I am so excited to share one of my favorite blog posts I’ve ever written with you! It’s time that I shared the news that…
Justin and I eloped!!!
Photo by the amazing Jenna Henderson, Photographer
Honestly, I am still in AWE that this is my life – that all of these incredibly happy moments truly are reality. And that I get to spend the rest of my life with a man I love and adore. We are so OVERJOYED, and I wish I could tell you every little detail but for now a fun overview will have to do.
Our story all began when we got setup on a blind double date by his cousin Becca, one of my dear friends from high school. (Thank you Becca and Seth!!! We’ll owe you forever!!) What first attracted me to Justin was his kindness and his sense of humor. He didn’t judge me for still living at home with my parents or being a single mom, but instead, he got to know the real me past all the circumstances and we clicked almost immediately.
Dating again after being out of the dating scene for almost 9 years was full of it’s comical moments… like when he officially asked me to be his girlfriend and I thought that I already was… whoops! (I will have to share that story later… it’s one of his favorite stories to tell!)
But the most common thing we experienced when we were getting to know each other were conversations that would go like this:
Me: What do you think about [insert important life topic]?
Justin would then answer with exactly what I think/hope about that topic.
Me: OF COURSE you do.
It became a joke… I’d ask something like, “What do you think about kids?” and he’d answer, “I’d love to have a large family, and I’d like to adopt.” And then I’d have to scrape my chin off the floor when his answer would exactly match my heart’s desires too. So then I started literally saying, “OF COURSE you want that.” To which he’d then say, “Oh yeah? You too?” and would wink at me in that way that makes my heart actually skip a beat.
The more these amazing conversations went on, the clearer it became that God had given each of us specific goals, desires and visions which perfectly aligned with each other. We were falling for each other…
What surprised me the most about our relationship was how EASY it was. We got along so well, we communicated so easily, that even when we had a disagreement we could resolve it really quickly. I had never experienced that before, and I knew it was a rare and amazing quality to have found!
While we were dating, a sweet friend of mine who’s a professional organizer was helping me go through boxes of my things to de-clutter and I found a journal from beginning of my freshman year of college when I was 18. In the first four pages I listed out, in a very detailed fashion, all of the many qualities I wanted in my future husband. They were things like, “kind and loving” to as detailed as, “he plays guitar.” When I found the journal this summer, I read over it and quickly realized that Justin has every single quality on my list. EVERY single one. And then I got chills. Justin is all of those things and a whole host of things I never knew I needed. It’s amazing how God can do exceedingly more than you’d even dream for yourself.
Photo by Jenna Henderson, Photographer
There were many reasons why we decided to elope, but more on that later… complete with wedding photos!
After we had been dating for a few months, I’ll never forget a conversation that my mom and I had after Justin had just spent an evening with my family and I. She came into my room, laid on my bed and said, “I really, really like Justin. He’s so sweet and dear!” and we both started crying. It was one of those moments that just hits you: I’ve been wanting this, praying for this, waiting for a man just like him and he’s finally here.
We did pre-marital counseling which was really important to me, and during one of our last sessions our counselor said to us: “I don’t get to say this very often but you two are going to be great together.” And then I think my heart did 100,000 flips.
We ARE so good together. But more than it just being about compatibility, we both have a heart for the Lord and a desire to have a marriage that brings Him glory. We have both walked down some long and difficult roads. What I’ve found is that when God writes your story, it turns out far more beautiful than you could ever dream – even if it is looks a lot different than you thought it would.
There were some very dark days when I was pregnant with Baby J and when he was a newborn, knowing that my husband-at-the-time wanted a divorce after years of our rollercoaster marriage. I didn’t understand how any good could possibly come from such a heartbreaking situation. I knew that God could make beautiful things out of the mess of a crumbled marriage and a newborn, and I sure was hopeful that He would, but at the time it was hard to have vision.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
God surely has done immeasurably more than I could imagine in my life over the past few years. He is redeeming in big ways. But don’t think that my “happy ending” is wrapped up in a person or a relationship. Through the crumbling of my first marriage, I was humbled greatly and ultimately realized that my security and my hope is Jesus alone.
It’s been three weeks since we eloped, and we are absolutely loving newlywed life! We are learning how to live together – he is admittedly FAR neater than I am, but I’m working on it. We’re enjoying every minute and constantly look at each other and say things like, “We’re MARRIED!!” and then break out into a smile. We are so excited about being a family and both a little overwhelmed by all of the happy changes. Justin got an automatic family: he became both a husband and a Dad to Baby J all in the same day. I moved out of my parent’s house and into his place, so I’m adjusting to running a house again, including cooking and cleaning.
We are really in awe of how God has blessed us with each other and are really excited to glorify Him through our marriage. As much as we hate to admit it, that cheesy Rascal Flatts song seems to be true for us: “God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.”
Justin’s grandfather says, “Flowers don’t grow on the mountain, they grow in the valley.” And it was in the dark valley that I realized more about myself and my faith than any other time of my life, and the flowers in my heart grew.
My gorgeous bouquet was by Brocade Designs
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV
In the valley or on the mountaintop, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and we should never lose hope. He is faithful in all seasons and in any circumstance, and for that I’m so grateful.
How have you seen God redeem something in your life?