Before we walked down the aisle, promising to love and cherish one another for a lifetime we were two young college kids thinking we had it all together. We were excited about our respective futures, working toward our dreams, and having the time of our lives with our friends. But as God would have it, our paths crossed, verged into one, split into two, only to reconvene once more. This is my testimony. This is our story.

“Well, have you ever given it a try?”

I wasn’t looking for Chris. I can say with complete confidence that he wasn’t looking for me either. I spotted him as he walked into our lecture hall for Chemistry 1441 and didn’t think twice about him. There wasn’t anything about him that stuck out to me until he stuck out to me. My eyes would wander around the room that held over 200 students and land on him. Day after day I noticed him. Not much time passed until we officially met through mutual friends at a school event. His smile drew me in and I knew I wanted to spend more time with him. Our friendship evolved over study dates in the library, Taco Bell runs, and long talks in mall parking lots. His past was familiar to me. I saw my story etched into his. It wasn’t until I met his family for the first time that I felt that I could build a life with him. Riding in the back of his father’s SUV on the way to dinner with his family I felt a sense of peace settle over me. I fit in perfectly with them and felt like I belonged. Life, however, unfolded in our laps with false starts and misunderstandings. We couldn’t quite get it together so we got with other people. We resisted our growing feelings until, with the help of our friends, we decided to give it a try.

“Either you leave or you get pushed out.”

In what seemed like no time at all we became full-blown college sweethearts. For three years I wrapped myself into everything he was. I watched him whole-heartedly pursue his dream while I half-heartedly pursued mine. On the outside we were the perfect couple on the fast track to marriage when the truth was we were heading in two different directions. I’ll get into this in greater detail at some point in the future but I quickly learned that God was nudging us apart but I refused to listen. Our relationship became strained but we fought the inevitable until we imploded. By then, it became clear that we could no longer function as a couple. We lost ourselves in our relationship and I desperately needed to be his everything. I needed to fix everything. Even though I knew it needed to happen for many reasons our break up still broke my heart.

“Sometimes things fall apart only to come back together.”

I mourned our relationship for close to a year before I decided to brush myself off and invest in my future. I traveled as much as I could, met new people, alienated myself from my former identity as Chris’ girl, and moved to Houston for school. Moving away was the greatest thing for me professionally, spiritually, and personally. I was consumed with schoolwork but still managed to have as much fun as I could with new friends. I depended on Christ more than ever to see me through my new transition and realized just how dependent I was on another person for my happiness. Even though there were parts of him that I missed I knew how important it was to be separated from him. Our growth depended on it.

“Follow the roads that lead you home.”

To be honest, our two years spent apart gave me the guts to put myself “out there” again. I casually got to know others and began to build friendships that had potential to blossom into something more when Chris made his way back on the scene. I was leery at first, our breakup was difficult to say the least, but I quickly started to see how much he had evolved. I was amazed by how the prayers I offered on his behalf when we were apart came to pass without me being in the picture. I realized, for the first time, that God didn’t need me to make Chris whole. I didn’t need Chris to make me whole either. That newfound confidence in myself and most importantly in Christ gave our relationship new meaning. Settling into our new normal wasn’t always easy as we had to learn so much about each other but the peace we felt was reassuring. I knew, for the first time, that we were both on the same page about what we wanted for our future together. He laid his cards on the table and I knew that he would give me his all. I had my own issues with settling down, which I’ll get into later on in this series, but I truly felt that we were meant to be together. No relationship is ever perfect and ours is far from it. We have hurt and failed each other in many ways but we’ve learned that God is fully capable of turning our mess into messages. We’ve learned that the things we think are beyond repair or have died are made into something beautiful when His timing is right…not ours.

I hope that you continue to join me over the next few weeks as I share the biggest lessons I’ve learned during our engagement, wedding planning process, and our first year of marriage. And as always, feel free to share your thoughts/stories with me. I’m always listening!

Check out these throwback photos of us from over the years. I definitely took a trip down memory lane sorting through them. So many sweet memories!