So. In our story so far, we met, we danced, we Valentined, we had a DTR, I waited, we had another DTR. Synopsis with pictures here.
The first time we held hands… I took a picture. I’m that girl.
So finally, we are up to the point when our relationship actually began. After the conversation I mentioned before, when he told me he wanted to wait until after his birthday, I waited very anxiously for his birthday to come. By the time it came, I had convinced myself that I had imagined that entire conversation in June, and nothing at all was going to change. Dave went away with his family the weekend of his birthday. When he returned, he had shaved his beard. I found this interesting. We had lunch that Tuesday for ministry purposes, and he made no mention of anything relationship-y. Now I was sure that nothing was going to happen.
The next day, Dave texted and asked me to lunch. My stomach filled up with butterflies. Could this be it?! We went to Elli’s – our spot, it seemed. He had cut his hair. I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed, because I love him with long hair and a beard, but I chose to take this as a good sign. And he is a handsome devil, no matter what.
He was nervous. I was nervous. We were awkward.
When we sat, he said, “You probably know what I wanted to talk to you about.”
I said, “I think so…” desperately hoping he wouldn’t ask, because what if I was wrong?? He didn’t.
He started talking, and I honestly can’t tell you what the first few sentences were because I had a strange moment of paranoid panic and went temporarily deaf. “What if I was wrong about everything??” My subconscious was screaming. “What if he brought me here to tell me that after praying about it, he had chosen a life of celibacy??” Yeah, this is the kind of crazy I was dealing with. Then I told that voice to shut up and snapped back to reality.
Dave was giving a synopsis of our relationship up to that point. Everything you read about in the previous posts, he was summing up for me. He said that all this time he was trying to protect my heart by not letting either of us get emotionally invested before it was the right time. Ha. While he attempted to protect my heart, I had ripped it out of my own chest and served it to him on a platter. Umm… that metaphor was kind of gross, sorry. I digress.
Dave said that he wanted to start spending a lot more time together, and getting to know each other more deeply. We could have lunches together… and dinners… and go for long drives… and maybe to the Boardwalk! This was his adorable way of telling me he wanted to date. Then he said, would you like to do that? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
I said yes, I definitely would like that.
The first photo someone took of us after we started dating.
The next day, we made it extra official – girlfriend/boyfriend status.
The day after that, we were Facebook official. Serious business.
And the day after that, he asked me if he could see me all the days ever after. Oh sorry sometimes Jane Austen book/movie quotes just comes out and I can’t stop them. But seriously, 3 days after our first official “date,” we discussed marriage. I shared with him what it had been like in my mind and world for the last 2 years. (See previous posts if you don’t know what I’m referring to.) He thanked me for sharing my heart and returned the favor by saying that he would not have asked me out in the first place if he didn’t have the intention of marrying me someday. So that was out on the table.
Two days after that, he told me he loved me, and I said I loved him too. (Via text… don’t judge, it’s just how it happened.) That night, I mentioned that I wanted a spring wedding. He said, “let’s get married this coming spring.” I said, “THIS spring? The one that’s 8 months from now?!” He said yes. (“8 months is a long time!” He said. Ha.)
The next day (this is 6 days into our relationship, in case you’re trying to keep track) I panicked. I had no concerns or fears about David. I was 187% sure he was the man for me. I was worried about him. What if we were moving too fast, and when all of my deep secrets were revealed, he would want to run, but it would be too late because we were already married? (Insecurity at its finest.) I’m messy. A slob, really. Ask my roommate. I hardly cook. I’m willing to try but I will never fit in with the Julia Childs and Martha Stewarts of the world. He kind of knew this already, but not the extent of it, I was sure. Not to mention some things in my past that I was less than proud of. David never went through those cliched “crazy college years” that I unfortunately participated in. He knew this about me, but not the details. The colossal speed of our relationship caused me feel frighteningly vulnerable – what if I wasn’t good enough for him??
That night we went to the beach. We sat face to face on our knees in the sand, and I told him all my fears and insecurities. I told him about my past. He listened silently. When I was done, he said, “I love you.” (The first time he said it out loud.) I couldn’t speak through the tears. He said it two more times. Then he told me that everything I had said about my past he would forget about and never think about again. He said that he would love me with all of his mind, in addition to his heart. That whenever anything negative about me came into his mind, he would replace it with all the things he loved about me.
He said, “I promise you are safe with me, I’ll protect you. It’s me. I’m the one you’ve been waiting for. And you’re the one I’ve been waiting for. I love you and I’m committed to loving you for the rest of my life.”
