On tuesday I felt that it was important to understand why we even love. To give you the truest and most beautiful love description from our Lord and Savior. So today I figured I would be a little more light hearted and bring you into the love story of how Mike and I came to be. Here we go. It’s a bit long so hang in there.
Once upon a time I lived in a little town outside of Detroit. In high school I started to date this guy. He was so much fun to be around and I really liked him a lot. For the two years we dated things were good. After I graduated I went away to college and we started living different lives. I felt very attached to him and didn’t feel like I could really go on without him. I became anxious about it and started feeling like I needed to be a certain way in order to receive affection from him. I was uncertain of who I was and what I wanted and so for three more years we were in this back and forth relationship. I decided to move to Florida to make a new start and so transferred as a junior to Palm Beach Atlantic. It was exciting and new and I was thrilled to make new friends and not have to be constantly analyzing the relationship with this guy. The day I moved into my dorm I went over to some friends house and they were watching a video from the previous year. I saw Mike in the video and asked who he was. They began to tell me that his name was Mike D. and I would definitely end up crushing on him because every girl crushes on him at one point or another. So in that moment I decided I would never ever like him. Never! 😉
It wasn’t until a month later that I saw him in person. Not quite what I had remembered seeing in the video but still was curious as to why so many girls liked him. The day we officially met was a rainy day. My friend and I had a scuba diving class that we needed to get to and we had to drive to it. We were standing under a canopy waiting for the rain to die down when we noticed Mike and his friend getting into a car going to the same class. My friend blurted out that we needed a ride so they offered us one. That is how we met. Nothing amazing… ha. However we did find out that we had the exact same birthday. He’s just a year older. After this epic meeting and conversation we really didn’t talk much after that. I had my group of friends and he had his. But I was still curious about him and in the meantime was still conversing with the guy back home.
As I was confused in this “relationship” with this guy I began to have anxiety attacks and felt completely lost. I went to the college pastor of the church I was going to and shared my story and asked for help. He handed me a leader packet and said..”Well Kelly. Welcome to the high school leadership team. You’re going to be a leader for the high schoolers here.” Ummm.. excuse me?! Did you just hear how messed up I was? It was the best thing that he could have ever done to help me. So I got involved. And slowly things became clear and God became real. It just so happened that Mike was the worship leader for the high school group… so every wednesday I would sing praises to God and have one eye on Mike. Just being honest. 😉 But I knew he never gave girls the time of day so I just threw the thoughts out of my mind. It wasn’t until my graduation from college that it all shifted. He came to my graduation and made me a card. Mostly filled with scripture and some encouraging words… but the fact that he made me a card was crazy. He never did stuff like that. And than a few weeks later he asked me to meet him at the beach to pick up a cd he made me. So I did. And there he was sitting on a bench under the moonlight with the ocean waves in front of him. It was the most nervous I had ever seen him. He brought his guitar and played a song that he wrote for me and then began to tell me in broken up english of some kind that he had feelings for me and wondered if I felt the same with him. Ya know what i said? I said that I was praying about another guy I had feelings for but that I had always been interested so we’ll see. It freaked me out! Heres this guy who I had looked up to, admired, crushed on in secret and he actually came out and told a girl that he liked her! Me??!!
