Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Four Years

You may have noticed that I've taken a long vacation from blogging. It wasn't really intentional, but then it was. I feel well rested now thanks to a wonderful anniversary cruise. Patrick and I just returned from Cozumel Monday night. It was an extended weekend for the two of us to talk, play, laugh, explore, and reflect on the past four years. Let me take you back for just a little glimpse of what I've been thinking about. This really is more for my benefit than yours so if you're not into reading journal entries, you can skip this post altogether.

Jewel of the Seas- Royal Caribbean
I was first introduced to Patrick on my first Sunday as the summer youth intern at Oak Mountain Presbyterian. We were standing in front of the sound board in the youth house and for some odd reason I made a somewhat sarcastic comment about his hair. He was rocking a fauxhawk at the time and I have no idea what I was thinking. Right after I said it I remember thinking it was dumb. I never make comments like that to people, especially someone I've just met. However, I remember that he smiled back and laughed.

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
The first time I remember really noticing Patrick was when we were coming home from the Edge (our trip for Jr. High which took place mid summer). We were packing up the bus when one of the seventh grade boys came up to Patrick with a foot injury. They boy had cut his foot during our water war time a couple days prior and it looked to be infected or at least well on its way. I watched Patrick grab the first aid kit and head towards the back of the bus. What caught my attention was the coughing and dry heaving that ensued. Apparently, the kid had the worst smelling feet on the planet. I remember looking back at Patrick like it was yesterday. Tears were welled up in his eyes. He turned his head away from the foot, inhaled a clean breath of air, and turned back to continue. Not only did I laugh but I remember thinking to myself, "Who is this guy?"

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.

On January 12, 2008 Patrick and I got married at Oak Mountain Presbyterian (where it all began). I didn't see him until the actual ceremony and I remember that I just wanted to jump into his arms. He was and still is my best friend. I couldn't believe that I was finally going to be his wife and that he was going to be my husband. Weddings really are such a surreal thing.

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!

1 comment:

  1. What a blessing you are in this world!

    I knew your grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother very well, and trust me when I say that they are so full of joy at your happiness!

    Child, you come from a long line of strong, spirit-filled women and it is a blessing to me to have lived long enough to see God's love passed down through their generations and blossom in such a magnificent way. You make them proud as they live through you. And you do them honor.

    With much Aloha,
    your first-cousin, twice removed

    (PS Good job, Mary and Tony!)