I can’t even believe I’m describing real life. He is the most amazing man. All my insecurities flew out the window. In the following days, we told our families and started planning our wedding. From that moment on, I didn’t doubt for a moment.
And I cannot wait to marry him in 10 days.
In case our story is dragging for any of you… fear not, I’m close to the end. In the meantime I will distract you with pictures! If you’re not caught up, (and care to be) I offer you parts one, two, three, four, five, and six.
This post will be a photo-journalistic representation of the span of our friendship, and it will also bring us up to just before we actually started dating. After that it’s smooth sailing guys, I promise.
Ok. Here’s our first photo that we ever took together:
Please excuse the extra 15 pounds I had on me at that point in life. And, with Dave beardless he looks like a wee babby. But nevertheless, it was our first photo together, so it’s special. It was taken after Hungry, at a Mexican restaurant we like to frequent, now called Pica Fresh, then called Habanero. Important details, I know.
Ok, here’s a fun fact I haven’t mentioned. Dave and I share a God-daughter! We have since she was born, which was over a year before we were together. Her mother is my roommate, and her father is a friend of Dave’s. They asked us separately to be her godparents. I prayed to Jesus that Dave would take that as a sign, but of course, he didn’t. Anyway, we were both honored, and soon we will be married – like most godparents are! So it all worked out. Here are some sweet photos of our little Sophia with us (mostly Dave – I’m usually the one taking the pictures) in her first year of her life. (She’s now 18 months.)
We attended (and organized) many events for Hungry (our church group) over those months, and often had cute little moments to ourselves, which I cherished. Occasionally people caught them on camera:
And, my favorite set of photos (pre-dating) are from a road trip that we took for his birthday the year before last. Remember when I told him about my feelings? That was early September, 2011. His birthday is September 15th. So mere days after him telling me that he was not ready to be in a relationship, we hopped in my car with our friend Cody and headed down Highway 1 to San Luis Obispo. An interesting choice, on both our parts, but who’s judging? We stopped in all the prettiest spots, stayed over with some friends of mine in SLO, and then headed back the next morning. It was magical. It wasn’t necessarily the best idea for me, because I ended up just extra frustrated that we weren’t together… but it was a blast while it lasted.
Ok… fast forward about 9 months. In those months we mostly just acted like normal friends. Leading in ministry together. Having “leaders hang out” nights every Sunday, (initiated by Dave) which was usually just me, Dave and Cody, or me, Dave and his roommates, or occasionally, me and Dave. See a pattern here? He swears that was not intentional. Mmmhmm.
Oh, and since it’s show and tell, I have to share this gem… This is what he brought back for me from his trip to Israel in the spring:
It’s a jewelry box. Of all the things he could have gotten me… how cute is that? Ok I digress. But these were the little things I held onto on the long winter nights. Also on the long spring and summer and fall nights, that felt like winter, because I was single. Haha ok I’m done being dramatic.
The last little piece of our story, prior to him asking me out, happened in June/July 2012. We started spending quite a bit of time with our friends Cody (seen above) and Rachel (Cody’s amazing girlfriend.) Here’s a fun little sequence of the four of us on a trampoline:
Weee… doesn’t it look fun? It was fun. We had the best time together. It almost felt like… double dating! And at some point I realized that wasn’t really all that cool with me. (I mean it would be super cool if we really were double dating… but alas, that was not the case.) It was time for… (cue dramatic music) another DTR.
We got dinner at Elli’s (it’s what we do) and I basically told him (after crying for an hour beforehand about it) that I couldn’t keep hanging out as a foursome. (We called it Festivus. It was so awesome that we actually named it.) I told him it felt like we were dating, and I knew we weren’t, and that was hard for me, so we had to stop. I was prepared for everything except for what came next. First he apologized, quite sincerely, for sending mixed signals. I appreciated that. Then…
“Over the last few months, I’ve developed really strong feelings for you.”
I do not know how I kept a straight face at that point. My mind and emotions were spinning in every direction. But he seemed very serious, so I waited for the catch.
“…I’m just not sure exactly what to do about it right now. I want to give it some more time.”
Colleen’s mind: More. Time. More time. Ok I can do this. Been waiting this long, what’s a few more months, right? Oh, dear God in heaven, please let it be months and not years.
“…I want to wait until my birthday.”
September 15th! It was early July at this point. 2.5 months – I had this in the bag.
Well those two and a half months were excrutiating for us both, I’m happy to say. Misery does love company! But we made it through.
