One day in January 2008, I was in between classes, resting in my dorm room when I read a blog by Kelly Needham called A Challenge of Surrender. Never before had I felt so led to surrender a list to God specifically telling Him my needs and wants for my husband to be. But I wrote the list and saved it on my computer just to have it go unnoticed for a few years.
On the brink of graduation I found myself still single and not sure what type of career I would be going into after graduation. I was presented with an opportunity to step out in faith and moved two states away for a summer youth internship. I figured, after all, what are a few weeks out of state? Wrong again, as my internship turned into an extended stay in the area.
Even though I had decided to stay in the area once my internship was complete, I did travel home every year to Michigan for our family’s annual week at the Christian campground, Bay Shore Camp.
The summer after my internship was a little different. I had a lot of friends at camp, but not all of them were the kind to stay in touch with after the week or fun had passed by. Even though my husband, Ben, and I had known each other many years through our families’ involvement in the camp, it was that summer of 2010 when our friendship began.
That fall, I came home to attend a mutual friend’s wedding and invited Ben to join me. The ceremony was not too close to where either of us lived. Instead of us both driving separate, he came to get me, showing me how much of a gentleman he was. At least a two-hour drive to get me, then back north to the ceremony and back toward where he lived for the reception. Then he still had to drive me back to where I would stay in my hometown and drive himself home another two hours!
After having developed that friendship, we would stay in touch just enough to say when I would be visiting, or he would call to see if I would be coming home for Christmas or Easter. Turns out, that Christmas I would be in town. I asked if he wouldn’t mind joining my family and me for Christmas Eve, and he did. We went to see my sister at the McDonald’s where she worked, attended not one, but two of my dad’s Christmas Eve Services, and then played Euchre at our house.
Ben and I remained just friends while I went back to my life in Kentucky. I was just positive I would end up meeting someone down there. I read articles like, “From ‘Hi’ to ‘I Do’ In a Year” and felt that would be how my love story would unfold, but I was still waiting, or so I thought.
What I didn’t expect next came in the spring of 2012. I had told my dad I was going to meet up with Ben on my next visit to Michigan, and my dad said he had thought Ben and I were already dating! We had not spoken in months and only after this short visit did Ben initiate us talking more and more. As longtime friends, he would “jokingly” tell me that I needed to move back to Michigan.
Having never been on a date, he told me the next time I was in Michigan he would take me on a real date. Still not sure what to think, I told my friends it was a pity date. However, a good friend told me if he calls every day it is not a “pity” date! I used to be embarrassed that I had never dated, but Ben has always said how thankful he is that he was my first kiss and first relationship.
So that spring, almost two years later, we had continued talking, and later that summer he would come with me to visit my parents. I soon found myself finding every reason to come up to Michigan for visit to spend time with him. At this point our parents still did not know we were dating because we didn’t want to strain our families’ relationships if we were not meant to marry. However, I know my dad had told a close friend that we were so good together and should “just get married!”
However, at our annual camp meeting that year, Ben asked my dad if he could pursue me in marriage. My dad was impressed that someone still had the courtesy to ask the father on a simple matter as dating. Soon after it all began, I knew in my heart that I would be moving back to Michigan to plan a wedding and start our lives together. Several weeks later he drove to my parents’ house to ask my dad if he could marry me.
Ben and I did have a short dating relationship and a short engagement, causing some friends to bring on negative comments, but because of our relationship, our families’ relationships, and our individual relationships with the Lord, we knew that God was for our marriage. It was Nov. 10, 2012, when Ben and I said “I do” at the very place we met as children.
Now, several months after being married, I had found my “Challenge of Surrender,” and I still laugh and tell my friends about how God must have been sending him my way all along.
Are you engaged or newly married? We’d love to hear your story and how Boundless was helpful to you along the way! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more stories like this one, go to Engagement Stories.