One of my favorite things about facebook is the 'On This Day' feature. I love logging in and seeing what I was doing, thinking, or snapping 📸 on this very day last year, 2 years ago, or maybe even 6 or 7 years ago. When I looked at this feature today I was excited because I realized that today is a really special day. On this day, 2 years ago, I boarded a flight to Dallas meet my Husband, Ken, for the first time. I haven't really talked much about how we met or our journey to marriage so I want to take today to start sharing our love story.
So the story really starts about 2 years and 3 weeks ago. It had been a few months since I signed the final divorce papers. After a year and a half separation and a lot of prayer, I had finally let it go. I was FREE. But one thing about divorce is that it leaves painful scars that do not heal overnight. Even with being free from someone I was never supposed to marry in the first place, I was honestly still struggling. My friend Shanika made a suggestion that she get me in touch with her husbands friend, Ken, who had recently finalized his divorce as well. She thought maybe it would be helpful for me to talk to someone who was going through what I was going through and could offer a different level of understanding. My immediate answer was, 'NO!' because I was struggling to even admit to people what I was going through. I didn't want to talk to a stranger about personal problems. But then I thought about it and realized that what harm could it do. He didn't know me. If the convo was embarrassing I could hang up and never speak to him again. So I told her she could give him my number.
A couple days go by and I completely forgot about it. I was actually preparing for a trip to Hawaii to photograph a wedding. So one evening as I am packing and getting my equipment ready for the trip, I remember just realizing how disappointed I was to be packing for a dream trip with no husband to share it with. I broke down in tears. Like I said with divorce there are just moments where things hit you. Even if you know you are better off without that person, your life is still going in a direction you didn't plan at all. And it's just hard. So I remember sitting on the floor next to my half packed suitcase crying. I mean I am just balling my eyes out and my phone rings. When I look I see a number I don't recognize. I almost don't answer because of how hysterical I was. But let me tell y'all how awesome God is. His timing is so perfect. It was Ken. So I try to straighten up my voice so he doesn't hear that I was just crying and we talk. I really had no expectation of the conversation. I thought maybe maybe he would at least have some insight on how he moved past the hurt and disappointment. Or maybe he will be a friend I can talk to every so often. But the conversation exceeded my expectations. He was just so kind and willing to listen. And I didn't feel awkward telling him what I was going through. He didn't judge me or think I was crazy. He seemed to even understand and relate with stories about what he went through. Come to find out he actually finalized his divorce one month before I finalized mine. When we hung up I was kind of taken back by how in a matter of seconds God used my low moment as an opportunity to send someone I did not know to help lift me back up. I literally went from tears to laughter in one conversation.
Now even though I enjoyed our first conversation I was not thinking about him in that way. Ken is in the Air Force and at the time he was stationed in Abilene, Texas (the middle of nowhere) while I was in the suburbs of Chicago. Plus, I just wasn't in a space to really develop a crush on a man I knew very little about. Jesus himself needed to come out the sky for me to even believe a man was worth my time back then. So I went back to preparing for my trip to Hawaii. I think I was leaving a day or two later. I remember getting a text from Ken the day of my flight saying he enjoyed the conversation and feel free to call him anytime. I told him that I had a long layover that evening so if he was free we could talk then. And we did just that. For about 4 of my 6 hr layover in the middle of the night Ken sat on the phone to keep me company. And the conversation was effortless. We talked about everything. Our families, our careers, our failed marriages, God. It was just another awesome conversation. And it was at this point I remember thinking 'Ok God... what are you doing?'
So when I get to Hawaii (which is amazing by the way, the best vacation I have ever had) and we are sending each other texts throughout the day. We decide to FaceTime the 2nd or 3rd night into the trip. I had honestly already seen a picture of him (thanks Shanika for being my spy lol) but we wanted to talk face to face. Even with a huge time difference we talk like most of the night. I was starting to like this guy so I decided it was time to put him to the test. God had come up a lot in our conversations but I had to see if he really was serious about his relationship with God. So I asked him to pray with me on facetime. I did not want to even entertain a man who didn't truly love God and have a REAL relationship with him. Ken hesitated for a second but then he just went for it. He prayed like only a man who loves God can do. Thats when I knew it was ok to like him and that he had potential.
When I got back to Chicago my friend Shanika asked if I would be want to come visit them and also meet Ken in person. At this point, after over a weeks worth of texts, phone calls and FaceTime dates, I was smitten with my new crush so I said yes with no hesitation. When I mentioned it to Ken he was excited too. He even decided to buy one of my tickets to come down there. 3 weeks later I boarded the plane to Dallas (the nearest airport to where he lived). Ken had to drive 3 hrs from Abilene to Dallas to pick me up. Honestly guys I was so nervous. I had butterflies like you can't imagine the entire flight. I guess for me it was because I really didn't know what to expect or what was going to come of this, but I was honestly just trusting God. No matter what I knew that he was the one who created the circumstances for us to have our first conversation. I wasn't forcing anything or trying to hook myself up. It was all God. So it was worth exploring for that reason alone. So on this day 2 years ago I walked out of the baggage claim area and saw Ken for the very first time. My future husband greeted me with a hug, a huge smile, and a dozen roses. Life is so unpredictable sometimes. And when we least expect is when God brings us our biggest blessings. If there is one thing I have learned from our relationship is that anything that God gives us will never have to be forced. It will flow naturally because God knows when, where, with who and how to make things happen at the perfect time. Just in case you didn't already know God writes the best love stories. He is an amazing author!