How We Fell In Love

Ledford Engagement-59From The Brave Man’s Side:

I’m trying to think of what kind of movie our story would be. With the way it happened I would say it’s more of a romantic comedy.

My part of the story starts in March 2013. I was praying about what I should do for the next season of my life. I was traveling around the nation and I heard God speak and all he said was to move back home and don’t make any plans past June.

So I did just that – I moved back home to Excelsior Springs. The next month was pretty rough. I was 24 at the time, living in my parents basement, no money, no job, oh and single. Did I mention my youngest brother was also just recently engaged and about to be married? So needless to say, I felt like a loser with no direction or purpose in my life.

But I knew God had spoken to me. “Don’t make any plans past June.”

I eventually ran out of money and got a job. This was the end of May… June 1st came and I was ready for whatever God had told me to move back to Excelsior for. Nothing really eventful happened that day except… This lady who I had never met showed up at my work and said she recognized me from my grandpa’s church and that they were friends. She also said that she had a niece who went to the same Bible college that I had just graduated from. She pulled up a picture on Facebook and suggested that we should meet sometime.

Too much to my surprise, this girl was actually really attractive and a Christian. Usually this is not the case when an aunt or grandma suggest that you date their niece or granddaughter. In my previous experience, it was usually one or the other, not both.

While I was interested, I thought to myself that this would never happen. I mean how many love stories start from a blind date? This girl was out of my league for sure. How do I even begin to talk to this girl? Go to her work and say “Hi my name is Greg, your Aunt said that we should go out on a date sometime. Are you free Friday night?”

Because this seemed so crazy, I just wrote it off as some random event for the day. I continued about my day waiting for God to speak to me or for something earth shattering to happen. But nothing else happened that day.

I waited hopefully each day until June was over. I asked God what the deal was? How come nothing had happened? I’d moved home and not made any plans. Now what? Did I hear Him wrong?

He actually gently reminded me of the strange woman who had come in at the beginning of the month.

My next thought was, “That’s crazy God! There’s no way that this could ever work.”

…Eventually I just put everything on the shelf. I stopped trying to figure it out and just decided to trust Him.

In the meantime, the same lady that came in kept sending me Facebook messages about her niece.

I still thought it would never happen.

Then…. One night she sent me a blog this girl had written. I read it and something weird happened. I could sense this kind of sadness in her writing. A loneliness and frustration I was all too familiar with. I felt the very pain and sadness she was writing about. I thought to myself, “This is crazy. how could this girl feel this way? She’s pretty, she seems nice, and she is actually a Christian. Who wouldn’t want to date this girl?”

Something changed in my heart as I read the blog. I felt like I should try and get to know this girl. What did I have to lose anyway?

So from then on, I started thinking of ways to try and talk to this girl. I came up with random reasons to stop by the book store where she worked, order cookies from her small business for my work(for my boss and me)and trying to see if we had mutual friends so we could all hang out.

After many months of seemingly getting nowhere, I decided I had to just be a man and go ask her out. I was 99% sure she was going to say no, but much to my surprise, she actually said yes.

After several coffee dates & a few months I thought things were going well. Then all of the sudden I got the dreaded “we need to talk” text. I knew exactly where this was headed. I had been here a time or two! This was starting to feel like the recurring story of my life. Meet a girl, go on a couple dates, things seem to be going well, then once things start to get more serious – Boom – you get hit with the “I think we should just be friends for a while.” Friend-zoned is the technical term for it.

I was upset at first as any man would be. I had 2 options: I could get upset and bitter, or I could turn around and bless this girl. I have seen and been a part of relationships in the past where people get hurt by someone and leave the relationship with more baggage than they started. I had this thought in the middle of all of this. What if instead of leaving a relationship with baggage, you left a better person? Why do people have to leave with baggage and insecurities? Why not become a better person through the whole process? Isn’t that what love is really about?

Love is not self-seeking, it keeps no record of wrongs, and it does not dishonor others. Love cares about the other person regardless of what they have to offer you in return.

I decided that this was how I was going to approach the “we need to talk” coffee date. Regardless of what this girl said or chose to do, I was going to show her love. On the way to the date, I prayed. I asked God that if this was the girl for me that he would make everything work out. Or if I wasn’t supposed to be with this girl, that he would just shut everything down quickly. (From my past dating experience, God was very good at the shutting down part). I decided I was just going to trust God.

We met for coffee and it started off exactly as I thought it would. She had a busy schedule with work and finishing school and wanted to know if we could just be friends for a while until she was able to figure things out.

She told me later that she had come in planning to just call things off altogether. But something happened in the middle of our date. Instead of telling me to go away, like she was planning to, she ended up only saying she needed some space to figure things out.

And instead of me disappearing, like I wanted to do, I decided to give her the space she asked for and also to keep pursuing her.

The whole thing was kind of weird. I didn’t get upset like I thought I was going to, and she didn’t call things off like I was expecting her to. I felt so much peace through the whole date. So we continued being friends.

