornings for his Hebrew professor, during their break. Jordan began coming for coffee. He was quite excited about coffee, in fact. I prolonged the coffee-making process because, quite frankly, I was beyond lonely, working in the basement kitchen at the school every day, and he was such lively, interesting company. I never knew what we would talk about, so it kept a sense of expectancy in my otherwise boring weeks!
– June and the VBS week. Jordan, Lizzie and I spent many hours that week working together, building a fake submarine for our classroom, and working with the bus kids. That’s when things first began to be suspicious to Liz and I. He was obviously going out of his way to hang out with us – and why???? We couldn’t figure it out.
Wednesday was the icing on the cake. He had called the night before, begging for us to come early and help on the bus, as he was having a hard time handling all the kids by himself. “We have no ride,” we objected. Fine. He would take us with him after his Hebrew class that morning (provided we could get off work for the day – which we could) and take us to the church. Then we would have extra time to work on classroom stuff without the distraction of working in an office or a kitchen all day. Great plan! Only, he wouldn’t be able to take us to church right away. He had a job interview at the hospital down-town, first. Lizzie and I looked at eachother and hesitated. “It’s fine,” I said, “We’re not breaking any rules, and besides, it would be nice to have a whole day free to get class stuff ready!” We agreed to the plan. By the next day, it had evolved into a trip the The Canals, downtown, complete with a ride on the little shuttle train that runs from the hospital to…I don’t remember where. Lizzie and I found ourselves taking a tour of the more ritzy down-town area with this Jordan, both of us in complete surprise and wonder. I remember the funny, raised-eyebrows expressions we kept giving each other.
When it was finally time for his interview and he left us at The Canals, we were feeling very much out of our element. And the next minute, we were having an hilarious good time! Just Liz and I, walking along this beautiful place, in the middle of a strange city…the adventure of it was overwhelming. When Jordan rejoined us, we were sitting under a bridge, hanging our feet in the water. We thought then that we would walk back to the car and proceed to Church, but no. Jordan had other plans. He sat down besides us and began talking. And talking, and talking. Lizzie claims he talked mostly to me, but I didn’t think so.
We talked for an hour and a half, and finally got on the road. Only to take a tour of his home town, and see the plot of land on which he hoped to put his trailer or cabin someday. Talk about confused! Lizzie and I had no idea what was going on with all of this.
– Is it any surprise that, the very next day, I woke up and realized, “I could really like this guy!” The reality of him liking me was so dim (to me – I’m hard to convince!) that I quickly dismissed the idea, and just determined that I needed to be more careful around him.
– Things continued getting more suspicious, but I convinced myself that “he was just being friendly”, and left it at that. Only once did I really think there might be something more than friendship. Jordan was reaching into his wallet to show me his new CDL liscence, and accidentally pulled out the wrong paper. He hastily stuffed it back in, but not before I saw, quite clearly, my dad’s email address. A huge question mark lit my brain. Why would Jordan have my Dad’s email address???? That was a question that remained unanswered for awhile, and eventually I just let it drop.
– Fall, 2010. I went home. It was my choice to leave school and go home, and although I had no clear idea of what I would do, I knew school was not the place for me. There were things about it that I missed: chapel, the busy social life, Jordan…. but I knew I had to do something different with my life.
– Two days after getting home, Mama said, “We need to talk.”. Special coffee, a walk in the park… I was sure something was wrong. When she finally broke the news that some guy had talked to Daddy about me, I was at a loss to know who. One of the random things Jordan had said to me was that, since giving up dating, he was pretty much terrified to start a relationship with a girl. So, he was out of the question. Or not. When Mama told me it was him, and that he had talked to Daddy several weeks ago, and had met with him several times since then, I just laughed. It was unbelievable!
– And then I prayed. I prayed, and I thought, and I prayed, and I thought, until my brain hurt. I woke up early to think about it, and stayed up late, laying wide awake in my bed, rolling each past event through my mind, and wondering. I did not want to say “yes” if he was the wrong one for me. At the same time, I did not want to say “no” if this was really God’s will. And the fact that I wanted to say “yes” made it harder to make a clear decision. For SIX WEEKS I prayed about it, feeling sure that he would change his mind.
(This is another detail-laden part which I have no time to relate)
– I said “yes”. We started courting. Awkwardly. Timidly – on my part anyway. Due to the negative gossip concerning him and me that was now making the rounds of my old friends and acquaintances at IBC, I was painfully bashful towards him in public. So much so that I caused him a lot of humiliation, as some of his good friends began asking him, “Does she even like you?”
– Thus, a confrontation. After one terrible night, in which I knew I was being rude to him, inexcusably rude, and yet couldn’t seem to snap out of it, Jordan asked me if we could “talk”. I could see that he was upset. I knew he was hurt by how I had treated him, yet I wasn’t prepared to talk about it. He got straight to the point, confronting me on my behaviour, wondering why I was acting that way, and even wondering if maybe I wanted to just put an end to this whole relationship, since I seemed to dislike him so much. All I could do was agree with him, admit how bad I’d been, and cry. “I’m afraid that you won’t keep liking me, and then people will make fun of me,” was my excuse. “But people are making fun of ME instead,” he pointed out, “Isn’t that the same thing, only reversed?” Ouch. Serious ouch. “What is it going to take for me to earn your trust?” he asked, and I realized for the first time that I owed him at least as much trust as he placed in me. “I don’t want to take all your ‘firsts’ – first date, first boyfriend, stuff like that – if you don’t really want to do this.” But I did! I really did! Only, I was allowing fear to control me and hurt him. I have never been so ashamed and sad in my whole life as I was that day. However, I was able to tell him something he did not expect: that I DID want to continue. “I know I’ve done wrong,” I said, “But I want to go on, if you want to. I want to do better.” Things began mending.
