|Jewel of the Seas- Royal Caribbean|
After that first interaction I remember wanting to avoid future conversations with him. I was a little embarrassed but more than that I was completely focused on my ministry for the summer which was Jr. and Sr. high girls. Little did I know, I was being watched. In my effort to go unnoticed I sparked an even deeper interest because I was the mysterious girl intern. Patrick remembers trying to find moments to talk with me during Breakaway (our trip for Sr. High that took place early in summer). Unfortunately for him and fortunately for Mark (the youth pastor), I was doing my job well. Patrick hardly ever saw me and when he did, I was surrounded by girls.
|Summer 2006 - During the Edge|
From then on I watched Patrick as well. I noticed how he loved his students. I watched as he made a point to speak to each one of them on the bus. He called them all by name. He had special hand shakes or something else strange with what seemed like half of them and it made them feel special. He would go out of his way to make sure that everyone knew how glad he was to see them when they came into the youth house. Seeing the Spirit of God at work through Patrick was attractive.
The watching each other from afar routine eventually changed the day the rest of the staff left for Mississippi with a group of students for hurricane relief work. Patrick and I were responsible for running the show for the week and, as you can imagine, this required us to talk a good bit. At that point in the summer, I remember wanting that to happen. It was like there had been this growing tension.
One afternoon I found myself walking into Patrick's office with no reason for being there other than I felt that I needed to be talking to him. I remember the first words out of my mouth too, "So, I guess you went to Auburn." (his office used to be blue with AU painted in by a student in one location). I'm not really sure where we went from there. I do remember that I didn't leave his office for about 3 hours. We couldn't stop talking. I know we talked about our families and our faith. I was surprised by how similar our upbringings were and how our Christian walks were so much alike.
By the end of the summer we were officially dating. By that fall we were serious. One night when we were getting into the car at his parents house I remember looking over at him and I had this epiphany. It was seriously like a jolt of lightning through my body as I realized that he was the one. At that point he had already told me that he loved me, but I had not yet told him those same three little words. I remember trying to breathe normally as he drove me back to my campus dorm room. When we got on campus I asked him to pull into the circle at the front of the campus and park the car. When those three words, "I love you." came out of my mouth, the smile that burst across his face is one I'll never forget. There might have even been a little tear there as well. It was just one of those moments that will forever be etched in my memory.
On May 21, 2007 in Botanical Gardens, Patrick proposed with the help of a pretty amazing coloring book. I remember the butterflies in my stomach as I said "Yes!" and having to concentrate really hard on keeping my hand steady as he slipped the ring on my finger.
During our premarital counseling we had to read a book together (Sacred Marriage) and I feel like the book did a great job of explaining one of the most difficult things about marriage- sanctification. I am convinced that no other relationship on earth will expose more of your sin. How's that for promoting marriage? Sanctification is a nasty and humbling experience to go through every day and it is beautiful. I'm humbled and awed by the fact that Patrick can know so much of my sinfulness (my selfishness, insecurities, jealousy, greed, and the list goes on) and continue to love me. At the same time it is my job, burden, joy, and pleasure to do the same thing for him. A picture of Christ and the church? You bet it is.
Every day that I wake up next to Patrick is a blessing from God. Now, I'm not saying we have a perfect marriage for no such thing exists. However, right now I feel aware of how blessed I am and how God has been working in and through our marriage. I know that I am a better person because I am married to Patrick.
|"West End to Broadway" show on the cruise|
Patrick, I love you. Happy anniversary!