However, the more I tried to give her space it seemed like the more she wanted to hang out. We had agreed to not hang out one on one, but it seemed like we were hanging out even more than before. We also agreed not to text each other so much, but ended up texting every day.

Then at the end of May, almost a year from when everything started, she decided that she didn’t need space anymore. I asked her to be my girlfriend, and she said yes! I can’t wait to be married and continue our story.

 

 

 

 From The Confused Girl’s Side:

I was 23, working and going to school, trying to start a small business, and praying about moving halfway across the world. Apparently this random guy had received outside encouragement to talk to me in hopes of becoming my boo.

I had him on my radar solely for the purpose of avoiding that set-up.

He attempted to do so by repeatedly coming into the bookstore where I worked and buying books, then by ordering cookies from my cookie business.

He kept visiting my work on the same day at the same time every week. I knew why he was there, but he didn’t know that I knew. He seemed super nervous every time he came in and would just wander around and stand in a section of books for a long time.

Once, he stood in the section of books labeled, “Missions and Outreach” for a good 20 minutes, then came up to the counter and said, “Excuse me, do you have a Missions section?”

While all of this was going on, I was also trying to get over a 5 year crush on someone who had never tried to talk to me, and therefore definitely wasn’t too interested in this Gregg person because I was still holding out hope for something completely ridiculous.

My 24th birthday came. It was not a very good day for me. I was sick, I had to work, and I was frustrated with my life. It seemed liked I had made zero progress from the last year. I was nowhere near reaching the goals I had set for myself.

While at work, my frustration turned into sadness and I started typing out all of my feelings in a draft on my blog. I said, “Lord, I’m angry. I’m frustrated. I’m just sad. Please Lord, for my birthday, tonight, show me a tangible, physical sign that you see me and that you care.

Well, this guy had come into the store right as I was finishing the blog up. He asked me if I wanted to get coffee sometime. I was tired and emotional and just said “Sure.”

I had no emotions toward the situation whatsoever. I thought nothing of it. After he left I actually was even more frustrated because I didn’t really want to get coffee.

At this point, I had been on a lot of coffee dates, most of which were disasters, so my expectations were zero.

To my surprise, this coffee date went so very well. It lasted about 5 hours. The conversation flowed so well and I quickly realized this guy had so many of the same goals and was like-minded with me in so many ways. I felt very cared about and also very refreshed to be around a “normal” guy.

The next day, he sent me a text telling me how much he enjoyed last night and asked me out to dinner.

I was hesitant because I was all too familiar with the guy who moves way too fast and as soon as he realizes you don’t want to move that fast, completely disappears. So I replied asking if we could have coffee again first.

The second coffee date went so well that it ended up becoming our favorite memory of our early dating days. We were up in a cool loft with cool lights, I was drinking my favorite tea, and I was passionately talking about my trip to Africa, telling almost every detail to this guy I barely knew. As he was listening to me, I actually started becoming a bit mesmerized by this bearded dude sitting across from me in a red flannel. This mesmerization may have had something to do with the fact that hipster love songs were playing from the speakers of the loft.

Things were going great!

Until … I started to feel like running away.

Because that is what I do.

I suddenly felt a lot of uncertainty in my heart. I was about to leave for Colorado and was just really unsure about everything. I knew I needed to call this off. I didn’t have peace.

So I told Gregg we needed to talk and set up a time to meet up and tell him I wasn’t interested.

Looking back, I can see that I was just scared. I had never had a boyfriend and had so many wrong expectations for what things were supposed to be like.

In this meeting I somehow never got out the words, “I’m sorry, but I’m not interested and don’t want this to go further.” The only thing I actually said was that I needed space and asked if we could not hang out and text so much for a while.

I was shocked. Shocked by what I said, and shocked with the way he handled it. He basically told me, “Whatever happens with this, I want to treat you with respect and honor, and even if this never goes anywhere, I want you to be a better person when you leave because of the way I treated you and handled your heart.”

BOOM.

We parted ways with the agreement that we would not text or hang out for a while, and as I drove away, all I could think about was how mature and Christ like this man had been. I was so confused and conflicted inside. I kept thinking, “when people like that come into your life, you keep them there. You don’t let those kinds of people go.” But at the same time I was not ready for this relationship yet. I didn’t know what to do.

Three months passed from our “talk”. During these three months, I actually texted him more than I did before. I wanted to see him more and more.

Something was happening in my heart. I felt the Lord was saying, “Don’t be afraid. Just jump in. I know you don’t know where the relationship is headed, but I want you to let your heart feel what loving someone is like. Jump in without knowing the outcome. Even if it doesn’t end in marriage, learning how to love is always worth it.”

After God had changed me, I was ready.

The semester was over and summer had finally arrived. I invited Gregg over to my house.

We went out onto the back porch to talk at 8 PM. Before I knew it, we heard a bird chirping. The sky started showing hints of morning light. We checked the time and it was 6 AM.

I finally got out the words, “I like you.” To which he replied, “I like you too, and I would really like to date you.” I said, “Well why aren’t we dating then?” He asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes. And the rest is history

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