Today I have for you the last installment of “The Story of Us.” I promise this is the last one, and I promise we actually get engaged.
I liked him. He liked me. We wanted to date. I waited for him to ask me out. And waited. Embarrassingly enough, I begged at one point. I even offered to ask him out. He wouldn’t cave.
“There are going to be enough things we’ll have to do over the phone or FaceTime anyway. Let’s not start our relationship that way,” he said.
That was late December. It wasn’t until two months later that both of us had the same weekend free, and I forced my roommate to drive me halfway to Purdue, and Kent picked me up there. Turns out the halfway point is (kind of) Gary, IN. Don’t get Kent started on how much he hates Gary.
But it was worth the wait.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I took my time getting ready because I thought all that was on the agenda for that day was a tour of the campus. And I’m not even a Purdue fan, so I took extra time. Five minutes into the “tour” we passed the couple we had double dated with the night before–Cody and Victoria. I should’ve been suspicious that they happened to be the only two we saw on campus that day, but I’ve always been pretty naive. (When Bailey threw me a party for my 16th birthday, I missed all the clues and didn’t realize what was happening until heads popped up from behind a couch and screamed “Surprise!” at me).
“This is the building we sometimes cut through in the winter,” Kent said. I followed, not thinking anything of the ruse to get inside. We went down some staircases and began to pass classrooms. At a door on our left, Kent stopped.
“This is us,” he said plainly.
“This is us. Go ahead.”
I opened the door and…
Now here’s the best part.
I don’t really remember this, but in the old, dusty Facebook message archives you can find some from when Kent and I first started talking. We wrote poems, made childish jokes, and apparently joked about dating each other even then! One of the jokes we had way back when came from a poem we co-wrote called “Kellyfishing.” If you know anything about SpongeBob, you know that he likes to jellyfish (a sport that involves you, a net, and some underwater wrastlin’ of those purple-tentacled creatures. Because there are a multitude of fun words you can rhyme my name with, Kent wrote about going “Kellyfishing” to find the best Kellyfish in the sea. I thought it was sweet. You’re probably gagging.
Back to dating…
Things went well. Things went great. We found out we’re bad at long distance, but that wasn’t a problem for very long. Before we were even talking, Kent was trying to find a good internship for the summer between his junior and senior year. Nothing was panning out, and companies kept turning him down…except one. In Chicago. I was happy for him, but so upset that the only months out of the year I wouldn’t be in The Windy City, he would be there.
I stayed. We found some not so cheap (separate!) dorms to stay in near the South Loop of Chicago. And let me tell you, we adventured pretty hard.
The end of the summer got closer, and a little tugging that had been in my heart since last fall finally spoke up.
You’re in the wrong field.
You’re a writer. You’re a creative. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re a businesswoman.
So you can’t stay in the major of Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.
But I’m passionate about that.
You can still work in that field. Just in another role.
But if I get a business or writing degree, I can’t get it at Moody.
Then you have to leave Moody.
And so it was that, in the final days of July, I called my parents to let them know I wouldn’t be returning to the school or city I came to love so much. They were incredibly supportive, even suggesting I take a year off (gasp) to take my time in finding where I needed to be. But an extra year off terrified me, as I knew switching my degree and becoming a transfer student would already knock me back at least a semester or two.
Y’all know the next part. God led me to Ivy Tech, an obvious choice for:
-wide array of associate degrees
Many of you have said (to my face, bravely) that of course I moved where I did only so I could “follow my boyfriend.” What you don’t know is that I told Kent I wouldn’t move close to him because I didn’t want to mess up his senior year. He had a great thing going: his roommates, his friends, his Bible studies and community groups, his church, his drumming…throwing a girlfriend into the mix would be like saying, “Hey, you know this thing that has worked out so well for you for three years? Let’s put it into…maximum overdrive.” Eventually Kent convinced me that I wouldn’t “ruin” anything, and he would love to have me close. One month later, we loaded up Tyrone the Christian CRV from front to back, top to bottom with all of his and my belongings. We took one last look at the Chicago skyline and sped off.
Fast forward to September 1. School was going well, I was all moved in, adjusting to online classes, a new apartment, a college town, and having a car again. One morning I was driving my roommate and I to school. She began talking about love, and–even though I wasn’t thinking about us at all–I suddenly knew without a doubt that Kent and I should get married. The very next thought? We should get married in May.
Some people pray for God to just straight up tell them what He wants them to do. I never did that for our relationship, but on September 1, God pretty much let me know that this was the real deal. (In talking to my mom later, I expressed that God always knows what He’s doing, and in my case He probably left no room for doubt because He knew I would freak out at the possibility of marriage). But guess what? It’s not so scary when God tells you “This is what I want you to do.” I tried to freak out.
It’d be impossible.
We’ve only been dating for six months.
What about school?
Does he want to marry me?
What if I’m not hearing God correctly?
Again, God knows what He’s doing. He put up some kind of magical wall in my head and heart that allowed me to brush aside all of the concerns and questions flooding my brain.
The next day, I sat Kent down and told him–for the first time ever–that I loved him. Bless his soul, without missing a beat he told me–for the first time ever–that he loved me too. (Whew, phase one down). With tears in my eyes, I told him there was something else.
“I think we should get married.”
I told him about the car ride, how I felt like the Holy Spirit had put this decision on my heart and given me an incredible peace about it. We talked and laughed. I cried a bit. (Whew, phase two down).
“There’s more,” I said, and I saw him get nervous. “I think we should get married in May.”
I wish you guys could have seen the look on his face.
It took some prayer and presence before the Lord for him to be sure that a May wedding was God’s will, (because God didn’t see fit to bless him with the clarity he gave me;) ) but in time God put us on the same page.
October 23, 2015, he proposed after his jazz concert. With some of our family in tow, he led me by the hand out of the auditorium and out onto Purdue’s Memorial Mall. Someone had lit two long lines of candles in mason jars, with rose petals scattered along the way.
“This is nice,” I said. “Has this always been here?” (Sometimes I say really stupid things).
“If I didn’t know any better I would say this is for you,” he said with a sly grin.
“Kent,” I whimpered tearfully. “Is this for me?”
He walked me down the candles that led to a fountain, with friends of ours hiding behind trash cans and plants along the way. I really don’t remember much of the actual proposal, because it goes by so quickly and you’re so excited and please put the ring on my finger and wow where did all these people come from?? I distinctly remember thinking it was a very big deal, because he kissed me in front of other people which he doesn’t ever do. Some of his roommates jumped out of a tree. Cheers came from across the Mall.
It was the perfect moment, but even if it hadn’t all turned out, I would’ve still been over the moon. I am now engaged to the man I love, and our journey is one created, blessed, and moved forward by our Savior. We are so excited to spend our lives praising the One who gives and makes all good things. Here’s to love, and here’s to His love.