We didn’t grow up together. We’re not a high school sweetheart story. And we didn’t meet in college. However, our love story does begin long before we ever knew the other existed. As a matter of fact, it began before I was even born. Let me explain..
Around the time my mom found out she was pregnant with me one of her close friends told her that she should start praying for my future spouse. My mom, being the prayer warrior that she is, took that to heart and began praying for the man I would marry. This all happening in approximately February 1988. Do you know what else happened in February 1988? My hubby, Bradley James, was born. So, from the moment he was born my mom has been praying for him and me, and our marriage.
Now, fast forward 22 years..Brad and I received a joint Facebook message from a friend. This was a friend of mine from college and one Brad had grown up going to church camp with. She explained that she knew I had found a church I really liked, with a great post-college group of friends, and she wanted me to tell her friend Brad about it. So details were exchanged, a little light Facebook stalking was done to see if this guy was cute, and on October 24, 2010 this tall man introduced himself to me. He was wearing a yellow and white polo (laughable now because he NEVER wears polos) and some knock off Vans that I thought were ugly.
You could say that on that day, just over 9 years ago, Brad began his long, drawn out pursuit of my heart. But, before we get to that part, I need to mention my mom again. In the fall of 2010 I had also invited this new group of friends, including Brad, to my parent’s home for some camping and horseback riding. At this point there may have been a little interest on both Brad’s and my part, but nothing that I had ever mentioned to anyone. During this weekend, however, my mom wrote in her journal that she knew Brad was the guy I was going to marry. WHAT?! How did she know? I’m not sure, but she was right! It would just take me a couple extra years to be sure of the same thing.
From 2011-2012 there was flirting and the occasional “unofficial” date. We’d stick around and hang out later than our group of friends, or secretly watch The Voice together so that no one could talk about our friendship/relationship. And in June of 2011 I agreed to a real date, which Brad claims was the worst first date he’s ever been on because I “interviewed” him. Not exactly how I remember it, but it probably wasn’t the most memorable first date in my mind either. Clearly, because we didn’t actually become “boyfriend & girlfriend” until April 2012. (10 months after that “worst first date.”)
But that’s not where the “happily ever after began.” Because one month later I broke up with Brad, but bless that man, he didn’t give up. He even told me, while we were broken up, “It’s okay, I told my mom and sister we’ll get back together.” (At the time it annoyed me, but then again, everyone knew we’d end up together before I did.) Don’t worry though, in July 2012 I FINALLY saw the light! I called Brad and told him I needed to talk to him. He drove over to my apartment, and in my sweet/sarcastic nature I told him, “I can’t be your friend…But I can be your GIRLFRIEND!” (Cheesy!)
November 2012, 3.5 months after dating (the second time), we got engaged! It was simple + sweet, at a park where we often went on walks. He gave me a little book that had a bunch of dates in it.. “October 24, 2010: The Day We Met.”…..”September 28, 2012: Brad says, ‘I love you!”…ect. AND THEN, the last page…”November 2, 2012: He asked…” When I looked up from the book Brad was down on one knee asking me to marry him. (Awww!)
Six months later, on a beautiful day in May, we promised our hearts to each other forever, in front of Christ, our family, and friends. Where many people remarked how Brad really had to fight for me. Sure, I may have been the last person to know, or rather commit to the idea that I would marry him, but throughout the past 9 years, no one has ever made me feel so valued and loved. This man pursues my heart in the truest and purest ways. It’s been a beautiful example to me of how Christ daily pursues my heart and loves me even more than my husband. And I think that’s exactly how God intended it to be. This is my favorite love story!