We started dating and I was scared. I was a girl that was still confused how loved worked in dating. I was confused as to who I was supposed to be in a relationship. I was still a mess and my heart was still healing. He was a guy who knew what he wanted. He told me how he could see having children with me. How he could see us getting married. Like I said, freaked me out. Not to mention I felt like I didn’t even know him. I knew who he was on stage but not who he was just as a person. He didn’t fit the mold that I figured I would end up with. I pictured a guy like my dad. Tall, dark hair, 9-5 job. Here’s mike… a little shorter, blonde, a musician. So this story could go on for pages and pages so I’ll try and shorten it up. We end up dating for 2 years while I broke up with hime probably 7 or more times. I’d want to be around him but any moment I felt the least bit of pressure to perform I would end it. I would miss him and go back and than doubt and dump him. I literally strung him along while I tried to figure myself out until finally he told me he couldn’t do it anymore. He was going to give me space and I was not allowed to communicate with him at all until I figured out what I wanted. Fair enough. I went for about 5 weeks. No communication. I prayed and begged God to give me answers. I began to realize that I felt like I couldn’t ever be completely myself in a dating relationship for fear that their love would falter and leave me. And in all reality it was how I felt about God. I didn’t believe in God’s unconditional love. I had to perform for God so therefore I had to perform for any relationship I found myself in. I was convicted and brought to my knees as I realized why I was so doubtful. Than one morning I woke up, and as i was getting ready, I felt God ask me..”Kelly, what do you want?” And immediately in my heart I said…” I want to marry Mike and be with him.” And than I felt God say…” Well go get him.” And that is what I did.
I set it all up. Our favorite gazebo with tons of candles lit. Our favorite songs playing. And Mike blindfolded by his friends as he walked up the walkway. As his friends drove away I took off his blindfold and with tears in my eyes told him that I figured it out. I wanted to be with him… forever. I was ready for the next step of marriage with him and wasn’t confused anymore. Sounds lovely doesn’t it. You would think that was the end of the story… but no. To my dismay… he had started to turn his heart off towards me and no longer knew if he wanted to be with me! Yup that’s right. Thus begins when I really learned what it meant to truly love someone. For the next six months I devoted my heart to him even when I didn’t get the same feelings in return. I loved him through it. I waited while he shared his doubts, while he was silent and distant, while he wouldn’t call when he said he would. I wouldn’t give up because he didn’t give up on me. After 6 months he left for a two week band thing and came back certain that he was ready to marry me. I was floored and so excited. We bought tickets to Michigan so that he could ask my dad for my hand in marriage. My parents knew and were thrilled. The day before we left I saw in Mike’s eyes that he was still doubting. My heart broke and I knew I couldn’t be with him if he was so uncertain. So I told him not to come, ended it, and flew home alone. I was crushed and yet felt free that I no longer had to love him without receiving it back.
A little while longer I received a letter from him. He was sorry, and he made the biggest mistake of his life. After 7 letters in a row I told him to no longer contact me. Mike realized that summer that it wasn’t me he was scared of, but marriage itself. Through reading and counseling he found answers to the fears he faced. While this was taking place I decided to move to Nashville to yet again start fresh. I had always dreamed of starting my own coffee shop and moved to start that dream. LIttle did I know Mike and the band decided to move to Nashville as well to take their band to the next level. So there we were… as God would see it… our paths coming back together. We got together after 3 months of no talking and talked for 8 hours strait. We went through everything that we had learned and felt. God redeemed us that day and slowly we began to date again even though everyone we loved were against it. My parents wanted nothing to do with him, his friends didn’t trust me. We were on our own… we knew how we felt and we knew that finally God had brought us to the same place and the same time. We prayed fervently that God would change my parents hearts… and to our amazement He did. Out of the blue my dad gave Mike his blessing … we were engaged and married within 2 1/2 months.
Now even though this was extremely long… there is still more God ordained things that had happened that I can always share later if you’d like. But most importantly here’s what I hope you get from this story. You will never be perfect for anyone… and they will never be perfect for you. You don’t have to perform and be a certain way in order to receive affection from God or a guy. Just be who God created you to be and as you learn to love one another you’ll learn to love them even through their faults. And they will learn to love you through yours. God is sovereign. He is the one ultimately in control and if He can bring out redemption and rejoicing through our messed up dating life, He surely can bring you through the fire and redeem any relationship you may have. God’s love is unconditional. No matter what, you do not have to perform for God in order to receive His affection for you. You can live through His grace and let His love drive you to glorify Him. Love can be a funny thing… and as I look back I am thankful for not only the great memories, but the difficult ones. I encourage you whether you are single or married to read these two books- ” The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller and “The Mystery of Marriage” by Mike Mason. They will bring understanding and clarity to what marriage is all about.