When September came, I think you all know what happened. But don’t worry, I’ll tell you about it in minute detail, because that’s what I do. Until next time! xo
Ok, let’s get caught up. First, I met Dave, then we had our first dance, then I asked him to be my Valentine (embarrassing), then we had our first DTR (defining the relationship), then I fell in love with him. Which brings us to now. That was a year’s worth of stuff, btdubs.
Photo by Laura Hernandez Photography
To be completely honest with you, there were some points in our journey, when I was just, kind of… losing it. It’s kind of hard when you wait 27 years to meet the man of your dreams and then he makes you wait 2 more to start the relationship. He was totally worth the wait, and I would have waited a lifetime for him if I had to… no one else would do. Plus, many good things came out of the waiting period, for both of us. But regardless, there were a few moments along the way (ahem, maybe more than a few) when I just wanted to smack David upside the head and say, “Are you into me, or not? Get on with it, man!”
The time had come, after a year of friendship, and 7 months after our first “date,” when I felt the need to… “check in” again. I told him there was something I needed to talk to him about. We went and picked up sandwiches, and took them to a park, where we proceeded to eat them… with a bunch of people we knew. When we were picking up the sandos he had mentioned something about a church picnic but I wasn’t really listening due to the sound of my own heart beating, which I was pretty sure could be heard throughout the grocery store. I was just a little nervous about the talk we were about to have. So, after the awkward party, we went for a walk. It was time to get down to business. But I couldn’t seem to make words come out of my mouth.
After walking in silence for a minute, he said, “So… was there something you wanted to tell me?”
Him: “Ok, go ahead…” probably wondering if I was suffering from brain damage.
Me: “I… (long pause) …have feelings for you.”
Insert every crazy loud noise you can imagine, all of which were going off at once inside my head. I could not believe I just said that. But in reality, there was silence. Cue the speech, which I had tediously prepared myself to give.
“I remember what you said in February, that you are intentionally single, and that you are waiting for the right person, and the right time and everything. I respect that, and I’m not trying to pressure you or rush you. I’ve prayed a lot about my feelings, and asked God to take them away, and He hasn’t. (The next part was unrehearsed, and not part of my plan.) When I was in college, there was a time when I felt the Lord leading me to be intentionally single. Conveniently for me, no one pursued me at that time. But if they had, there would have been a difference between, ‘I’m focusing on my spiritual life right now, but try back later!” and “Not gonna happen buddy. Thanks for playing.’ (Except I definitely didn’t say it like that, because I lose most of my sense of humor when I’m nervous. After that part I returned to the speech as planned.) I rarely have feelings for people, and I promise you that I’ve never had a conversation like this in my life.”
Dave: (Inserting his first comment) “It’s very bold!”
Me: Awkward laugh. “Thank you. It’s terrifying! Anyway, I just wanted to put my cards on the table and see where you’re at, so that I can know how to move on.”
Dave: “Well I’m in a similar place as I was when we talked in February.” He seemed to have mastered the art of using one simple sentence to crush my soul.
He proceeded to tell me about a book he was reading, called The Pursuit Of God, by A.W. Tozer. The book talks about selling all your possessions and following Christ, and what that means in our modern day world, when it is obviously not taken literally. He told me the book says to sacrifice the things in your life that have meaning to you – to lay those things in God’s hands and trust Him to do what’s best for them. He said he had been praying about what those things were, like his time, and his finances, and one of them… was me.
Translation: I have feelings for you too. But I don’t know what to do about them, and I’m not ready for a relationship, so I’m giving my feelings to Jesus, and we’ll see what He does with them.
I was kind of excited and kind of sad. At least it wasn’t an outright refusal, which I had prepared myself for. There was hope. If I knew David, and I believed I truly did, I knew that he would NEVER lead me on. If it was never going to happen with us, he would surely have told me so.
We walked for a long time, and sat in his front yard for a while after that. Again, I was shocked by the non-awkwardness of it all. It was quite pleasant, really.
So… I set out to wait some more. Stay tuned.
As usual, if you are just joining us, I offer you parts one, two, three, and four of our story for your reading pleasure.
Now for part five. Which is a little more difficult to sum up. This is the part where I fell in love with David. It happened gradually, and I couldn’t label it that way until later, looking back, but that’s what it was. It’s kind of hard to describe that process. But I love a challenge, so here I go.
Photo by Laura Hernandez Photography
First of all, let me say that being a leader is hard. (This does relate to our love story, I promise this isn’t one of my weird tangents.) Before my role at Hungry (our church’s young adults group) I had never been in a true position of leadership. I had been on various worship teams, but I just showed up, sang, and went home. Not a whole lot was expected of me. When I started on this leadership team, I honestly didn’t think much about what it meant. And God knew that if I was aware of what was in store, I would surely have chickened out. Instead, I jumped in feet first and found out (the hard way) what being a leader really means.
