The day we left for outreach was the day I realized I was falling hard.
We were in the airport – the five of us on our way to Bosnia for the next 14 weeks. I think everyone was a little tired and at least a bit nervous, so conversation was pretty sparse. Someone would make a remark every couple of minutes that would spark a mini conversation that quickly fizzled out into silence. Most of us picked up our phones or iPads and zoned into the world of social media. But these little conversations started to build my hope. I realized that if I said something or chimed in, Ben would look up from his iPad and listen.
Just that little bit of attention gave me hope that lasted for weeks.
And then it happened.
Two weeks into our 14 week outreach, we realized that there was actually something more than friendship on both of our ends. I remember we were sitting on the back porch of the apartment our team lived at in Sarajevo. We had spent the previous two days painting the interior of a house and the whole team was pretty exhausted. The students decided to watch a movie, but I wasn’t really feeling it. So Benjamin and I ended up sitting outside, staring at the five stars visible from our balcony while eating fancy cheese and crackers and listening to indie music. That’s when I decided what I wanted. That was when I made up my mind that we were more than friends.
We tried to ignore it as long as we could.
Both of us wanted to just do outreach and then talk about it later. But 12 weeks is a long time to pretend that feelings don’t exist. It’s like have an itchy mosquito bite. The more you think about not itching it, the more it itches.
The more you think about ignoring your heart, the louder it screams.
Halfway through the outreach, we felt like it was time. Ignoring the feelings had made it a bigger distraction than acknowledging them. We decided it was time to actually talk about things beyond the “I like you a lot” conversation that had already happened. It was time to decide if this was for real or not; if we were going to go for it or walk away.
That conversation went something like this:
“So. What are your dreams? Where do you feel like God is leading your life?” (We already knew the answer. We’d talked about it like a million times already. But we shared again anyway.)
“Do our dreams line up?” (You know… I think they do…)
“Do we want to do this? Do we want to… get married?”
Yeah. Yes. Yes we do.
“Let’s get married!”
That was our first date. We were sitting on a rock along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, the sound of the waves crashing in the background and we decided to get married. (Eating cheese and crackers, of course. That somehow became our thing. 🙂 )
Obviously since then, there have been more than a few ups and downs. Making a major life change in less than four months causes a bit of chaos – no matter how you try to avoid it. I hate to admit that I’ve cried more than I would have liked to. I’d be lying if I said I’ve never doubted if this is the right choice. But I keep coming back to what I feel like God has spoken. And I believe He’s told us to go for it. The night after Ben and I had our first little “chat,” I went to bed on an emotional high (maybe a slight understatement). I think I texted my mom for like an hour, letting my inner teenage girl freak out for a bit. And as I laid in bed, I felt like God spoke to my heart.
“Make your choice. Because once this starts, it’s going to go fast.”
It was a bit of reality amongst all of the raging emotions. But I made my choice. I chose Benjamin.
And He was right. It did go fast. Hard as we tried, we couldn’t slow it down. I think when God spoke that, He was trying to prepare me for the journey ahead. He didn’t say it was going to be easy. He asked me to make a choice.
So I did.
And I have to say, I’m happy with my choice.
In five days, I’ll walk down the aisle and say ‘I do’ to one of the biggest blessings that’s ever come into my life.
I’m very happy with my choice.
the end & yet, to be continued