February 22, 2013 by A Girl Like Me
I know some of you have asked after reading Mike and Kelly’s story to hear the tale of how Jeff and I came to be. I’ll admit, it is not as long and amazingly epic as Mike and Kelly’s :-), but it’s ours and it is how God saw fit to bring us together. So here we go.
I had moved to Nashville from Arizona in late 2006 to further my career in the music industry. After a few failed jobs, I landed a killer position at Provident Label Group. There, I was the admin assistant to the department whose job was to find and sign new artists to the label. I loved it. It was social and creative and right up my alley.
In mid 2007 I was asked to go on a scouting trip with my bosses to look at a band they were thinking of signing. They said they were my age, so they thought I could bring a cool factor if I came. As you might have guessed, it was Tenth Avenue North. I watched them play, thinking nothing of Jeff but the fact that I thought I had met him before. No sparks flew on either of our parts, and the night was left to business and the possibility we would meet again.
As God would have it, TAN signed a record deal with our label, and so that meant I would see Jeff quite regularly when he would come in for meetings and what not. We had a good time joking and keeping each other entertained, but all the while, there was no interest whatsoever.
2008 came and with it, a lot of surprises. I had started to date a guy that lived back in Arizona who I had crushed on for over nine years. Unbeknownst to me, however, Jeff was developing his own little crush. He would come and hang out with my friends, invite me to things he was doing, and have movie nights at my house with my roommate and I. Again, I loved him solely as my friend, and was so grateful to have him in my life in that way.
One March day while I was at work, a package came in the mail addressed to me. In it was just a single cd with my nickname (Schmancy) on it. I put the cd in my computer and lo and behold, there was Jeff’s voice on the other end singing me this hilarious song with Mike, asking me out on a date. It was the coolest and funniest thing I had ever been given by a guy, and I loved it. But there was a problem. Not only was he my friend whom I dearly loved having as so, but I was also dating someone else, and more importantly, he was an artist on the label I worked for.
The next thing I knew I was thrust into meetings with my bosses being told that if I dated him and it ended and ended badly, this could hurt my work and the company’s relationship with him. At the same time though, I was also being told how awesome it was that he wrote me a song and that it at least merited giving him one little harmless date. Afraid of losing his friendship and possibly my job, I called Jeff and told him thank you but no thank you. If he were to interject here, he’d tell you that I crushed his little Korean heart in that moment.
After that, things got a little blurry. I was still dating this guy, but would ask Jeff to hang out with me, go see movies…all in the vein that I dearly cared for him as a friend. Oh how I must have been toying with his precious heart. In April of that year, I suddenly lost my dad to a major heat attack and found myself in an emotional and spiritual place I had never been before. In that time, Jeff was amazing. He’d send me encouraging texts, scripture verses, and even left funny gifts at my desk to cheer me up. He was constant in his pursuit, but gentle in his approach.
That May, the boy I was dating suddenly lost his mom in a car accident that sent his life spiraling downward and resulting in our breaking up. For whatever reason…mainly I think because I wanted the attention…I told Jeff that I was single again, and in his words, “It was game on.” Now his gentle pursuit became a full court press and he was coming after me like a lion after his prey.
I was even more unsure of how I felt about Jeff in this moment mainly because I wasn’t sure if I wanted him as anice distraction to the loss of my dad, or because I was really developing feelings for him. We went on what would be the most awkward first date of my life, and there he expressed his desire to date me. I hesitantly agreed, still very uncertain if I even liked him in that way.
For a month, I lead him on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Avoiding his calls, being distant, and not really giving him any of my heart out of sheer fear that if things ended poorly, not only would I have failed at a relationship AGAIN, but lost someone who I adored having as a friend. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with my brother who said I’d be making the biggest mistake of my life if I didn’t date him, that I began to really ask God what His will was for the two of us.
At the same time, God was moving in Jeff’s heart as well. Desperately wanting to take our relationship in the right path, Jeff began to seek God in his own way. Knowing that my earthly father had left this world, Jeff felt he needed to then ask my heavenly father for permission to date me. He fasted and prayed and fasted and prayed and waited patiently for the Lord to answer him as well as me. And just like God, the day Jeff chose to break his fast was the day that my heart began to stir for Jeff for the first time.
After that, things began to get better. We had several healthy conversations about where we were at with the Lord and with each other and how to best serve one another in those places. He was respectful and gentle, unlike any other man I had ever been in company with. And so after two and a half brief months of dating, Jeff asked me to marry him and I accepted. Five months later on a beautiful February day, God honored our patience and desire to bring Him glory first in our relationship by allowing us to enter in to the beautiful covenant of marriage.
It’s been almost five years since all of that took place, and looking back, I just have to smile. God gave me fear over being with Jeff because He wanted me to love Him first before I could ever love Jeff. He wanted me to see that no marriage or relationship could ever survive without me loving God and moving out of His love for me so that I could effectively love another. I’m still learning, as is Jeff, on how to do that well, but God’s grace is there to cover us when we fail.
The one thing I can say that I have learned from all of this is that my need for love must always come from Christ first. My husband is an amazing man, but he is simply that…a man. He will never fulfill my heart’s ache for love, and he never can. But as I love God more, and rest in His love alone, I can find the earthly love my husband gives me all that much more satisfying.