Inspired by several friends who have done the same, I have decided to write our love story. In part, as I journey further from our beginning each day, I begin to lose those precious details of our first days as friends, then as boyfriend and girlfriend, then as fiances, then newlyweds. I want to remember - even fifty years from now - the treasures of our first few years together.
Mostly, though, I see our story as part of a much bigger story of God's perfect sovereignty and grace. And that, my friends, is worth celebrating over and over again.
This story will come in parts. This is just the very beginning.
The first glimpse I got of him was in my peripheral vision. I had seen him before across campus, but we had never actually met.
It was the night before school started in August 2006, and we stood in the plaza at Moody catching up with friends we hadn't seen for a whole summer. The annual Vesper's service had just concluded, and I happened to be chatting with Josh - a mutual friend of ours - when Shawn introduced himself into the conversation.
Josh introduced us, and I acted as though I'd never seen him before. In reality, I already knew who he was and had even seen his photography website. We had even been in a large class together, but I didn't expect him to remember me from that.
As we begin to talk, Josh slowly backed out of the conversation and, to this day, says he stood back and saw something special between us. Something like a future.
Shawn and I small talked for a bit, then progressed to where we were from, our families, our childhoods.
"My parents are in Christian music ministry, and growing up, we travelled with them to local churches where they did concerts every weekend," I said.
"My parents are too. We did that too," he responded. "My dad is also a producer and we have a studio in our house."
"Mine is too. And so do we," I said.
It all began to sound eerily familiar. The only major difference to our growing up is that I grew up here in the States, while Shawn grew up in Germany. Most other things we had completely in common - something I'd never experienced before.
I had one sister. He had one brother.
We both grew up on golf courses.
We both had the job of setting up and manning the product table after our parents' concerts.
We both ran cross country.
We both took every art class available in high school.
When we put a few pieces together that same night, we even found out that Shawn's family's favorite Christmas album was by a group my mom was in, so he grew up listening to her voice year after year. In Germany.
Beyond all the incredible similarities, I don't remember exactly what we talked about. I do remember how genuine he was. How happy. How kind. How he leaned down ever so slightly to make his 6'4" a little closer to my 5'5" so we could be on the same level. What surrounded Shawn was a peace I had rarely seen - a humble, yet confident presence that made me feel encouraged and secure. I didn't feel nervous or self conscious around him in the least. Oh, and he was definitely handsome. I loved the way he smiled so big that his squinty eyes disappeared.
At the time, neither of us was officially dating someone, but we were both interested in other people. So while there may have been an immediate connection between us, neither of us even thought about pursuing more.
When we had to meet up with other friends, we parted ways and I felt so light. I knew I had made a new friend. That night in my journal, Shawn somehow ended up there among several other praises and prayer requests I recorded. I thanked the Lord for my new friend and how he encouraged me just by our first conversation that night.
To be continued.