My family changed churches right after I finished 8th grade...and let me tell you it wasn't easy for me. Just ask my parents. When it gets brought up they sort of give that huge moan or sigh when asked how I did with that transition. I wasn't too excited about it. However that summer was when I heard the Gospel and asked Jesus into my heart....so you can only imagine my human mind trying to figure everything out. I'm pretty sure I have my testimony on this blog somewhere so maybe I can search for it and link you to it. Until then just know that it was a day my two big sisters let me in on "super duper big girl conversation" and I was delighted I finally got to be in the bedroom to hear all those behind closed doors things my sisters shared with each other after all these years (my sisters and I are 5 and 7 years apart). Anyways, back to attending the church. It was a hard transition because I wanted to be a part of the cool youth group where I knew everyone in it, instead I was going to start attending a church where I hardly knew anyone...pretty much just one in the youth group. (Who later becomes my best friend, hmmm God works in super duper awesome ways!) :)
|Kate and Mary|
So this wonderful church my family started to attend, my friend helps me get involved with the children's ministry (VBS) and I get really involved in the youth group and enjoying friendships. Through my high school years I become home schooled (middle of sophomore year) and my life forever changed then too! I was able to focus hours in the Bible and learning more about God. Because the couple years prior to that (right after that summer I asked Jesus into my heart) I went through a hard core depression and it wasn't pretty. It was just awful! The LORD really brought me out of the mud and into His arms! I was so delighted with how much I now knew about the Bible that it became easier to get involved in helping out in the youth and with the children's ministry. During this time I met another homeschool gal who now her and I are best of friends and pretty much like sisters. We did ministry together with kids and we were both known as the typical "babysitters on call" since we were available and not busy with school or other activities. (Like I said, I mention all these details to help in the rest of the love story so keep on reading...hope I haven't lost you yet.)
|Mary and Britney|
After I graduated I stayed living with my parents and attended DMACC (Community College not far away) for one semester. Missing homeschool schedule and knowing I wanted to be a stay at home mom made me really want to just start working full time where I could be putting money into a savings account. At church I wasn't really finding my "place" anymore now that all the college-aged/singles were gone and I was starting to search what ministry I should be involved in. There was a singles/college group that met on Sunday mornings, really small, but there. I attended it....and let me tell you....sometimes we would have ten people in the class and that was exciting! So if you are new or just visiting the class you are very well noticed. One Sunday I happened to walk in and notice three guys sitting next to each other.
Each week we say our name and a random fact about us so when it got to the guys I was interested in hearing who they were...where did they come from?
All Mary remembers from that morning: First guy introduces himself, "I'm Mark...." and the next guy, "I'm Luke...." and the last new guy, "I'm Jon..."
Wait, what? Did I just hear it correctly or does it sound like the Gospel boys just came by our class today???
And that's all I remember from them that morning. :P
All Jon remembers from that morning: He notices a cute girl in the class, but doesn't say anything to her. He remembers her brother mentioning how he was in a commercial when he was little and thought that was really interesting.
And why was Jon attending that church that morning?
Because his sister and her family attends there. His brother in law is a Pastor there, and Jon was visiting his sister. Which explains why they were pointing me out in the church service (after that Sunday School class) and asking if he saw anyone in class that he might be interested in.
Jon and I are both not ones to confront someone when we "like them" if we don't even know them. So both of us just nod at this part of the story and know it's nothing to big of a deal. However his family (knowing mine real well) is telling him to talk to me, even ask me out...so he makes the promise he will the next time he visits.
Did he ask me?
The funny thing is the next time he visits, he has told me he prayed I wouldn't be there so he wouldn't have to ask me out. His prayers were answered. I wasn't there. Why not? Because remember that friend I made at church where we babysat a lot together? Well, her dad started a church plant that I was really interested in. So I had changed churches and Jon's prayers were answered.
However there is this youth group mission's trip that the youth goes every year and I was able to go even after not being in high school anymore. Thank the Lord! So I had to come back to the church for a leaders meeting with the youth leader, and who stops me on the way to the office? Not only but Jon's sister. She was asking me if I remembered that Sunday way back when her brother was visiting. His name is Jonathan....(I gave a weird look). So right away she gets the impression I wasn't interested. Why the strange look? Because do I dare get interested in a Jon? My family already has enough of that! My grandpa's name was John. My dad's name is John and my oldest sister married a John. That would just be too confusing!! But the look I made to his sister didn't mean I wasn't interested in learning more about this Jon.... ;)
So I go on the mission's trip and the summer (2008) goes on not hearing anything again about this Jon. That fall his sister starts talking to me on facebook about her brother. I make sure I let her know that the look on my face was because of the "John issue" and she totally understood! (She knows my family remember?) Which is crazy....knowing your future sister in law and her family before you knew your hubby? :) But then of course I had no idea..... So she gives me a request to add her brother as a friend on facebook. So I did.
It would be funny to hear Jon's point of view here, but since I don't have him sitting here while writing this all I can say was he was pretty shocked to get online and see that I asked to be friends on facebook. He was interested in getting to know me, but didn't think I thought anything of him. This gave him one glimpse of that! :)
So in my facebook stuff it helps me see that this was around October/November when we started emailing back and forth on facebook. However Jon doesn't facebook very much so I remember sending him a note and not hearing back for a couple weeks so I thought he didn't think much of me. In yet, that wasn't the case at all! Luckily January 2009 came around he got more on top of things and realized, "I better focus on getting back to this girl or else she won't think I like her or want to get to know her!"
He gave me the sweetest couple sentences message that was so encouraging. I sent it to my sisters and close friends if they asked me about Jon. The response I got made me act like a giddy little girl! :)
One week night in February my small group went up to Ames to Cornerstone Church to visit their college ministry. Since Jon was attending ISU (in Ames) and attended that church I had mentioned we were going....maybe we could meet up there. Our first time seeing one another in person since that Sunday School class, but this time knowing we were interested in one another. :) Ohh boy!
We met up and it was quite awkward at first since I didn't tell my small group who he was, so it felt like a "tag a long" for him. ooops. But luckily most of them knew who his sister was so that helped, some what. Afterwards we just separated ourselves from everyone else while they went off to chat with others, we took that time to discuss things...in person. Can you believe it? No more trying to read and understand text (from being online). We were able to see body language. The next day we made plans to see other (with tagging our friends along), but I got the stomach flu. :P
The next couple weekends he traveled down to come visit me (with my friends around). I wanted him to see me with my friends and see who I was with out the weird awkward pauses. :) And during those times we felt bad that both times that got planned to hangout my parents were out of town and that was certainly NOT planned! He informed me that he wanted to have a good chat with them so they knew who their daughter was talking to for all those hours in the night online....and on the phone. :)
Stay tuned for Our Love Story part two:: "Just Friends" :)