Our ministry went through a lot. I won’t get into the details, because it’s not necessary to drudge up the past. Changes were made, egos were bruised, friendships were broken, loyalties were questioned, hearts were hurt. It was brutal, to be perfectly honest. I had spent most of my Christian life longing for Christian friends my age who would become my family, the way that it’s supposed to be. I had finally found it. And then all of a sudden, everything was a mess. It was very confusing for me.
I would not have gotten through without Jesus (duh)… and David.
Over those months I spent more time with him and our friendship deepened. I watched him go through something extremely difficult, as I went through it alongside him. He was everything that a leader should be. When he didn’t know what to say, he said nothing. (A trait I need to work on.) When he did speak, he spoke volumes. He spoke with humility, and shared what God was teaching him through it all. He spoke with wisdom, on how to apply biblical principles to the situation. He spoke with grace – I never heard an ill word from his mouth toward any person involved. And he listened. When I spoke with rashness and frustration and blame – he listened with care and understanding, instead of judgment. He made me want to be a better person.
How could I not fall in love? It was hopeless.
Time marched on. Eventually hearts were mended, egos nursed, friendships restored. There was maturity, growth, and fresh starts. God did what he does best, He brought redemption and healing.
So, back to us… September came, and with it an overwhelming urge to talk to Dave again. To see if anything had changed in his heart since our Valentine’s date, now 7 months earlier. I prayed endlessly. Every scripture I read and sermon I heard seemed to be about courage and bravery, instead of patience and endurance. I truly felt that God was egging me on.
And thus began DTR #2. Which will be my next post – stay tuned!
If you are just tuning in, you can read the previous posts from our story here: part 1, part 2, part 3.
D.T.R = Defining the relationship.
Photo by Laura Hernandez Photography
So… after our Valentine’s date I waited… and waited… and waited. Well it was only a week but it felt like an eternity. I was fully expecting everything to be different. I expected a call, a text, a proposal… something! Nothing came.
A week after valentine’s I had lunch with my friend Jess, and asked her what in the world Dave must be thinking. She had no idea either. On my way home, I ironically saw him riding his bike home. So I texted him, and he said he was on a “smoothie break.” (He makes really good smoothies, you guys.) So I cleverly and boldly invited myself over to his house for smoothies the following day. He accepted.
I went over the next day, intending to talk to him and feeling nervous. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. Our friend Cody, Dave’s roommate at the time, was home making his own lunch. Three is kind of a crowd when you’re trying to have a DTR. I wasn’t ready to give up though. I offered to walk him back to the church (he rides his bike to and from our church, where he works.) He agreed.
Here’s how it went…
Me: “So… I’m not really a person who goes on casual dates, and I don’t think you are either.”
Him: “No, I’m not.”
Me: “So I was just wondering… what you thought about the Valentine’s thing?”
Him: Small chuckle. “Well for me it was just a friends thing.”
He proceeded to tell me that he had been intentionally single for the last 4 years. He shared his brief relationship history prior to that. He said he thought that relationships were distracting from his relationship with God, and that until he felt God leading him to do otherwise, he would remain single.
Then he told me I was an “interesting girl.” Omg I forgot about that and I’m going to give him so much grief for that today when I see him. Interesting = least endearing term in the English language. He said that he enjoys hanging out and getting to know me, but that he isn’t pursuing anyone right now. (Why on earth he took me to dinner on Valentine’s day is still a bit of a mystery to us both, but now we’re getting married, so all’s well that ends, well, right?) He said that he was impressed I had the boldness to bring it up. (Well, somebody had to.)
We talked easily the rest of the way to the church, which was surprising given the awkward nature of the conversation that had just ensued. I smiled and laughed and pretended I wasn’t dying inside.
After I dropped him off I texted Jess, who was waiting to hear what happened: “So… we are friends. :/ He is focusing on his relationship with the Lord. Which is not surprising, but still disappointing.”
She responded: “Hmmm no, not surprising and not a bad thing. But if you feel the need to come over and eat ice cream straight from the container that’s ok too.” Have I mentioned that I love her?
I went home and had a brief pity party, and then I took Jess up on her offer.
That is the end of that chapter of our story. Over the next several months, nothing too significant happened with us. Oh, except that I fell in love with David. My heart had a mind of its own and regardless of my futile efforts, it would not give up on him. Good thing!
The next chapter will come soon. xoxo