I’ve never really trusted guys. My mom said that one morning at church I told my Sunday School teacher I didn’t like Jesus because he was a boy. To be perfectly candid, I’ve never had anything happen to me or gone through abuse or a traumatic event to make me this way. I have wonderful men in my life who set great examples for younger generations of men and boys. But for some reason that I can’t put my finger on, from day one I knew I couldn’t let one of those male creatures into my heart.
Enter Kent, stage right.
He was one of those friends that I can’t recall in the slightest how I came by. He could probably tell you though; he’s good with the little details from early on. Yesterday he said to me, “It actually worries me how much you don’t remember.” Whoops!
When I was in 7th grade, I joined the high school marching band (which doesn’t really make sense, but thank goodness I did). Kent was a freshman at the time. Even though we had practice, competitions, games, and performances for hours and hours every week, I never spent that much time with him. I was a flute. He was a drummer. If you know anything about marching band, that means we were never within 20 yards of each other.
So how did we get to know each other?
People above the age of 40 give us youngins a lot of grief for spending so much time on our phones, but I think (yes, for all its faults) it helped me find my future husband.
Being in middle school and high school meant I saw him 2 or 3 times a week, only briefly. It was weird…through Facebook and texting we shared awesome conversations and were becoming close friends really quickly (spoiler alert: He is in, fact, a real human being. No fun Manti Teo twists here), but in person I quickly turned into a shy 13 year old girl talking to a high school boy. (A drummer! *fans self*) I didn’t have feelings for him, but just from the conversations we had, it quickly turned into the closest friendship I had ever had. (Still is ❤ ) On top of everything else in my early teenage years–my search for God, trying to figure out what I was good at, trying to figure out if there was anything I was good at, and acne–there was this boy that I just couldn’t figure out.
Should I tell him to back off?
Should I ask if he likes me?
Do I like him?
Do I need to keep him at arm’s length?
Why does he like talking to me?
Why do I like talking to him?
We would text for hours and hours, into the night and into the morning. Bailey can attest to the fact that I would show up to gym bleary-eyed and exhausted. I started telling her about this high school guy I was talking to and how funny he was. Bless her, she put up with all of my “Kent says this” and “Kent says that” monologues. She is being justly rewarded by being Maid of Honor (I don’t know, is that a reward for her to hear me talk about Kent more?) at the wedding.
This was all in the ancient times when cell phones still had buttons, and I remember texting slowly and carefully under the covers, so my parents wouldn’t hear the click-clacking in their bedroom next door. At the stroke of midnight one random night, Kent called me and started singing me our song. Looking back, I was probably a goner at that point and didn’t even know it. What high school guy sings to you in the middle of the night?
Well in every fairy tale, there’s disaster before the happy ending. We were no exception. Because Kent and I never talked openly about what we were to each other, what we meant to each other, and where we wanted to go, there was a huge gray area as far as relationships went. He began dating, and it wasn’t me. That led to a feud (only a feud for a short time, then I tried ignoring him until he graduated) that was only reconciled once he upgraded to college and I “upgraded” to high school. There were times Kent tried to reach out to me, as he had when we had our falling out, but I kept my heart hardened against him. It wasn’t a “I’ll never forgive you! You’re a horrible person!” type of thing. It was “I only ever let one person in. You hurt me, and I’m going to make sure it won’t happen again.”
I ignored his texts. I ignored his messages, his posts, his presence at high school events, marching band or drumline competitions. Eventually I wasn’t even mad. I was just done.
One Sunday, before passing out the communion, my pastor related some of the Lord’s Prayer:
And forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
We said it all the time, but this Sunday he dwelled on it.
“Take the cup, and take the bread,” he continued, “but look at your heart. Is there someone in your life to whom you are not showing forgiveness? What if Christ had done the same with us?” (Side note: this pastor will be officiating our wedding).
After the service, I texted Kent for the first time in (months? years?). I’m sorry, it said.
It wasn’t until (months? years?) later that I found out God had been working on him as well. On the same Sunday in a different church, Kent was worshipping and for some reason God put me on his heart that day. Kent said God was telling him to get over his pride and hurt feelings…to not give up on our friendship. He walked out of the sanctuary, got his phone out to send an important text, and saw that he had one waiting for him.
It’s always been God’s story, but from there our relationship has (I hope) been a testament to His love time and time again. Kent and I both wish it hadn’t take us so long to realize we were meant for each other, but we see now that the timing would never have been right. I’ve been in situations where God shows His sovereignty and careful planning as it goes along, and I’ve been in situations where you can only look back years later and be able to say, “God is good, and He was in control the whole time.”
No matter what situation you’re in now, know that God cares about the outcome just as much as you do. Even if it’s been years.
Stay tuned for “The Story of Us: How We Got to Engagement (Part II)” which includes Kent trying to flirt, me almost throwing up (not at the flirting), Chicago adventures, and two kids trusting Jesus because they have no idea what they’re doing.