The night before my wedding, I was waiting for my sister/Maid of Honor, future SIL, and best friend/bridesmaid to get back from Target to take me to The Cheesecake Factory for my Bachelorette party. I wasn’t interested in doing anything elaborate, but they insisted on running out before we left. I had previously written my vows, but I felt like I needed to rework them before the next day, so I sat down with my computer and read through them. In the end, I told the story of how I had a crush on a certain young man for most of my life, and how I followed trusted God with every step along the way.
At 7 years old, I developed a crush on a boy at my church in Batavia, NY. His parent’s had been assigned as the pastors a few years previously, and though my first crush was not him, it quickly became him when I realized how cute he was. Who can remember why a crush is developed at a young age, but I can remember going to church and being excited to see him. During a musical when I was 8 or 9, my mother was the director, and had that young man and myself dance together during one of the songs: “Cast the nets, cast the nets, casts the nets in the seaaaaaaa.” (You may recognize that song if you did any children’s musicals at your church in the 90’s or early 00’s: I did Fish Tales 2 or 3 times at least.)
At 9, my parents told us that they felt called to become pastors themselves, so we moved away from Batavia to Suffern, NY to the then Salvation Army School for Officers Training. I know we saw the family a few times during those years, although I don’t remember the specifics, and I continued to have my crush. My new best friend Stephany heard all about him and his family, despite having never met him or seen him before. It was at Territorial Star Search in either 2002 or 2003 when I was able to point him out to her. He was coming down the aisle after winning an award for percussion, and I whispered to her as he came towards us, “That’s him.” There may have been some giggling as he passed, but I’m sure he didn’t notice us there.
More years passed and we would occasionally see his family and him. I would look for him at Salvation Army events: I met some of his girlfriends and heard his mother talk about how her boys were probably going to marry catholic girls. I hung out with his family and my grandmother talked about how he and I should be together. My family knew about my huge crush on that boy, but never said a word (bless you mother!).
At 15, my family was back in the USA visiting on vacation from our new home in Jamaica. During that time, we went to his house to spend the day with his family. He and his brother, a family friend, my sister and brother, and I spent most of the day outside in their backyard hanging out. I can’t remember much about that day, except that we all decided we would go to see Evan Almighty, which was new to theaters. My crush drove us all to the movie and sat next to me, leaning over to chat with me through the movie and making me laugh. I was in heaven: the crush I had for 9 years at that point was joking with me and paying attention to me. He would have been maybe 18 at the time, with sideburns and blue rubber bands on his braces. I thought he was the most adorable thing.
When we got out of the movie, we were getting into the car, and somehow I ended up closing the van door on his hand. I was absolutely mortified, and of course everyone else thought it was hilarious and wouldn’t let me forget it as he drove us home. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, just a little sore, and I didn’t ruin his percussion career (he would have been auditioning for college music programs at that time). When he dropped us off at our Aunt’s house that evening, I reached my hand in and put it on his shoulder, apologizing again and told him to have a good night. I went into the house without a backward glance, hoping I had left some sort of impression on him that evening.
At 17, I was spending the summer working at a camp in upstate NY before moving permanently back to the USA. I was working that summer with my crushes brother, and one night we were sitting with a group of people in the Tabernacle working on a program for the kids when someone started asking him about his family. I kept painting and listened as he talked. The he mentioned his brother:
“He’s dating this girl right now. They’re pretty serious about one another. They’ll probably get married,”
That past January, I had met the girl he was dating when I attended church with my grandparents in Ithaca, NY. She was sweet and they looked cute together, but I was waiting for the breakup. I had seen him with other girls and girlfriends, but nothing had lasted: he was young. During those years, I had other boys I liked and I tried to talk to, but nothing worked out or the guys that were interested in me I wasn’t interested in, so I hadn’t yet had a boyfriend.
That evening, I went to the dock with my Bible and sat by myself. I knew what God wanted me to do: I’d been holding onto this crush for 10 years, and God wanted me to give it totally and fully to him. If God had someone else in mind for that man, then He had someone else in mind for me, and He would take away all of my feelings for the crush I had. But I needed to give it to Him, and trust in His ultimate plan. I can’t help but get teary when I write that because it was HARD. I’d liked that guy for so long: it felt impossible to let it go and let God. But I did: and I felt a tremendous peace from that moment on. I knew that God was holding the situation in His hand.
Later that year, I heard about my crush breaking up with said girlfriend, and in that moment I wanted more than anything to send him a note and say hi again. But as I was writing it, I felt a voice deep inside say, “not yet.” So I didn’t. And I waited.
In 2010, at the age of 18, I was planning to spend the summer in Kenya. I was getting ready to go when I noticed a sudden shift. My crush was paying attention to me. We started writing back and forth, and we saw each other at a few Salvation Army events where we spent the day chatting. I couldn’t help but get a little mad at God. We were slowly starting to talk, and God had called me to a summer in Kenya where I wouldn’t have reliable internet to talk to my parent’s, never mind finally have conversations with the boy I had wanted to talk to me my entire life. Again, I felt the still voice in my heart saying to give the situation fully to God and to trust Him.
I left for the summer, and we send a few messages back and forth, but I gave the situation to Him, and my goodness, did I spend a lot of time in prayer, rededicating everything, especially my life and my trust, to God.
In August of 2010, I was back in the USA, back in upstate NY, and we started hanging out. We spent a day together, going to the gorges in Ithaca, chatting, talking about my summer and his. We spent family camp at Long Point, walking up and down the camp, talking, hanging out by the lake, starting rumors about our interest levels in each other. At one of the services, we thought we were so sneaky. I pretended to go off to the bathroom, and a few minutes later he followed me. We went to the dock and sat by the lake, talking and laughing.
In September, I moved into my dorm room at Wells College, just 30-45 minutes away from him in Ithaca. He came and spent a Saturday with me, where we watched movies and walked through the town together, and sat at the dock. Then on September 6, 2010, he texted and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner with him. We met up at the Applebees in Ithaca, and at the end of dinner we went out to his car, where he pulled out a single red rose and asked me to be his girlfriend. It was the best moment of my life, and I had no idea of all the wonderful things to come.
In the four years that we dated, we had a lot of ups and plenty of downs. There were a few times that I asked him if he wanted to take a break from our relationship when we just couldn’t agree on things. Sometimes, his music was more of a priority to him than I was, sometimes, I was overbearing and uncompromising. But through everything, I brought every talk, every problem, every “thing” to God. More than a few times I asked God to tell me if we were not right for one another, because all I wanted was to follow His plan for my life, and if that man and I weren’t supposed to be together, I knew I would need time to heal.
But on September 6, 2014, he asked me to be his wife, and we haven’t looked back.
Two year ago today, Andrew and I were married, said our vows, and I told a MUCH shorter version of this story. God is the center of our love and our relationship, and I praise Him for the time we’ve gotten together. As I also said in our vows, whether I get a day or a lifetime with my husband, I am so thankful for every moment He has given us together. I do pray I get at least another 50 years with this wonderful man!
All of this is to say, whatever your love story, if you keep God as the center, He will listen to the pleadings on your heart, and lead you down a wonderful path if you’ll only trust Him with every step of it. I was NOT guaranteed to marry the boy I had a crush on since I was 7, but I thank God that He saw fit to lead us together.