A large 8 passenger van pulled up to my house. It was old, rusty, and, a bit looking like it could fall apart at any moment. Andrew was here to pick me up. I can tell you now that I was a secretly impressed that Andrew didn’t seem to be the kind of man who had to make a “wowing” first impression to his potential future girlfriend by driving a fancy hot rod the first time he picked her up. 🙂
Andrew jumped out of the van and came knocking at the front door; I nervously opened the door and grabbed my purse as I headed out with him. When we got to the driveway he gentlemanly opened the passenger van door for me; there sat a box of gluten-free Oreos tied with a pink ribbon. “How-did-he-know-I-ate-gluten-free?” and “Wow,-that’s-really-sweet” thoughts popped in my mind.
We headed toward Panera with me giving directions. I forgot to tell him about one turn until the last minute, but without missing a beat, he safely dashed across two lanes of traffic and made a wild left-hand turn. A rusty, old van, a daring, sweet gift of Oreos, and a careening turn onto Saginaw St. were turning our first moments together into quite the good memories to look back on someday.
I was SoOo nervous as we pulled into Panera (in fact, I was nervous since the day Andrew called me to ask if we could go out on this coffee date). I had never even gone out with anyone up to this point. Since I was a young teenager and had given romantic relationships to God for Him to lead me in and to put into my life at the right moments, I had never come to a point where I had felt comfortable going out with anyone else. To add to the nervousness, I tended to have much more comfortable, close female relationships. With guys I got nervous easily and longer interactions with them were more rare. I hoped no one would be at Panera that I knew. That would make things more awkward. I wanted this whole thing to be a secret till I knew this guy a little more.
Lo and behold, as we walked into Panera, I almost immediately had direct eye contact with the pastor’s daughter at our church who sat with her mom (the pastor’s wife) at a small table. Now the whole church will know. I quickly turned away hoping she didn’t see me but then thought the better of it, “We looked right at each other. Of course she saw me, Silly!” I thought. Turning around I stumbled, but tried my best at a friendly “hi” and realized I should introduce everyone. I forgot everyone’s names in that moment. My brain completely blanked. Oh Jesus, please help me! Just as I prayed those words inside my head and just as I needed each name I somehow found them. “This is…Libby…and…Jan. Jan and Libby this is…Andrew.” Wow, that was embarrassingly close to disastrous!
Andrew and I finally made it to our own table, things calmed down a bit (after one more person I knew stopped by to say “hi”), and we started talking and sipping our coffees. I had a lot of questions that I came with to ask Andrew. Getting into a romantic relationship was more serious to me (though an amazing, fun, and happy part of life too), and I wanted to ask a lot of questions about life stuff that really mattered to me to see if this man was the kind of guy I would want to continue going out with.
It was so easy to talk with Andrew! We talked for hours – five or 6 to be exact. 🙂 I had never felt more comfortable with a guy. His eyes twinkled when we talked about Jesus (something that really got me). I saw lots of glimpses of his heart, and I loved how each question he or I asked got us freely talking. One thing was for sure: I could tell this man loved Jesus and had an openness about him that I really liked.
I really needed to get to a college class, so our time ended, but we closed it up deciding to have a few days to both be praying and talk after that about where we would go from here. I went away with my heart fluttering in a weird way and wondering if this man would continue being in my life.
Ooook, backing up a little bit. Since Our Love Story (Part 1) what in the world happened? We barely talked in Colorado when I met him, and now we are going out on a coffee date? Here is one of the crazy parts of our story that I told you about: the way Andrew so suddenly came into my life and swept me off my feet.
Since our meeting in Colorado in September, God chose to work in some off-the-wall ways to bring us together. Even though we barely spent any time together on the reunion weekend, Andrew says that he noticed something about me that he really admired. A few weeks after the reunion, Andrew and a guy friend were talking about the kind of girl they would like to marry, and I was the girl that came to Andrew’s mind (yeah, weird, right?). From that moment God continued to put me strongly on his heart; he felt like he should pray for me regularly, and God began to press me on his heart and mind more and more. He purposely stopped praying for me for a while – I mean he was praying about a girl that he barely even knew; maybe he, not God, was adding fuel to this “flame” by praying for me so much…I wouldn’t go away. 😀 Andrew became more and more sure over the months that God was putting me on his mind for a specific reason and that he should pursue getting to know me.
Andrew had been in Colorado for two years and returned home to Michigan over Christmas time in 2013. In January he decided to put a small reunion together for those alumni from the Colorado school who lived in Michigan. His secret side mission was to hopefully get me to come.
That night was completely awkward for me. I had a wonderful time and it was a great reunion, but for some reason, I felt so awkward around Andrew and I had no idea why. I avoided him most of the night until a game of spoons made me have to face him one on one as we were the only two left in the game. I won by the way, though I still suspect that he might have let me! 😉
The next week after the mini reunion, Andrew called my mom. When my mom told me Andrew had called asking if he could pursue getting to know me, I was pretty shocked. Andrew barely knew that I existed I thought. Why would he be asking to get to know me? My mom had told him he could call me and ask himself, so that afternoon, I received his call.
Andrew explained a little bit of why he wanted to get to know me and what he saw in me that he really admired (though he didn’t tell me the full story – it probably would have been creepy for him to tell me then that he had been praying and thinking about me for months). Andrew asked if I would be willing to go out for coffee the next week. I had been praying about it since I knew he called my mom, and I said “yes.” Andrew asked if he could pray with me before we got off the phone. Right then as he prayed I saw his genuineness and love for the Lord, and I looked forward to getting to know this man more over coffee Monday morning.
I’m pretty sure that you figured out by now that Andrew and I continued getting to know each other after that first coffee date and had many, many more following that one. 🙂 I liked this Andrew guy more and more as the months flew by; I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to marry him – this daring man who came out of nowhere to pursue my heart. He got it. 🙂 <3 And though we had many ups and downs throughout our relationship and good old-fashioned fights too, it was through those things that we got to know each other better and Jesus drew us closer and grew us personally and spiritually; having another person weave their way more tightly into your life than anyone else before has a way of showing you more about yourself than you ever knew and rooting up the ugly stuff along with the good. I’m so glad that Jesus wrote our love story all along the way with every romantically magical moment and every hard moment too; He put it perfectly together from our first moment meeting on a Colorado volleyball court to the day we said, “I do.”
*Since everyone loves a good engagement story (and I love telling mine – the best ever 🙂 ), I’m going to have to tell you how my hot man got down on one knee and popped the big question. Read our engagement story here! <3 To see pictures of and hear about our wedding, click here!