a divine conspiracy (the story of us: part 3)

We said "I love you" for the first time in December. It was at his apartment, and we were seated on the couch. We had just finished watching an episode of The Office, the episode where they all go on a night cruise and Jim tries to tell Pam his true feelings for her. And even though I was not (and am still not) a fan of The Office, he took my hand and told me that he was in love with me. It had been just over a month, and I said the three words back.

We talk about that night sometimes still. We even celebrated the one year anniversary of saying "I love you." And we also talk about how quickly it happened, how it might have been best to wait to say those words, but when you know, you know.

And even though I knew, I was still scared. I still pushed him away and wondered if it were real. I still asked how he could love me, how this could be happening. It wasn't a part of my plan, but really, I wasn't sure what my plan was any longer.

I wanted to move somewhere new and work for Teach for America. It was a dream of mine, a passion. I prayed over it. The love of teaching was ignited in me during my time in China, and I had a vision of myself crouching by a desk, teaching.

But I had found out in early December that I did not make it past the first round. I was devastated.  We weren't yet to the point of saying "I love you," so I didn't feel comfortable calling him immediately with the news. I talked to others about it first, cried about it, and then heard wise words from a friend who said I shouldn't put all my eggs into one basket.

I do have a habit of doing that, still to this day. I get stuck on the "correct" path for my life and decide it can't go any other way. But just like He did my senior year of college, God shows me that there is a different way, a better way.

Had I gotten into Teaching for America we wouldn't have gotten married. Had I gotten into Teaching for America I would have moved away from Oklahoma, and we probably would have broken up. Had we broken up I would not be where I am right now. And if I weren't where I am right now, God's current plan for my life would not be in action.

It was hard to think of it that way then. Sometimes it is hard to think of it that way now. But I know it to be true.

I believe not getting into the program truly set us down the course of getting married 10 months after we met. Because it wasn't until that door was shut and locked that I allowed myself to fall head over heels in love with someone 10 months younger than I.

But like I said, I still didn't make it easy on him. Even though I had known since the night we met that he was the one for me, I fought it. I was scared - of him, of the unknown, of what I was going to do with my life, of staying in Oklahoma City or returning to Texas. But God had a plan. He knew what He was doing; He was just going to take His time revealing His plan - just as I would take time trusting His plan.

When I finally did talk about not getting into Teach for America, I was calmer. But I was also determined to move off - still. I applied for other teaching fellowships and even got invited to interview for other teaching fellowships. But expensive flights and last minute interview slots made it nearly impossible to attend the interviews. And I was lost on where I wanted to be or if I could actually move off to New York City or Boston or Philadelphia or San Francisco. So I stopped looking and decided to relax into life in a relationship.

He enjoyed the simple things, and I learned to do the same. He was less enthusiastic about school than I was and reminded me that the world would not end if I didn't get a 3.75 GPA for the semester. He made me laugh. He gave good hugs. I enjoyed lounging on the couch and watching movies with him. We often went out for dessert together. And we went to church together. We talked about God, about our faith, and he helped me to grow during a time when I wasn't sure what I believed any longer.

When I think back to that year, to everything that transpired prior to my meeting him, there is no question that God's plan was always for me to meet him and to fall in-love and then to join my life with him. Of course, at that time, there were questions. But those questions would eventually be given answers, and in March of 2008, I would finally be able to look at him and say those words out loud.

(title from "god gave me you" by dave barnes)

This post is part of a series. It is a snapshot of how I met (and married) my husband. To read the entire series, click here.

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