– I’ve come to realize that nothing in life goes according to plan. In theory, our courtship should have been the perfect ‘model’ relationship, complete with proper chaperoning, parental guidance, limited and somewhat controlled contact, etc, etc…. And to some, it really appeared ‘perfect’. But in reality it was fraught with mistakes. So many things came as a surprise. Issues in my family came to a head again and again, as the courtship rubbed a sore spot that had been rankling for years. I found myself tempted in ways I didn’t know were possible. I tried to deal with things properly; I failed; I tried again. Many, many mistakes left Jordan and I both feeling embarrassingly human and humiliated. Sometimes I wondered how God could take two such messed-up human beings and bring anything good out of it all? And yet, time and again, I could see the hand of God, even in the after-math of each mistake. I began to be more and more sure that, in spite of everything, I was in the center of His will.
– July 2, another Saturday visit from Jordan, but this one wasn’t normal. It was 4th of July weekend, and both my college sisters were home. Relatives were visiting, and we were on a camping trip that included a canoe trip – long-time family dream come true. Of course, Jordan was in my canoe, as well as my older sister Nicole, and we were having a great time, going sideways over logs, and banging our heads against low-hanging branches. Jordan was a little preoccupied, but I had learned at this point to just take life as it comes, so I was enjoying the moment.
Then, he called ahead to my dad and said, “Hey, can we pull off to the side and take a break for a few minutes?” And Daddy said, “Sure”. We pulled our canoe onto dry land, and explored a short, rocky beach, the three of us. Jordan showed me how to skip rocks, and we amused ourselves for awhile. Finally, he said, “Well, let’s find one really big rock to skip before we get back on the canoe.” I began searching the ground, and was really absorbed in this task when he coughed and said, “Here’s one rock I wouldn’t want to skip.” I turned around, and there was a ring! In a pretty black box! What in the world????? I stood there, slightly confused and very, very excited, as he knelt on a rocky beach and told me for the first time that he loved me, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. All I could do was look at the ring (wondering if this moment was real) or in his eyes, and my response was, “REALLY?? Are you serious? Is this for real???” I even took the ring and held it, in amazement that this moment was really happening, and forgot to say those key words until he laughed, a little shakily, and said, “I think, somewhere in all of this, you are supposed to say yes?” To which I replied, “Yes, of course yes!”
What happened to Nicole this whole time? Well, being the good chaperone she is, when Jordan gave her “a look” and motioned for her to go away, she walked around a corner, and left us to ourselves, although she had no idea what was going on. She’s so funny! 🙂
So there I was with a diamond ring on my finger, and felt like I wasn’t even walking – I was flying! One by one my family member’s saw the ring, in the course of the rest of that canoe trip, and knew what had happened (although it was no surprise to Mom and Dad, who had helped plan the whole thing). It was beyond sweet to me that Jordan didn’t make it a public, video-taped, fancy affair, but kept it sweet and simple between the two of us. How did he know that was what I had always wanted??? How did he know that the ring he chose (a family heirloom) was exactly like my dream ring??? Amazing!
– So, I was engaged on July 2. A week later, we had decided on September 10 as our wedding day (which makes a cool date: 9-10-11!). It was a short engagement, but we really saw no reason to wait, since we were both out of school and he was financially stable, and we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Since I was working full time, this meant B-U-S-Y!!!! I had never had a dream for my wedding, aside from making my own wedding dress – I mean, I didn’t even know what colors I wanted! – so there were many, many decisions to be quickly made, and put together. Without the help of my family, especially my sweet Mama, it would never have happened.
– But that day came all too quickly. We sailed through the rehearsal, no nerves or breakdowns. The Wedding Day dawned bright and busy, and it was almost incredible how normal it was to wake up and think, “Today is the day I get married.” I felt such a peace in my heart that it was almost surreal, especially as brides are usually nervous. Somehow through all the unique occurrences that now form our wedding day memories, I felt completely and totally at peace (even when the wedding was delayed an hour due to a traffic jam coming from Indiana, and Jordan took off with ALL THE GROOMSMEN – much to our pastor’s distress – to get something to eat, since they had been starving all morning. 🙂 ) It wasn’t until the music was playing, and the last bridesmaid had begun her walk that I felt my heart skip a beat. I looked up at Daddy, who had just spent a precious five minutes with my mother and I praying for this moment, and smiled, and wondered if it was going to be awful walking in front of all those people, then the music struck the right note, the door opened and it was happening. I was a mess, until I saw past all the staring faces and met his eyes, and suddenly, nothing else mattered but that I was going to become his wife, after the long, hard path of learning and growing together that the Lord had taken us on.
And that’s the END. Or the beginning, whichever way you look at it. I am enjoying the many precious moments of being married to my best friend, the one who loved me when I was unlovable, who pursued me when I was being difficult, and who laughs with me, lives with me, and endures with me, no matter what happens. (Okay, that sound’s so sappy, but hey… I’m a newlywed. It’s my right!)